When your "Comfort Zone" becomes a problem.
What is a comfort zone? It's a safe space that we create for ourselves in order to protect us from feeling anxious, awkward, and uncomfortable. Our comfort zone allows us feel safe and secure, it creates boundaries, and protects us from potential danger. While there are some benefits of maintaining a safe space, it can hinder our growth and progress and get in the way of success. So how do we know when our comfort zone is a problem? First we should think about personal barriers to our goals; for example, if the goal is to open a business, depending on the type of business you may need to meet new people and network. Let's say you are extremely uncomfortable in social situations and because of this opening a business no longer seems like a sensible goal. Instead of stepping out of your comfort zone, you tend avoid certain situations. Avoidance is a symptom of anxiety, and it is what keeps people confined to their comfort zone.
Getting out of the comfort zone is a lot easier said then done, it takes self-awareness and a willingness to challenge yourself. Most importantly, you have to be able to tolerate some discomfort! "Nothing worth having comes easy", and this applies to self-improvement. Become aware of personal barriers; making excuses, a lack of self-confidence, sensitivity to criticism, etc. Be willing to challenge yourself mentally; keep a positive mindset, tell yourself that you can overcome your fears, and keep your overall goal in mind. Sometimes the barrier to us achieving our goals are negative thinking patterns and cognitive distortions. Understand when you try something new you may fail, and that's ok. Failing is an opportunity to learn and in most circumstances you can always try again. In some cases you may try something new and be great at it, but you wont know unless you create that opportunity for your self.
Stepping out of the limitations of your comfort zone has some amazing benefits. You can create opportunities to learn, acquire new skills, and develop ways to cope with challenges and problems. The biggest benefit is being able to achieve your goals which is fulfilling and rewarding. It's in our nature to grow in each stage of our lives through our personal experiences. When we hinder ourselves we may feel dissatisfied and unproductive leading to feelings of depression and low self-esteem. Extending yourself beyond your comfort zone will allow you to set new goals, conquer objectives, find purpose, and live your dreams.