When it comes to moving beyond your comfort zone, it’s not always easy to know what to do first. Let’s face it, it’s a scary proposition to move away from what you are comfortable with into something new. But, when it’s time to change you know it. There’s that restless feeling of knowing that something is missing or that something needs to change, but you’re not sure what it is. From my own experience, it can be really overwhelming when you’re trying to move forward but aren’t sure what the next step is.
The good news is that moving outside your comfort zone doesn’t have to be a frustrating or scary experience. My Dad always used to tell me a few nerves are good for you when you’re doing something new, but I’m not so sure I agree. So, in the spirit of helping you take the next step with as little fear and anxiety as possible here are my four favorite – well, 3 favorite and one not so much – ways to figure out the next step in pushing out the boundary of your comfort zone.
1. Be grateful
I love gratitude! It’s the cure-all feeling that makes everything better, especially when I’m feeling nervous or worried about something.
Take today, for example. I am sitting here re-writing this (since I accidentally deleted it yesterday) while waiting for the safety check on my new SUV to be done. And to calm my nerves I think about all the things I’m already grateful for. Just as an example, right at this minute I am grateful…
For my friends who gave me the new vehicle when they knew I needed one;
For the sunshine;
For being able to sit and enjoy the fresh air at the bus stop this morning;
For being able to write this article for you;
For you being here to read it;
For my faith that the Universe will take care of me and make sure that my SUV passes all its inspections easily and cheaply.
And that’s just for starters!
When you stop and think about all the things you are already grateful for, you open yourself up to receive even more goodness in your life. Putting gratitude into the context of a move outside your comfort zone means that you should express your gratitude not only for the experiences you’ve had and the things you’ve done, but also for the new opportunities and experiences to come. And, just in case you can’t think of anything, here’s a great list of 48 things to be grateful for to get you started.
2. Get creative
My second favorite way to nudge myself into a new direction is to get creative. There’s something about the creative process that frees you up to really let your intuition work. And really, if you’re not sure what step to take next, you could do a lot worse than listen to your intuition.
For me, it’s usually writing in my journals or on my blogs that does the trick. Sometimes it’s playing the piano and really pounding out some Mozart or Beethoven that creates those Ah ha moments that show the next step so clearly I wonder how I didn’t see it before.
It doesn’t matter what your creative passion is, as long as you do something. Writing and music are mine, but for my Mom and my Grandmother both it was baking and knitting. Tapping into your creativity really allows you to let your subconscious free to focus on the bigger issues at hand. While you are consciously doing something you love, your subconscious mind is wandering in the background.
3. Read a book
Reading is another of my favorite ways to figure out what the next step should be. For as long as I can remember I’ve lost myself in books, and used them to figure out my life, what to learn, and what steps to take next.
Whether you enjoy fiction or non-fiction, and I read a lot of both, you can always learn something from what you are reading. I’ve always believed that each book we read has a message just for us and there’s a reason we choose the books we do when we do. For years, I wouldn’t buy a book unless it literally jumped off the shelf at me in the store.
4. Talk to people
Okay, so you probably guessed that this is my least favorite way to figure out my next step. As an introvert, talking to people really pushes me beyond my own comfort zone but I’m working on it.
Talking to others, especially people who are outside our immediate circle of close friends and family can really open you up to new experiences and opportunities. At the very least, it will definitely expose you to new ideas and ways of thinking that you might never have considered otherwise.
Taking the first step beyond your comfort zone doesn’t have to be hard, scary or frustrating. The great thing I find about using these easy ways to get started is that if you find yourself going in the wrong direction, it’s easy enough to step back and pick a different direction. The most important thing is that you keep moving toward the growth that comes from pushing your boundaries.
“Anything you to do to stretch yourself out of your comfort zone will ultimately enable you to take larger risks and grow.” ~ Leslie Evans
What’s your favorite way to start moving beyond your comfort zone? Share your thoughts in the comments…