The past several weeks we’ve been in the middle of a series called How to Combat 4 Fears of Change. In the fourth and final installation, we fight our last opponent; Fear of Leaving Your Comfort Zone.
We all face this one at some point. We go out, do life, and work very hard to get to a certain place. We set goals, achieve them, and create a comfortable environment. As time passes, we fall into a comfortable routine and we become content with the “status quo.”
I think by far, one of the best illustrations of this common scenario was depicted by author Spencer Johnson in his bestseller titled Who Moved My Cheese. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend you do. It’s a quick parable that compares how two mice and two humans respond to change.
They all live in the same maze, and everyday they travel the same route to get to their cheese. One day however, the cheese is gone. The two mice quickly adapt and go out into the maze to find new cheese, while the two humans struggle. They don’t understand why the cheese is gone, and continue to stay in their same routine; convinced if they keep doing what they know, eventually the cheese will reappear.
As time passes, one of the two humans decides to take a chance and venture into the maze, while the other remains terrified at the thought of something new. Eventually, by learning to adapt and step into the big, scary maze, they all four find even more cheese than they had to begin with.
It’s a great story, and oh so applicable to us all. It’s hard to step outside of our routines and what we’ve come to know as tried and true. There are times in life where despite how difficult it may be, we have no other option but change. When you find yourself in that situation, here are a few things to help you gain confidence as you step outside of your comfort zone:
Just Because You’re Stepping Away from Something You Know Doesn’t Mean You Have to Forget It
I think this is such an important reminder. Sometimes we get so focused on the thought of change, that we begin to look at it with tunnel vision. Sure, life has many twists and turns and detours that take us down unexpected and unfamiliar roads, but that doesn’t mean we lose the value of where we’ve been.
Don’t forget about the experience and knowledge from the familiar and how it can be applied to what may be unfamiliar. Use the tools you’ve worked so hard to acquire to your advantage. Trust me, where we’ve been and what we’ve experienced never goes to waste.
Consider the Desired Outcome and the Options
Often times I’ve found objectivity to be my best friend when it comes to highly emotional times. Change can certainly fall into that category! When you find yourself overwhelmed with all the “what-ifs” and “what-abouts” that float around in your mind, take a deep breath and look at what you know.
Look at where you need to go and all the different ways to get there. Clarity brings comfort. Sure, you may not have a clear understanding of all the variables, but even if you can find one or two things to hang your hat on, it helps.
Remind Yourself of How Far You’ve Come
When you find yourself in the abyss of fear and self doubt, one of the best ways to pull yourself out is a simple reminder of where you’ve been and how far you’ve come. It’s pretty amazing to look back on your life and where you’ve been. The things that were once incredible challenges are now things that come second nature to you.
We’ve all come so far through change in our lives. Because of that, we all know this truth; Without Change There Would Be No Growth. We have so much untapped potential that change brings us closer to. When you look at it in that way, it adds a bit of excitement. What amazing opportunities lie ahead of us once we’re willing to see them…
Life brings us change. Change brings us growth. Growth brings new opportunity. My hope for you after the last several weeks is that change is no longer something you fear, instead it’s something you’ll come to embrace. The Unknown is an opportunity. Failure will happen, and when it does, we’re ready to look at it differently. We understand now life is filled with seasons and we appreciate each one. This appreciation helps us to Let go and move forward. Lastly, we know that Leaving the Comfort Zone is a part of how we grow into the amazing potential we have.
How has stepping outside your comfort zone helped you to grow?
Thanks for reading! Feel free to pass along!