Andrew McDonald of PossessYourSuccess.Com contributes this awesome article to The Comfort Killers. This article will tell you WHY moving outside your comfort zone is critical to success and growth. We would like to thank Andrew for sharing awesome information to the CK community.

It’s good to be in a position where you feel a certain level of comfort and stability. Being able to predict certain things is an important part of leading a healthy life. But, often this transitions into complacency without much notice. Sometimes people have been doing the same job for decades and suddenly realize they aren’t happy with what they’re doing at all.

Do you feel like you’re living the same way you have for years? Are you just maintaining a status quo without moving your life forward? If you aren’t sure whether you’re stuck in a rut, ask yourself when the last time you did something challenging was. It surprises people to realize how little effort they’ve been putting into bettering themselves. Education doesn’t end with school. You have to keep trying new things and pushing outside your comfort zone to find greater success.

Two years ago, I made the decision to live my life outside of my comfort zone when I started Possess Your Success. On a scale of 0-10, right now I’m at about a 3. This has varied quite a lot as I’ve made changes in my life. I’ve spent more time networking with other speakers and professionals. I started a blog, which was a completely foreign idea to me. I wrote my book and then launched a crowdfunding campaign to spread my message even further.

One thing I’ve always found utterly terrifying is also one of the most important things to growing my business—outreach for speaking engagements. I’ve had to work very hard to stay positive and push myself outside of my comfort zone. As a result, I’ve had the opportunity to speak on countless stages.

I still freak out a bit inside when I have to do cold outreach. I simply choose to ignore temporary discomfort and get it done anyways.

Why should you want to step outside your comfort zone?

Below is a list of 10 reasons why you’d want to leave that nest of safety you built around yourself:

Test Your Skills: Moving beyond what you’re comfortable with can be a healthy challenge. You’re probably going to encounter some obstacles or friction. It isn’t going to be easy but that’s the point! You can see how much you’ve grown and how your ability to handle pressure has changed. It can be a truly invigorating experience. Keep track of your feelings to benchmark yourself and you may find you’ve conquered more fears than you imagined.

Get Rid of Limiting Beliefs: People are often surprised by what they’re capable of. So often, we only push ourselves when we have no other choice. We live with the thoughts that we can only do so much, even when we’ve seen ourselves do more. If you challenge yourself more regularly, you’ll be able to rid yourself of the “can’t” and “won’t” thoughts in your head and see what you can truly accomplish.

Broaden Your Network: Many of us struggle with meeting new people, especially for business purposes. When you’re outside your comfort zone, you’ll probably need new or different resources in order to really succeed. You’ll have to recruit people to your cause or reconnecting with friends and colleagues you haven’t seen in years. Take yourself to new places and explore what’s possible.

Increase Your Ability to Learn: If you’re getting comfortable, chances are your brain is too. We need to be stimulated and challenged or our minds gradually become closed and don’t learn as well as they could. Outside your comfort zone, you’ll have to be able to learn quickly and adapt to changes. These challenges will make your brain more flexible and make it easier for you to perform well in new situations. The more you practice, the more you’ll feel the changes in your ability to absorb information and harness new skills.

Kill Your Fear: When you’re afraid of something, you avoid it. This is a completely natural instinct and often, it’s very helpful. Fear keeps us from trying to wrestle bears or drive recklessly. But it also keeps many of us from trying new things or living our lives to the fullest. Getting out of the familiar can destroy your fear of the unfamiliar.

Learn How to Fail: One of the most difficult parts of trying is failing. It may feel like you have an impossibly good idea that still falls through. This is ok. Everyone fails. Sometimes, we have minor failures and sometimes we have giant ones. But you can learn the method of “failing to succeed”, which I talk about in my book Possess Your Success. The people who succeed learn from their failures, shake off the negativity, and just keep trying.

Gain Wisdom: Several of these benefits have been about learning and that’s for very good reason. Personal experience can make you much wiser. Many of my mentors have had the opportunity to develop their skills and I take the opportunity to gain as much information from them as possible. They lack to pass on these skills because they understand the value of learning some secrets early on. But no one can prepare you for everything. There are some lessons which will have to be learned the hard way. But your efforts lead you to knowledge that can help you help others. You start to gain the necessary perspective to stay motivated and dedicated to promoting success.

Overcome Procrastination: Even as we try to avoid it, it happens to the best of us. We have dreams and we want to make them a reality. But it seems like there’s an invisible wall between the idea and the action. That wall is called procrastination and the only way to succeed is to break it down. Give yourself a challenge and then follow through on it to avoid the difficulties of wasting time.

Increase Your Potential: Moving outside of your comfort zone doesn’t just let you know what you’re already capable of doing. It also gives insight into what you might be able to achieve with even more effort.  Things you may have thought to be impossible suddenly seem to be within reach.

Create New Experiences: No one sits around reminiscing about that time they watched TV on the couch. It’s nice to have a rest in your routine but if you aren’t out there making new memories, then you aren’t taking the opportunity to live your life to the fullest. New experiences keep you outside your comfort zone and allow you to gain a new understanding of life.

My Simple Success Model

I believe that your level of success is vastly determined by how willing you are to step outside of your comfort zone. Imagine you as a dot on a page, surrounded by a circle. That circle is the dreaded “Comfort Zone”. Most people don’t like leaving this area and thus achieve a limited amount of success. However stepping outside the circle increases the level of success you could have.

In fact, I drew a neat little diagram representing just that:

Moving Outside Your Comfort Zone - The Comfort Killers and

You see, the further you step outside of this circle, the higher the potential of your success.

Comfort zones are flexible spaces and the only way to know how far you can go is to step outside of it. Challenge yourself to try new things. Take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. Start hunting for your dream job or making plans for your own business. Whatever you want to achieve, you will have to push outside your comfort zone to get there.

What’s your comfort level on a scale of 0-10?

Post about how you plan to get outside your comfort zone in the comments below!

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