“Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone” -Neale Walsch

But that’s easier said than done. Yes, we’ve all heard TED talks and motivational speeches about how possibilities open up when you step out of your comfort zone – there’s magic out of your comfort zone, they say. But stepping out of the comfort zone isn’t easy. 

What’s a “Comfort Zone” anyway? 

Psychologists define it as a state of mind where you are in control and experience the least amount of stress. 

So if you stay in your comfort zone, you avoid the pain of stress and gain the pleasure of being in control. No wonder it’s so addictive. 

Undue stress can affect your work, relationships and health, and if you aren’t in control, you are being controlled, and there’s that added stress. 

But here’s the catch.

Stay in your comfort zone too long, and you lose the pleasure and gain the pain. 

You see, the sense of control we get is from our power to ‘direct’ something. But what are we directing when we aren’t really moving? 

And many people talk about how to avoid stress – but that doesn’t really seem to work, does it? Avoiding stress leads to more stress. Avoiding stress is a myth – don’t avoid it but handle it. 

But how exactly can someone leave their comfort zone behind? I asked this question to some successful leaders/ entrepreneurs in my circle, and here’s what they had to say. 

I’ll start with my take first. 

Face Your Fears and Take a Leap of Faith

“My biggest obstacle to getting out of my comfort zone is FEAR- Fear of being judged, criticized, and failing. Through the years of growing and gaining experience, I’m now self-aware of this fear. I acknowledge the fear and know that I only need to take the first step, and the rest will fall in place.”

Apart from helping you ditch the comfort zone, self-awareness will help you build a strong character and add more trust, authenticity, openness, and purpose to your leadership.  

Let Your Intuition Be the Guiding Light – Jennifer Helene Popken

Jennifer Popken, CEO of Purposeful Ventures and a Forbes Coaches Council member, is a health and wellness coach helping people gain optimal health through the right nutrition, embodiment practices and mindset training. Here she shares how intuition, logic and vision break out of her comfort zone.

“I had an idea about how to consolidate the intellectual property of a health institute to scale the impact of their in-person programs. At that time, I did not know how to do this but used intuition, logic, and vision for creating the transformational program. $4 million later, with thousands of testimonials from students in 61 countries, the program exceeded my expectations.”                       

Trust yourself, and it’ll help you trust the instincts that can guide you in breaking through the comfort zone. 

Put Yourself in Situations So Staying in Comfort Zone Isn’t an Option – Amrita Joneja

@Amrita Joneja, CEO of Friends of Marketing, a brand strategy and marketing company, helps brands garner long-lasting loyalty and love by building unforgettable & emotional connections between brands and their consumers.

Here she shares how she stepped out of her comfort zone when she started her venture. 

“I think I permanently left my comfort zone the day I started Friends of Marketing as a solopreneur in 2016. The work involved brainstorming ideas, creating execution plans, designing, printing, creating content, and managing the entire project. ALL ALONE. I plunged ahead through fear and anxiety. I emerged on the other side, unscathed and intact, with successful projects.”                                                      

Be more open to experiencing various roles within your organization as it will only expand your knowledge and help you get comfortable with the discomfort and newness. 

Take Risks to Find Massive Success – Erin Urban

Erin Urban member of the Forbes Coaches Council, is a certified professional development coach with over 8 years in mentoring and coaching successful professional transformations. Here’s how he took the risk and reaped great rewards. 

“I never embraced risk as a young adult. As I developed into a more driven young professional, I knew something had to change. When I saw the dark tunnel of a dead-end career coming, I took a leap of faith and applied for the VP of Operations job that I knew I wouldn’t get. Even though I didn’t get the job, the risk paid off! Around 6 months later, I was given a promotion and the opportunity to focus on my professional passion.”                                                                                                                                       

Taking the right risks encourages innovation that could turn into a vital product/service differentiator. Even if a risk fails to deliver the expected results, the outcome is not always negative, as it can provide valuable business lessons to shape future strategies. 

Don’t be a Perfectionist, Instead be a Progressionist – Athar Jahan

Athar Jahan, a Content Specialist & Strategist and CEO of Contentifi, helps businesses engage their customers and make them fall in love with them through the power of content. Here he shares how he ditched the idea of perfectionism to break out. 

“I started my Content Marketing company about 11 years back in 2011. When I started, I was a staunch perfectionist. On the upside, it got me accolades and appraise from my clients in the short run, but it impacted my health, work, and relationships in the long run. I was stuck because I was too scared to move. After acknowledging that my sense of perfectionism stems largely from my fear of failure, I decided to work on it. While uncomfortable at first, it opened up a whole lot of possibilities for me that I could have never imagined. I now strive to be a progressionist, not a perfectionist.”

Breaking Free from the Comfort Zone

Take inspiration from these outstanding leaders and entrepreneurs to push through the imaginary boundary and realize your true potential. 

I’m sure these are not the only way, and there are many more, but these are some real-life examples that we all can take cues from. 

On that note, do share your story of how you broke out of your comfort zone. We all would love to know.