Helpful or Harmful? The Tea about Comfort Zones
Updated: Nov 6, 2020
Growing up there were always some activities I spent more time doing than others. I was always the child you could find sitting in a corner with a book in hand, rather than outside during recess playing a sport or climbing up and down the monkey bar.
At first my teachers would try to coerce me to go outside and play with the rest of my peers, but eventually they got the point. Sitting by myself reading books was my idea of comfort zone activities, and asking me to do anything outside of it could actually be considered as you trying to force me out of it.
What is a Comfort Zone?
So what is a Comfort Zone anyway and does everyone have one? For starters your Comfort Zone refers to a body of items that you may enjoy doing, regularly do or things you are essentially comfortable doing.
So to answer your question, yes everyone has a comfort zone, but every one's comfort zone isn't the same. Since comfort zones are inclusive of things you enjoy doing a person's comfort zone will vary from person to person.
For example, I enjoy reading and writing, hence any activity that falls within these categories is likely to be within my comfort zone. However for a person who doesn't enjoy reading and writing, these activities would be outside of their comfort zones.
Is there anything wrong with having a Comfort Zone?
Before I go any further let me just say, there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a comfort zone. Your comfort zone is one of the things that make you human, while simultaneously being one of the many things that make you unique.
That said however, the comfort zone for many people stop them from ever attempting to challenge themselves. The activities that are within our comfort zones make us happy, lower our anxiety levels and reduce the likelihood of stress. Despite this, the problem with comfort zones is that often times, for want of a better word, they make us feel so "comfortable" in doing the things we like, that we rarely ever consider trying something new.
Is it important to step outside of your Comfort Zones?
Just like birth and death, stepping outside of your comfort zone is just as important a part of your life cycle. But don't just take my word for it, here are few reasons its good to occasionally step outside of your comfort zone:
1. To increase productivity. For many persons the comfort zone perpetuates laziness (me, me, me, me!!!!!). We do things that we already know how to do, that only require us to do the bare minimum in order to be successful.
2. To add spice to your life. Don't get me wrong, your life can be spicy when doing things within your comfort zone, but at some point if you're like me, you'll become weary of doing the things you know your already good at, and start seeking a new challenge that will offer you something more.
3. To encourage self growth. As children many of us were natural risk takers, always trying to defy the odds against the things people said we could or couldn't do. However, as we grew older we've become less adventurous. Less interested in delimiting the boundaries placed on us by friends and family and more interested in consistent excellence in our established area of expertise (this is all good and well but, where's the opportunity for growth? ).
Facing your Comfort Zone Truth
I don't know about anyone else but I spent the last few moments of 2019 in quiet introspection evaluating myself. I thought about things like... am I where I want to be in life? If yes, what more do I want to be doing? If no, what do I need to be doing in order to get where I need to be?.... To be frank with you, I realized that as it was at the time, I definitely was not where I wanted to be, neither was I doing anything that would bring me any closer to where I wanted to be.
Why? because I didn't want to step out of my comfort zone. This may sound cliché but in truth, being able to admit to myself that I wasn't yet where I wanted to be was my impetus to start doing things that made me a lot less comfortable and way more nervous or anxious.
My Stepping Outside of My Comfort Zone Story
Aiming to step out of my comfort zone, a new challenge that I have embarked on is entering a pageant. Now, if you know me any at all, you'll know that while I can be very outspoken, I'm also really shy. I don't ever like being in the public eye and I enjoy keeping to myself and minding my own business. Despite all of this, I felt a burning desire to do something that was extremely unlike me.
So, as the first aspect to my stepping out of my comfort zone, this week I engaged in a week of pre - pageant training activities (needless to to say, this was as far away from my comfort zone as it gets). I won't lie, this week was one of the hardest weeks I have ever been through but alas, I survived.
If I was ever uncertain about how I felt towards heels, I can now say with 100% certainty, that walking up and down in them for hours upon end, is DEFINITELY not listed amongst my favourite things to do (N.B - my currently swollen feet can fully attest to this) . Nor is having to wake up early every morning to go and exercise. However, my experiences gleaned from the camp which were mostly positive, by far out weigh the less tolerable moments.
Not only did I have the opportunity to meet some of the most established women in Jamaica with backgrounds in pageantry, but I was also able to learn from their experiences, improve on my public speaking skills, make more of what I hope will be lifelong friends and overall develop an appreciation for all the behind the scenes hard work that ladies put in when they enter a pageant.
While this is only the beginning of my pageant journey, I can already see the positive changes that the experience thus far has had on my self development and I look forward to seeing the growth that my furtherance in the pageant will enable me.
Final Thoughts on Stepping Out of your Comfort Zone
If you ever reach a stage in your life where you feel as if your self growth has become stunted, maybe it is time for you to do something that is completely unlike you. Be willing to step outside of your comfort zone. Who knows, maybe you will try something new and realize you have a natural talent for it. Or maybe you will try something new and find that you really aren't cut out for it, but at least you would have developed some appreciation for those who do well at it.
P.S - I opted to make this post a part 1 so that I could document my progress throughout the pageant experience, in addition to giving you guys the opportunity to ask me follow up questions whether about my pageant experience or stepping out of your comfort zone which I would provide answers to in part 2.
As always thank you for reading. Don't forget to like, share and subscribe. Before you go, I'd love to hear what your thoughts on stepping outside of your comfort zones are and if after reading this post you took me up on my challenge to step out of your comfort zone,I'd love to hear all about how you did it in the comments below.