com·fort zone

A place or situation where one feels safe or at ease and without stress

Relying on what we are most comfortable with, most familiar with, or simply what we’re used to is absolutely detrimental to our future success. We often believe that because something feels comfortable, it must be more secure, and that’s just simply not the case.

Life begins outside of our comfort zone.

We are all creatures of habit, and one of the most difficult things to do is break an old habit or create a new one. We drive the same way to work every day, get dressed the same way, brush our teeth with the same hand, drink the same cup of coffee from Starbucks – all because it just feels comfortable. Success comes from being uncomfortable. Success happens when you think outside the box, go against the grain, and break status quo.

Too often we don’t start the business we’ve always wanted to have because our current situation has given us the illusion of security. We rationalize with ourselves by saying something like “well, I’ve got a good job now, so if I started XYZ company it might not work and then I couldn’t pay the bills and we’d lose the house and the cars, we’ll end up on the streets, the kids will turn to drugs, and all of our lives will be ruined.” When in reality – our current job could end tomorrow. We could be downsized, bought out, restructured, outsourced, or just plain fired. The sensation of security is a trap.

We MUST stop lying to ourselves about our “comfort zones.” I’ve mentioned this is in a previous posting, but it’s so true – if what you’re doing doesn’t absolutely terrify you, then it’s not worth it.

Creativity thrives outside of our comfort zone.

Our “comfort zone” is something our subconscious mind creates as part of the “fight or flight” reflex. It’s a “safe” place for us to retreat to when start to feel uncomfortable about whatever it is we’re doing. Here’s the thing – if we stick with what is “comfortable” – we’ll never truly know what we are capable of accomplishing. That doesn’t mean we won’t live a fulfilled life or live in a nice house or drive a nice car…it just means we won’t ever know how great life could have been. Breaking out of a routine causes our brains to think differently, and come up with different solutions or ideas. Instead of “well, this is just what I’m used to…” – think “I wonder what could be possible if…” We, as humans, are the only species with a frontal cortex of the brain that gives us an imagination. We’re able to picture things in our mind before we actually see them happen. This is what keeps us at the top of the food chain…but more than that it’s an incredible tool that so many of us take for granted. If you can dream it, you can create it. I know, it’s cheesy, but it’s true. Everything we have is the result of somebody else having a dream, stepping outside of their comfort zone, and making it a reality.

If you’re still unsure – start with something small. Brush your teeth with your other hand. Drive a different way to work. Order something new at Starbucks. Tell your hairstylist you want to try something new. Take an impromptu weekend roadtrip with your spouse. Something. Anything. Just do something different.

Find the walls of your comfort zone, and tear them down! You’ll see an instant change. We’ve talked a lot about “comfort zones” in our professional life, but relationship “comfort zones” are a dangerous place to be. Don’t just exist – thrive!

If you’re reading this – your best days are ahead of you, but only if you allow it to happen!