“Life always begins with one step outside of your comfort zone.”
― Shannon L. Alder
You’ve probably heard about this ‘comfort zone’ thing, and how stepping out of it occasionally is good for your mental health. But do you really know why stepping out of your comfort zone is so beneficial?
Your comfort zone relates to your anxiety levels. Places you go, routines you follow and things you do that are familiar and safe are also comfortable. They don’t give you too much anxiety, so they’re part of your comfort zone.
When you try new things that are unfamiliar, or do something you’ve never done before, you have no idea what to expect. As a result, you naturally become more anxious about what might happen. It’s completely normal to want to get back to something you know and can predict. It’s safer.
However, stepping outside your comfort zone just a little bit is where you do most of your learning. Here are some of the benefits of taking a small step into unfamiliar territory:
1. It will help you grow. Some anxiety and self-doubt can lead to learning and personal growth. When a task you’re anxious about (such as speaking at a networking event) is completed, you feel a huge sense of accomplishment and have greater levels of self-confidence.
2. Your comfort zone gets bigger. Getting out of your comfort zone regularly actually increases the number of things you feel comfortable doing. As you overcome and succeed at each challenge, it’s no longer something you feel anxious about. The more you attend networking events and put yourself out of your comfort zone, the more relaxed you’ll become about doing it.
3. You’ll learn and be motivated. Doing something new that’s a novelty increases the levels of dopamine in the brain – your ‘happy hormone’. Dopamine motivates us to go looking for more things that make us happy, and the novelty of the occasion increases that urge. Succeeding at networking and growing your business is surely something that will motivate you!
Stepping out of your comfort zone (but making it a positive experience) is all about taking small steps. You want your anxiety to remain manageable, but challenge yourself to achieve something great at the same time.
If a networking event is something you’d consider to be outside your comfort zone, why not speak to us about how we can help ease some of your anxiety. That’s what we’re here for!