5 ways I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone

21 March 2018

'Life begins at the end of your comfort zone' - Neale Donald Walsch.

So, I'm a sucker for an inspirational quote, but this one is actually relevant so stay with me. Sometimes what keeps us from getting what we want in life is our reluctance to change our normal routines. As humans, we like to stick to the same environment or routine because we fear what will happen if we do something outside this. Studies show we perform at our best when we allow ourselves to get uncomfortable by doing something we have resisted, disliked, feared or never pictured ourselves doing. Getting out of our comfort zones, boosting the brain’s tolerance to change and our development is something we all should work on. What you do to get out of the scenario where comfort turns into complacency, slowed growth, and low productivity is different for everyone, but here are a few ways I've pushed myself out of my comfort zone over the years;

Studying in China
Whilst my Economics degree didn't offer a full year abroad/work placement, I went to a University that provided lots of different opportunities to develop academically and personally outside the boundaries of my degree. One of these opportunities was the Study China programme. Living in a different country, (attempting) to learn Mandarin at a top Chinese university, volunteering with children and families and also struggling to use my fragmented Mandarin skills to survive whilst living out there was a challenge. But as cliche as it sounds, a challenge that was completely worth it and one which I'd do anything to relive. Living in a country for a short period of time made me more independent, and allowed me to appreciated a whole range of different people and cultures.

Asking for more
Sadly this doesn't apply to asking for more food.

When I interned with The Civil Service, I asked my line manager at the time to give me a project that would challenge me - one where I didn't know the full scope of the area and one which meant I would be completely out of my depth and would provide me with a deep learning curve. And she did just that. Nine weeks of asking senior civil servants questions in a area completely foreign to me allowed me to build knowledge in a area that was like a foreign language to me at first and also gave me the opportunity to deliver an hour presentation to a room of senior civil servants at the age of 19.

Socialising with individuals way more successful than me and who I aspire to be like.
The famous saying goes 'If I'm half the man/woman as you, I'd be happy'. Or something along those lines.

As an ambitious person, I've always taken note of what successful people do. Anyone who's better at me in blogging, netball, maths modules at University etc. etc...Please spend time with me and let me learn your skills! Of course it can be intimidating and some may say disheartening but by surrounding yourself with smart, successful people who can encourage and inspire you to push yourself further, challenge you and hold you to account, results in your development. 

Saying Yes more
'Yes, I'll come with you to that event', 'Yes, I'll collaborate with you on this project', 'Yes, I'll accept that offer'.

By simply saying yes to things I might have said 'maybe' to in the past, I have opened up a number of huge opportunities in my life. And who knows by saying yes to something you may think isn't a big deal, you might find yourself enjoying and being passionate about something you previously never got to explore.

Still to this day, having a blog has been a step out of my comfort zone. Getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t always have to require something huge. Sometimes the little things like trying a new cuisine or talking to a stranger on the underground can be just as effective. I've never been a big sharer of the private details in my life, or any details at all for that matter. So the fact that I sometimes share details on my blog is a step towards shaking things up and getting uncomfortable for me.


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