The comfort zone. We’ve all heard of it, and I’m sure used the phrase in our own way at some point in our lives. Over the past 7-8 years of writing blogs and training, this topic comes up a lot in the ballroom dance world. Many people who come in learning to dance, whether they are an individual or couple, are breaking outside their comfort zones. Our job is to help them through this process and encourage them to take another step further to attending a competition and maybe even perform! Basically, our job is to get them to do the things they’ve never done before, which is definitely outside of their comfort zone.
When we’re younger, we’re always extending the limit of our comfort zone, always pushing our learning capabilities and growing. The thing that I say quite often is that when we get older we get comfortable in what we know and do. I think it’s really important to do things that make us uncomfortable and as I say, “remember that we have a pulse,” by doing something fun and exciting. The more uncomfortable you are and the more difficult something is for you, the more rewarding and satisfying it will be when you finally do it. I believe that how difficult something is directly related to how much you will grow and learn from the experience. I urge you to do this and find out for yourself!
I once wrote a blog on my favorite things, and Lululemon was one of them. Lululemon is a line of exercise wear that I really enjoy, and on the shopping bag, they have a lot of really cool inspirational sayings. One of the sayings reads, “Do one thing a day that scares you.” I really take that to heart because, to me, what that’s really saying is GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE, because at the end of the day, you want to live and be excited about your life.
I’ve been reading some new books by Mel Robbins. She has some really powerful things to say about the feeling we get when attempting to get outside of our personal comfort zones. She says that our body does not know the difference between nervousness and excitement. The symptoms are the same for both. Our brain is designed to protect us from danger, which is why we experience these emotions. For many of us, when we are trying something new for the first time, we experience nervousness and anxiety. They key here is to tell our brain, “I’m excited for ___ coming up.” We want to use that excited energy to our advantage and not allow it to hold us back or keep us from performing well. We just have to change the way we think about it and tell our brain, I’m good, I’m not in danger, I got this!
Mel Robbins has another trick she recommends. The “5, 4, 3, 2, one trick,” where you count back from 5 and simply change your perspective. She uses the example of being nervous before a flight. Many of us get so stressed out before boarding a plane by thinking of all the worst possible outcomes of taking that flight. Instead, what Mel Robbins suggests is creating an “Anchor Thought.” This thought, for example, could be focusing your mind on taking a walk on the beach with your mother, who you are flying to visit. By focusing on that positive thought, you’re telling your brain that you are excited to board the plane because the outcome of that flight will be spending time with your mother. Create a positive end story of what’s going to happen if you get outside of your comfort zone.
The dreaded comfort zone…I believe is easily used as an excuse as to why we won’t do something, like “I won’t do that, it’s just outside of my comfort zone.” But the fact of the matter is that change is always happening, whether we like it or not. Things will not be the same in a matter of just a few years regardless if we stay in our comfort zone or not. I would rather lead the charge of change, as opposed to sitting back and letting the inevitable change lead me somewhere I don’t want to go because I’m too afraid.
I’m going to continue challenging myself by doing things that take me out of my comfort zone, like doing live videos on Facebook for example. I encourage you to do the same. Get out there! Whether it be increasing your social life activities, trying something new, performing at dance routine for a big audience, speaking up more at work, or trying a new weight loss program you’re afraid of failing, just be willing to get out there and overcome your fears by going outside your comfort zone!
Live, Love, Dance and Enjoy
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