• Madhura

Challenge your comfort zone

Hello and welcome to yet another episode of Morning Cup of Sunshine. I am so excited to bring this episode to you today. This topic is suggested by my very dear friend, Bharti. Bharti, if you are listening to this episode, thank you so much for suggesting this wonderful topic. I really had to read a lot, think a lot and do my research before I could talk about this in front of you. But let me tell you one thing, I thoroughly enjoyed reading some new books and doing my study. You know me, I love to study and learn new things. By the way to those who suggested topic ideas via my post on Facebook and Instagram, I am coming to your topics as well. I received so many topic ideas that it will take me several weeks to cover all of them. But trust me, I will get around creating episodes for all those great topic ideas. I am working on those for sure. I can not thank you enough for taking time for not only listening to the episodes week after week but also engaging in our wonderful Facebook group. I really have awesome listeners and I am extremely grateful for that.

Happy Moment of the Week

Alright, let me start today’s episode by sharing some wonderful moments. In the past couple of weeks, I got an opportunity to appear on my fellow podcasters shows and talk about the topics that I am extremely passionate about. Being a working woman for the past 15 years, I have really struggled to balance between my work, my family and my passions. I love to talk about the ways to maintain a beautiful harmony between those worlds. Although I love my job, I always thought there is something missing. I always thought I could achieve more. But I was too afraid to try. I was stuck in my comfort zone. But finally, last year, I had the courage to break that barrier. I am still learning and slowly growing my confidence to put myself out there in the vast world of podcasting. But the past couple of weeks really made me think how happy it makes me. Talking to like minded podcasters was the necessary boost that I got. Those were the moments that I always craved for. Having a nice and open conversation always makes my day. I had those lovely conversations with these two lovely ladies. They definitely brought so much joy. I am so thankful for all of them, Anika Wilson, Pamela Stone and Jackie. Thank you for making my podcasting journey even more beautiful. These were definitely my happy moments. I am happy to share those happy moments with you all. I will be happier if you share your happy moments with me. Every Sunday, I always have a post in my Facebook group, Morning Cup of Sunshine community. I would love to hear your happy moments there.


Alright, let me start talking about this amazing topic. This is Episode 39 - Challenge your comfort zones. Let me first explain what is a comfort zone? Because I feel we use the term Comfort zone too casually. We all hear about getting out of the comfort zone. But what does comfort zone mean exactly? As per the dictionary, it’s the place where “you feel comfortable and your abilities are not being tested. It is the place where you are not doing anything new instead you keep working on your routine and known things. Tell me one thing, why do you want to break free from your comfort zone? Is it really necessary? You are more at ease in your comfort zone. You are not challenged anymore. But ask yourself a few questions, is staying in your comfort zone making you lazy? Is it stopping you from reaching your full potential? Is it stopping you from trying new things? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then it is a good idea to challenge your comfort zone. I know, it sounds like advice too easy to give and too difficult to follow. But let me help you. I know it first hand the feeling of being stuck in the routine. I know how stuck it feels when there is nothing new and exciting to look forward to. I understand that this is scary and uncomfortable. But trust me, breaking out of that small box will bring you so much joy, excitement and new opportunities. and As Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” Together, let's push past the boundaries that make us feel stuck.


Step 1 - Introspect why do you want to get out of your comfort zone?

I have said it so many times but every time you want to bring a change in yourself, first look inward. Take some time to introspect your motive. Are you trying to change yourself because you want to break free of your own self imposed restrictions or are you trying this because someone else is? Are you trying to challenge that comfort zone to find the new opportunities that you always dreamt of or is it because you are comparing yourself with someone else? Think about your own growth, your mindset. There is nothing wrong in staying in your comfort zone if that is something that brings you joy. If you feel content in what you do right now, then there is nothing wrong to enjoy that place. Just because someone else is taking new risks and new challenges does not mean you have to do the same. There is a place and time for you to break that barrier but it might not be today and it is okay. But if you feel stuck, if you feel you want to do something more, you want to achieve more or even if you feel that you want to try something new for yourself, then by all means challenge that comfort zone. If being in the same old routine is keeping you from growing, if it is conditioning you to settle for less then don’t wait , discover your true potentials by taking some risks and challenging your comfort zone. There comes a time in your life when you want to step outside your self-imposed box. You want that fresh breath of air in your life but you are afraid, you are scared because it is unknown. I understand that comfort feels safe, cozy and warm. I understand but if your reason to step out your comfort zone is strong enough, I believe you can do it. Let’s try to find ways to challenge that comfort zone.


Step 2 - Conquer the fear of the unknown

Have you thought, why do you feel scared to try something new? Let me take a very simple example. You always drive to your office from a certain route. You have been taking that route for months. One day, there is some construction going on that route and you have to take a new route. Can you remember your first thought? Do you feel a little nervous, little scared? This is a very simple example. You are not doing something big like just leaving your good paying job to pursue your career in singing. It’s not something big like that. You might even call it a trivial change, But it is a change from your routine and you still feel a little concerned, isn’t it? Now think, what will make you feel okay or even much comfortable? How about knowing that new route too? Will you be more comfortable if you have a map in front of you guiding you along the way? If you know a little bit about what you are getting into, will it make you take that next step? We all are afraid of the unknown, uncertainty. This comes from our survival instinct. But sometimes, it is not about survival. It is about getting out of your own way. If you want to challenge your comfort zone, if you want to try something new, you first need to educate yourself. If you want to start a side hustle, find out what skills you might need. Learn about those new skills. Maybe you can find a mentor. There might be other people who have already done this so ask for help. You can read books on the subject. This vast internet has anything and everything about all the topics. Read some articles. There could be some YouTube Videos or podcasts on that subject. Do your research before you jump unprepared. Once that unknown starts to become a known, friendly place, you will be much more comfortable to try that new thing. It is all about mindset and preparing your mindset. The more knowledge you have in the subject the less your fear is..


Step 3 : Have a plan

You know it, this is my favorite step. An hour of planning saves a day of doing. You want to break free of your comfort zone, you want to accept more challenges then what is a better way than having a plan for it? You need to have a step by step blueprint. Just think of one extremely simple example. You always cook certain dishes but let’s say you want to recreate your husband’s favorite Thai dish for his birthday. You have never ever tried that recipe in your life. You are scared as it is out of your comfort zone. But you want to do it because you want to surprise your hubby. What a nice why, right? What will you do first? You will go on YouTube to find the recipe. You are taking the fear of the unknown away by looking for an exact recipe. Am I right? What will you do after that? You will make a plan, you will decide where to buy the needed ingredients. You will think about the time it takes to make that dish. You will probably prepare a few things in advance. Are you getting my point? You are doing nothing but the planning, you are taking baby steps towards something which is out of your comfort zone. It is the exact same way to challenge your comfort zone. You need to create a steep by step guide for yourself if you want to break free of that routine comfort zone. Once you have all your steps ready, set the benchmarks. Put those benchmarks in your calendar. Unless you have a concrete plan, your vision will just be a dream. When you start writing it down, you may identify some key challenges. You will get a chance to work on them or at least to think about a solution in advance. Let me tell you a story of my dear friend. She is a brilliant mind at work. She was a teacher for years. She used to teach programming. She always dreamt of working in the software industry but was always scared to do so because of a number of reasons. She always said, it would be so nice to work on actual services or products rather than just teaching how to build those. She had knowledge but she lacked the actual hands on experience. That was an unknown territory for her. But one day, she took a leap of faith. She came up with a plan. She continued teaching but while doing so, she started getting small projects and started delivering them. She started small. The scope of projects were small but with each small project, her confidence started to build up. She started taking up more challenging projects in a few months and finally after having enough experience on her resume and skills in her bag, she applied for an interview in a multinational company and as you must have guessed correctly, she got selected. She is now working as the Team Lead for an amazing company. She still remembers her journey and she still remembers how uncomfortable it was the first time she took on a project independently. Taking the first step is important but taking it by doing your research, with a plan in mind, always increases your chances to succeed. When you really want something more, something extra from your life, you are bound to step in the uncomfortable zone of something new, something challenging. Having a plan for those unknown, uncertain days will make it easy to move forward on that journey.


Step 4 - Day by day, step by step

You know it, this is my Mantra. I have a sign, right in front of my desk that says the exact same thing. It is my daily reminder to myself. You must have heard this quote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” I am not a big fan of some extravagant, radical steps. If you want to start a side hustle but you are afraid to leave your well paying job. I am not going to recommend you to leave your job the day you start your side hustle. I personally think having financial security will take away at least one worry from your plate while starting a side hustle.Let it grow, let it bloom, let it replace your existing salary, then you can think about leaving your job. But when you are just starting, I think you should give yourself some time to test the water, to see if you really like being an entrepreneur, if you really enjoy what you always thought you would. But a lot of people say how can you manage something extra if your day is already filled with your day job. Where’s the time? I believe if you really love something, you will find time to work on it, but if you are not serious enough about that one thing, then you will find an excuse. Try to find the pockets of time to work on your passion. Make changes to your daily routine. Slowly but surely you will get the hang of it. If you are still afraid to do something big out of your comfort zone, start with very small steps. You can take a new fitness class that you’ve been putting off because of anxiety about other people watching you. Make new friends, go to the restaurant alone one day. Volunteer somewhere. If you start taking small steps to get out of your comfort zone, you will be ready to take a big leap of faith one day. Life is all about such small steps everyday. Make each day, each step count. Every step you take out of your comfort zone is bringing you closer to your ultimate goal. Just trust yourself and keep working towards it.


Step 5 - Be ready to accept -

Finally, just a reminder, not all days are going to be equal. There are going to be days when you feel super charged and all in to work out of your comfort zones. There are going to be days when you might feel scared and have second thoughts about your decision. There might be a sudden boost to your new endeavor but sometimes the progress will be slow. There might be rewarding experiences and there might be some failures too. Some days you will have to take some tough decisions, you might not even love some part of your new adventures, other times you will love the new adventure so much that it literally hurts to do something else.. But all this is part of life. You are doing the best you can. Always remember, everything s journey, it will have its ups and downs. But that’s what will make it beautiful. Life is not all rainbows and roses but they are there so that you have a hope to see them one day. I know, we expect to have success instantly. You might have that instant success as well if you have a proper plan but be prepared to work hard and earn that success. There is no shortcut to success. Working consistently is the only key to achieve great things. Just trust, life begins at the end of your comfort zone..


Recap

On this note, let me quickly recap the episode. Frankly, even talking about a challenging comfort zone was out of my comfort zone. I am too introverted to get easily out of my comfort zone. But all thanks to my dearest friend Bharti, I tried to get out of my comfort zone and tried to talk about it. I sincerely hope that I am able to provide you some useful tips. As I always say, I am here to share and learn. I am so glad Bharti made me think about this topic and I sincerely hope that you also got some amazing steps to work on.

Step 1 - Introspect why do you want to get out of your comfort zone?

Step 2 - Conquer the fear of the unknown

Step 3 : Have a plan

Step 4 - Day by day, step by step

Step 5 - Be ready to accept

Let’s work together and challenge our comfort zone. Do let me know what is the one thing that you want to do out of your comfort zone. I would love to hear from you.. Remember a ship in harbor is safe but that is not what ships are for.





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