Dr. Liara Covert

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« 5 Tips to develop aikido-monk awareness | Main | 13 Illusions to shake up your awareness »

6 Strategies to leave your comfort zone

Many people will speak about comfort zones, but that does not always mean they understand their own or how to get out of them. Comfort zones are situations that are familiar and often turn into habits. Who truly knows what is good for the self? You know what's best for you, but you do not always listen to what the heart knows.  Venturing beyond comfort zones enables you to grow.

When it comes to stepping outside a comfort zone, each person is capable, but that does not mean they are always willing or have the awareness to know how it helps.  To get the ball rolling, you benefit from learning to follow the thread back to understand your current mindset and the underlying reasons for it.  Consider these strategies to step outside your comfort zone;

1) Notice where you are.  Self-awareness has many levels. To recognize the obvious as well as subtle nuances helps you to clarify how and why you feel as you do where you are. This includes decriptive things like physical address, geography, conditions. How you describe this adds layers and labels to your perceived identity, that is, how you view yourself as a point of reference.

2) Pinpoint the why. Environments and self-image begin to feel comfortable due to mental conditioning.  This relates back to how you feel. Some part of you begins to believe it is good for you, desirable or helpful for you to stay where you are. Your perceptions may reflect elements of truth or illusions, but your action will align with beliefs. In essence, you imagine reasons for anxiety and insecurity with mental limits when none of these things exist.

3) Identify a sense of risk. A sense of risk triggers fear of threat or loss.  As you imagine new kinds of experiences, part of you may be receptive, but if a more dominant side resists changes, then you are less likely to do so.  The irony is that how you think and feel may not be grounded in reality.  You may assume making a certain choice will necessarily have negative repercussions when this is not the case.  All or none of your assumptions may be true. Yet, without further investigation, you may be permitting fear to control you.

4) Attune to energy. To become more self-aware of energy flow requires you to connect your actions and self-conscious awareness with what seems natural or going against the grain.  Review how a sense of time, perceived abilities and self-confidence, all play a role in your decision to perceive challenges and take steps to repond or not.  How you experience energy influences whether you take steps to exert control or respond differently.

5) Align the body & mind. Ever heard the phrase the mind is willing but the body is not or vice versa? Adjustments are required to coordinate the functioning of different parts of you.  The answers lie inside.  Sometimes guidance is helpful to navigate through obstacles. Getting back in touch with your natural state requires you work though conditioning on many levels to dissolve what no longer works.  No single recipe is the answer for all. Embracing change is a process.

6) Awaken to sources of joy. From the moment you choose to reframe struggle, you begin to realize the very experience itself is like powerful medicine.  To get this far helps you to realize you already access wisdom.  Make smooth transitions. Guide yourself to empowerment with love.  

"Comfort zones are most often expanded through discomfort." -Peter McWilliams

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Reader Comments (11)

Once we are able to detach from that which we cling to, we are able to confidently step outside our comfort zone.
February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMark
I think the first step is identifying you are in the comfort zone ;)
I just love Mark Twain's "When you identify yourself with the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."
Hi Liara,

In screenwriting, there is a technique for building characters. When creating a character, the screenwriter must ask what the character risks and what he/she gains. #3 really rings true for many reasons and it also lets us escape the realm of fear.

When a character escapes the fear, he/she gains insight or knowledge to change.
February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexys Fairfield
I'm so glad joy was the last one, as that's easy to forget if you let fear control you.

When I thnk of where my comfort zone used to be, as compared to where it is going, I KNOW that I can expand it even further. I just can't wait until I've gotten mine as big as it can get, which to me would be -- say, on the Grammys or Oscars stage one day. Hey, it could happen. :)
February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJannie Funster
Mark, conscious recognition of the parameters of your comfort zone is very useful knowledge. It orients you in time and space and empowers you to move in new directions. Though ego does not wish to end its problems because this would dissolve its identity, gaining insight into how you think liberates you to make new choices.
February 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterLiara Covert
Alik, to orient where you are is indeed an empowering gesture. Francis Bacon, Sr. said, "Knowledge is power." Of course, what a person chooses to do with his own conscious awareness of degrees of knowledge determines the course of change. Where you go and how is up to you.
February 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterLiara Covert
Alexys, screenwriting is a fascinating subject. Characters evolve to adopt roles as victims or victors or something else again. Many characters fluctuate or shift between perspectives of superiority and inferiority. Sensing these feelings connects a character with ego. Disavowing both is a step toward a level of transcendance that lies beyond ordinary perception. Every being can reach this, yet not everyone chooses to learn to diminish a sense of self.
February 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterLiara Covert
Jannie, to recognize that your comfort zone is mobile is a wonderful, uplifting revelation. Nothing is carved in stone. Impermanance is one of the few predictable things that characterize this existence. What you identify with shapes you. What you discard no longer resonates. Bethind every positive self view is a hidden fear of not measuring up to something or someone's expectations. To move beyond fear is to raise to a new level of awareness that brings new kinds of tests. Everyone is as meaningful as you choose.
February 12, 2009 | Registered CommenterLiara Covert
Why is it necessary for someone quite comfortable to leave his comfort zone? If one, say is forced by circumstances to leave that, surely, he will be be going to the new situation with the full knowledge and awareness that with some effort he can make that his comfort zone! Leaving a comfort zone is a myth. All of us live in our comfort zones.
February 13, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrummuser
rummuser, thanks for sharing your views. Eleanor Roosevelt said that, "no one can make you feel inferior without your consent." One way to understand this is that nobody forces you to do anything you do not choose to do. If a person desires to continue living and thinking a certain way, then he will do so. This does not necessarily mean a person is conscious and aware of all his choices and behaviours. Many people do things unconsciously, without being aware of what they do as they do it or even after. If however, a person becomes consciously aware and chooses to change, then awareness shapes a new view of comfort zone. As you say, everyone lives in a comfort zone. Everyone also has a personal understanding of what this means. Some people also actively step out of their comfort zones or change them regularly. It is possible to leave one comfort zone and create others. A high level of consciousness is a place where beings have detached from comfort zones. This is another form of existence.
February 13, 2009 | Registered CommenterLiara Covert
Hi Liara, truly happy to have found yr blog.
As someone who has recently stepped out of comfort zone ( quit my full-time job), I appreciate and agree with what you are trying to convey. Yes, fear of uncertainty is perhaps the single most factor that usually keeps us from stretching beyond our comfort zones. But if u believe in yourself, and get that calling to follow your heart, it does not become all that difficult to step out of the existing one, foray into the unknown and one day convert that into a new comfort zone. Easier said than done, though !! At times, it does help if you just burn your ship and move on.
The crux is , as you rightly observe, conscious awareness of self and action as a result of your own conscious choice !
February 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commentersnigdha

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