How to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Danger Light

Failure. We’re all afraid of it, and we’re all afraid to become one. How do you break out of your comfort zone? How do you walk through doors when you’re not sure what’s on the other side? Here are some strategies and ideas you can use to push yourself further than you’ve ever thought possible.

I’m certainly not the most qualified person to lecture you on how to get out of your comfort zone. After all, I’ll probably never jump out of an airplane (what if my parachute won’t open), become a phlebotomist (having blood drawn makes me pass out), or ride a motorcycle on the freeway (don’t even get me started). But I have learned how to take meaningful, calculated risks.

Why Escape Your Comfort Zone?

The problem with your comfort zone is that it might not necessarily get you to where you want or need to be in life. Sometimes meaningful, calculated risks can be taken only outside of your comfort zone.

I don’t recommend getting out of your comfort zone for meaningless endeavors, but I do recommend it for those things that will dramatically improve your life. No need to try and climb Half Dome without equipment just to prove a point – unless that’s your career, of course.

Let’s pretend for a moment that you’re dependent on credit cards. You don’t see how you can live life without them, and you’re paying a sickening amount of interest. You probably don’t need credit cards in your life any longer – replacing them with a cash back debit card would do you some good. This might be way outside of your comfort zone, but it’s a meaningful, calculated risk to make the switch and stick to a budget.

Comfort Zone vs. Safety Zone

You might have mistakenly thought that your comfort zone is the same thing as your safety zone. But that isn’t necessarily the case.

Your comfort zone, is where you feel – you guessed it – comfortable. Your safety zone, on the other hand, could either be where your comfort zone is or somewhere else – somewhere safe.

You might feel comfortable in your dead-end job, but is that the safest option for you long-term?

Tension occurs when your safety zone (something that’s not attached to your emotions) is no longer in your comfort zone (something that is attached to your emotions).

How to Move Toward the Safety Zone

I can’t stress this enough: You need to think in terms of moving toward and into the safety zone, wherever it moves, even if it moves outside of your comfort zone.

For many years, it was said that “steady jobs” were well within the safety zone – and they were. You’d work at the same place for 40 years, get the gold watch and the pension, and step into your newfound life of retirement. Younger folks are starting to doubt those kinds of jobs will be around for them, and largely they’re right. The safety zone has shifted into getting out of the rat race and trying new adventures.

In order to move toward the safety zone (which may take you out of your comfort zone), you might have to make pivotal decisions in your relationships, your career, or in other facets of your life. Here are some tips on how you can break out of your comfort zone and step into the new (and scary) safety zone:

1. Recognize that steady is no longer safe.

With major companies laying off workers, the “security” of industrial work is being eaten away day after day. Small businesses are popping up everywhere, sole proprietorships are becoming ever more secure, and what we once thought was, no longer is.

2. Remember that the new safety zone lies in your ability to adapt, create, and think differently.

Your ability to connect with people, innovate bold new products and services, and build companies that grow on their own are all keys to an entrepreneur’s or freelancer’s success. We’re living in a time where art is rewarded, not the same old same old.

Do something new. Try it. It might even become your new comfort zone (and that’s okay).

3. Fail. And then fail again.

Be okay with failure. View it as a sign that tells you, “This didn’t work, so try something new.”

4. Seek the Creator’s help.

You might be saying right now, “Yes, that’s me. I need something new. I need change. And I’m willing to step out of my comfort zone to get it.” That’s fantastic. If God has called you to be a creative, artistic person (one who isn’t satisfied with the norm), pray that the Lord will direct your steps.

It’s scary stepping outside of your comfort zone. It’s terrifying trying something that might fail. But it’s in these attempts that we eventually find something we were born to do. If you fail enough times, you’ll eventually make all those failings worth your newfound success.

So, whether you’re trying to get started managing your finances, take a new career path, or just figure out this thing called “life,” learn to be okay with stepping outside of your comfort zone to take meaningful, calculated risks. Be smart about it, but don’t hold yourself back from doing work that matters.

Do you feel trapped by your comfort zone? What’s holding you back? What’s your story? Leave a comment and let us know!

  1. NatySu

    Very insightful article! I know I’m one of those people stuck in they’re comfort zone. Although I have always been the entrepreneurial type and have tried and failed or succeeded in many ventures in the past few years, I’m always ok with not fully understanding the financial side of my failures. My husband and I are funny in that he is good with numbers and I with words and we help eachother where we lack, but I have never really taken an interest in the family budgeting or saving. At least the details bore me. I hated math in school all up through college I did the bare minimum required when it came to classes and just don’t want “to mess with it” I guess. That’s my comfort zone; relying on my hubby to know the books and asking him if there is money for this or that. Not that I don’t want to save for retirement or my baby’s college fund but I just don’t want to deal with the numbers so I let him do it and he reports it to me if I ask. I make a little money from my online craft shop and he tells me what to do with it and I’m ok with that. I know I need to take an active approach with my husband because he doesn’t want to bare this alone and we are a team, the transition is hard though. I realize that my safety zone is probably beside my hubby, doing the budget and learning more about it.

  2. Dola Gabriel

    I like this article! Thanks for the encouragement!

  3. Bertha

    I absolutely love my full time job and it has definitely been my comfort zone and until recently I thought it was my safety zone. However I’m about to go on maternity leave and my husband and i are shopping for a larger home but I was told that I may have to return to work from maternity leave on a part time basis. On another note, I have recently started a new website and blog that I’m hoping to lead to income. I have no idea what God is doing in my life or where He expects me to go but i am willing to follow His lead. I’ve been here before and He’s never steered me wrong. Please pray for me and my family and keep giving great advice.

  4. Jessica

    Thank you for this post John! This was the helpful push I needed to step out of my comfort zone and start writing. I have been thinking about it and waiting for the “right time” for too long now. Thanks for the inspiration and motivation!!

  5. Mike Swenson

    Thanks for the post. I majored in Entrepreneurship in college, but I could never get over the hump of starting my own business. Lots of my classmates started businesses right out of college, but I just couldn’t. I liked the nice warm feeling of a job with a salary and benefits instead of the unknown. But I always have the itch to start something else. It’s hard to step out in faith because it’s not as warm and fuzzy as what is known. That’s why encouraging and lifting each other up is so important.

  6. MinstrelM

    I like this article. It’s what I’m going through (been going through). Thank you for writing and sharing. God bless you abundantly.