5 Reasons Why We Should Embrace Being Pushed Outside Of Our Comfort Zone
Consciously stepping outside of our comfort zone is challenging and often filled with fear, so when the COVID-19 pandemic unwillingly through me outside of mine, this is what I discovered.
The definition of a 'comfort zone' is a place or situation in which you feel safe or comfortable especially when you choose to stay in this situation instead of trying to work harder or achieve more.
On reflection, I see now that prior to COVID-19, I was very much within my comfort zone. I had a deep rooted fear of putting myself out there, fear of being vulnerable, and fear of failing. During Lockdown, I was forced to set off as an explorer into the thick jungle of the unknown. Doing so, I realised that beautiful things can happen...
1. You'll start to think in an innovative way
Less than 2 months ago running yoga classes online filled me with fear. In fact, less than 2 months ago I had no social media, no recorded yoga videos, no blog, no newsletter, and certainly no live stream yoga classes.
In the first days of COVID-19 lockdown, all my 'in person' yoga classes were cancelled and my entire yoga business took a massive nose dive into oblivion. I was forced to change the way that I teach yoga if I wanted my business to survive.
With no other choice, I researched the most effective ways to take my business online, wrote a list what equipment I had to purchase (at low cost!), which platforms I needed to learn, and who I needed to contact,
A lot of the time we’re moving through our lives on auto-pilot and we’re scared to deviate from the set route. When we are able to think outside the box, we become better thinkers. We exercise the part of the brain that allows us to learn new things and start thinking in an innovative way to come up with new strategies.
2. You'll learn new skills, or passions, you didn't think you were capable of, or forgotten
In a matter of days I learned how to use Zoom by watching Youtube videos, practiced on some friends, and then started running live online yoga classes. Since then, I now run 12 live online yoga classes a week. Funnily enough, three weeks into using Zoom I started training other people on how to use Zoom!
I renovated my website, restarted this blog, and learned how to use MailChimp to create a weekly newsletter. I began posting regularly on social media, and ran a 'Insta Live' yoga class for a corporate client on Instagram.
Outside of these new skills, I also reignited some long forgotten passions. I studied English Literature at university and always adored writing. Throughout my corporate career, my love for writing dwindled from writing never ending business emails. Since starting my blog and social media I feel words flowing through my veins like I've had a transfusion of prose.
I've also witnessed this in the people around me. I've seen people innovating, creating different forms of art, learning new subjects, trying new skills, or finally feeling the confidence to share their gifts.
3. You'll move past limiting beliefs holding you back
So if I could learn all of these new skills in such a short space of time, and enjoy it, what was stopping me from doing all of this before?
I had labelled myself with limiting beliefs such as, “I can’t do that”, “I’m not good enough”, and “I’m going to fail”.
Although the first steps were scary, each small step outside of my comfort zone gave me a little more confidence each time. The sound of my limiting beliefs (aka shitty committee) had been deafening previously, but with each small step forward my inner "shit talk" became whispers. I still hear them sometimes, now only echos of what they once were.
4. You'll gain clarity on the importance of self-care
'Growth' outside of your comfort zone doesn't have to mean something 'active'. There's always a Yin (passive) to the Yang (active). Exploring the Yin outside of our comfort zone is just as, if not more, important.
I've witnessed this with so many new students coming to yoga class, exploring the practice on the mat and noticing the positive affects off the mat too. People are nurturing themselves with much needed rest, self care, and time to be still.
During lockdown I've depended my own yoga practice, I've mediated more, and taken much more time to rest and restore.
5. You'll befriend uncertainty
Just before lockdown I remember anxiously telling my mother, "my yoga business is totally ruined, I don't know how I'm going to survive".
Reflecting back, I see that the anxiety I felt then was wasted energy. There's so much uncertainly in the world, and so much we cannot control. It's totally normal to feel anxiety around not having control, but if we can redirect that energy into we can create we transform the situation into something positive.
I started to feel similar anxiety this week when I started to think about life post-lockdown. Will all my clients taking digital yoga classes stop lessons when they go back to work? Will people still want digital yoga? Will my yoga business plummet once more?
But this time I feel more grounded in the present and more willingly to 'go with flow' of the universe. If I can use any anxious energy to create more in the 'now', I'm laying the groundwork for the future, whatever that may be.
So, why should we embrace being outside of our comfort zone?
Being outside of our comfort zone allows us to explore beyond the ceiling of what we think we are capable of.
With each small step forward we can shift limiting beliefs, opening the door to a new realm of possibilities and opportunities. Outside of our comfort zones, we can explore the full range of your experience.
On the mat, I invite my students to "explore the full range of their experience" through exploring the full range of their movement. For example, I ask my students to slowly turn their heads to one shoulder, and then ask them to do it gain but "exploring the full range of your movement". This time students turn their head a little further past their shoulder. Often we don't realise that we stay in our comfort zones in all areas of our life, even our movement. The 'sweet spot' is that space just beyond (but never into any pain of course!)
In final relaxation, I then ask my students to move into the full range of their relaxation. Even in our relaxed state there can be subconscious holding in the body. As students move into the full range of their relaxation they start to let go of tension, tightness, and holding.
Exploring the full range of your movement and exploring the full range of your relaxation are practical ways to experience the full range of your experience through glorious gifts of yoga.
Sometimes life will throw us these curve balls and we are forced to take a leap outside of our comfort zone. Be bold, be brave, and step forward as the explorer you were born to be. Do this and feel the wonders of the full range of your experience.
How have you pushed yourself outside of your comfort zone, and how did it help you?