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HOW TO GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE AND START A BEAUTIFUL ADVENTURE
Today we are going to tackle the subject of comfort zones, and if you are following my podcast page on social media (those links are in the show notes for you), then you will have seen that I am keeping the promise I made in the last episode. I am showing up each day with a face-to-camera video chatting for about 5 minutes on a random topic. This was something I challenged myself to do to force myself out from hiding and into the light. It has certainly been a mountain-size leap from my comfort zone. But can I tell you something? The wins I have gotten far outweigh the hives doing it brought! So as I share today about comfort zones trust that I and my hives are coming from a place of soul-deep experience.
DEFINING COMFORT ZONES
You know I love to hit up my BFF Google for a simple definition of topics, and here is what I found on this one. “A comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person, and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress. In this zone, a steady level of performance is possible.”
Now in Tammy Terms, I say comfort zones are imposters. They create a false sense of safety luring us to stay forever because it is easy. I believe if we stay there too long, comfort zones lead to complacency. Complacency leads to apathy. Apathy leads to hopelessness, and it is a rapid downhill slide from there! Personally, I believe the root of comfort zones often goes back to the shoulds we have unknowingly been carrying on our backs. It is easier to stay toeing the line we were told to toe than it is dropping the line and jumping into something unknown.
DID YOU DECORATE?
Far too many of us have set up housekeeping inside comfort zones. These areas may have served a purpose at one point, but one day we wake up and realize they are suffocating us. We want to feel safe and we also have a desire deep in our souls to live the life we dream of living. These two things can rarely cohabitate. This is why we must step out of them! We need to stand up as women, confident in our strength and power so we are capable of stepping into the unknown adventures in pursuit of a life that matters and aligns with our values. We need to press past the walls of comfort into the freedom that awaits us on the others side of that brave first step.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO?
Let’s use this example: Imagine you are living in a small studio apartment…one of those where you have to go outside to change your mind. You open your mail to find you were offered a brand new 3 bedroom 2 bath house on 100 acres for the same price you are paying on your studio, would you jump at the chance to take it? What if it’s in an area you had never been, with weather you have never experienced, where you don’t know anyone – it’s completely foreign territory but is bursting with possibilities? Would that alter your decision? What if life in your current studio apartment meant living without a parking space for your own and working in a job that barely makes ends meet but with stores and restaurants you love close by, a climate you are familiar with though you don’t love it, and a handful of friends you are too busy to see often. Which would you choose? Studies have shown that the majority of people will stay where there are because they know it. It is their largest comfort zone
But what if on the other side of stepping out of your comfort zone and making a choice to move, you start a regenerative farm that provides all your food and helps the community, build an incredible family of people you adore, wake up every day full of joy, and meet the person of your dreams? We always want to know what is on the other side of our comfort zone before we are willing to take a step in that direction. But life is lived in the unknown. Every day we wake up is a new chance to do amazing things. But we have to be willing to do those new things without guarantees of the outcome. Without knowing all the steps. Without having a roadmap, a guidebook, and a GPS dictating every step. Life is lived by faith. Faith in better days. Faith that things will eventually turn out well. Faith things are working for our good.
FEAR MAY BE TO BLAME
Fear is a real enemy. Plain and simple. This world can be a scary place and people can be unkind. There is an internal struggle many of us face to balance the urge to stay comfortable and safe with the spark of desire within your soul urging you to more. It is wrong to settle for a less-than-life instead of going after your dreams and sharing your gifts with the world. Our brains are designed to keep us alive so they will always default to what is known and perceived to be safe. It will never choose the path of change and newness and unknown unless we tell it to do so. Stepping out of comfort zones means we become active participants in our lives. And transformation can only happen when we are engaged in this process.
I know what it is like to be a woman yearning to give birth to the gifts you’ve kept hidden for so long. And I know what it’s like to be a woman terrified to leave the safe world you’ve cultivated for yourself. The emotions are real – both the fear and the spark of passion. Both can feel overwhelming and both can fight to remain. That’s what my daily video challenge has been about. Holding space for what is, what I fear, and the possibilities waiting on the other side of the step of faith.
COMFORT ZONES ARE IMPOSTERS
I think it would benefit us all to look at life differently than we may have been trained. Life isn’t linear. This isn’t just a race we start at birth and finish when we die with the middle being an endless running on a treadmill of expectation. It is a journey with ups and downs, twists and turns, hills and valleys. It can be marked with beauty and laughter and brokenness and joy and sorrow and love and loss. It is by definition a journey of “and also”, and that can feel complicated sometimes. But we have to learn to hold space for all of it. And to experience it in its fullness, we have to be willing to give up comfort zones.
Are you familiar with a CZ in jewelry? It is a fake diamond. It is a clear, human-made, synthetic version of a precious stone. Its cost is much lower than a natural stone, and its value is lower as well. CZs aren’t the real thing. They are imposters. Natural diamonds are birthed in darkness and are formed from enduring pressure. They take time to reach their magnificent, valuable fullness. Comfort Zones are the CZs of life, but you were born to nurture and grow your gifts so they help you live the more-than-life you deserve.
IT IS A DELICATE DANCE
As those of you who have been around awhile, you know I come from a background of trauma. I have had to learn to honor both the need to be safe with my desire to go after the life I want. My role as a coach has allowed me to help other women do the same. Comfort zones are about controlling our environment and creating safety. There are times when setting a healthy boundary might require we cultivate a comfort zone. But we take that too far when we decorate it and get so settled we never want to leave.
Think of this example:
A woman was betrayed by a co-worker who stole her ideas and sold them as her own. This meant her co-worker got a promotion, and her boss indicated that she needed to raise her game to her co-worker’s level. Naturally, this makes her feel some kind of way. She made some adjustments and set healthy boundaries to ensure this didn’t happen again. She started keeping her ideas to herself. Over time she didn’t share any ideas, and her boss thought she had lost her edge. This made her even more distrustful of her company, and bitterness took root. She took her comfort zone too far and ended up in a prison of her own making. This is what ha
MINDING THE GAP
I want to offer you a simple way to do this. This process will help you close the gap between your comfort zone and your ideal life…and it will do it in a way that is manageable for you no matter your season. Remember, the key to lasting change rests in it being simple enough to maintain. Here’s how you can mind the GAP.
Step one is rooted in grace. Pour grace on the table and be gentle with yourself. Don’t heap guilt or shame or regret onto any choice you’ve made. You’ve done the best with what you had and what you knew. Grace allows you to feel safe as you move through this process. I am sure you can guess step two if you’ve been here a minute. It is awareness. Allow yourself to examine the truth of your life to see if there are areas where you have been living in comfort zones yet long to walk free. Now take a big breath and exhale it out. Acknowledging those spaces creates margin for you to move on to our final step: possibilities. Allow yourself to dream of possibilities, Ask yourself what it is you want in those areas you’ve set up comfort zones. Keep breathing. Awareness brings alignment so this is your opportunity to craft a new narrative. A shortcut to help you remember is GAP – grace, awareness, possibilities.
Embracing discomfort is never easy, but a change of perspective going in can help you develop the grit you need to push through. If you are in a rut, I would be willing to bet you have set up camp in a comfort zone and need to move out of it so you can shift into your growth zone. Identify your comfort zones. Examine why you created them. Ask if they are still serving you. Pull out your phone and set a recurring Comfort Zone to check in monthly or quarterly so you stay present in your life. Lovie, understand your life is yours to live. So take control of your story by getting out patterns that no longer serve you. I challenge you to create a set of baby steps that move you forward at a pace that is comfortable for you while also challenging you. It is a balance. You don’t want to push yourself so hard you regress or implode. That would serve anyone!
WHAT IF IT ALL WORKS OUT?
What if we painted getting outside our comfort zones with a different brush, and instead of them being scary free falls into the unknown, they became growth zones where we were allowed to learn something new and live a new adventure? Holocaust survivor, Dr. Edith Eger says, “ What if the unknown could make us curious instead of gut us with fear?” Y’all if a woman who has lived the horror of the holocaust can have that attitude, I am certain we can all must the ability to do the same.
The other day I saw a reel on Instagram from Mel Robbins and she suggested that instead of going down the rabbit trail of what could go wrong, we stopped and asked ourselves, “what if it all works out?” Both sets of musings are equally full of wild imagination, so why not opt for the one that holds hope in it? This one pierced my heart so deeply I wrote it on post-it notes and stuck them to the mirrors of my home. Seeing them stops me in my tracks when I am in a spiral of the what-if-failure stories.
LEARNING YOUR RISK TOLERANCE
Leaving comfort zones allows you to find your risk tolerance. It requires you to be clear on why you do what you do and the vision you have for your life. If your comfort zones are impeding you from achieving those visions, you have to find the courage to move forward. It is about cultivating a growth mindset. Creating a community that will support and call you forward. Accept that sometimes it won’t turn out right. You will make a misstep or mess up because you are human working on your being. Accept this as part of life and practice that CPR we talk about often – consistent, persistent, resilience.
Author John Maxwell says, “Life’s difficulties do not allow us to stay the same. They move us. The question is, in which direction will we be moved: forward or backward? And “Pain prompts us to face who we are and where we are. What we do with that experience defines who we become.” Comfort zones play heavily into this. We are all going to face difficulties. And we are all going to have to do our work to move past them. If you love your life and think it is 100% what you dream of in every area. AWESOME. But if any area is less than your ideal, change is necessary. And change can never happen inside your comfort zone. It can’t because comfort zones are stagnant. Life is happening outside of them and if you want to be fully alive, you have to be willing to do a new thing even if it gives you a belly full of butterflies and a face full of hives.
CLOSE THE GAP
I hope you will grab hold of with both hands the idea that transformation happens on the other side of your comfort zone. More importantly, I hope you know in the depths of your soul you are capable of leaving those areas and stepping into the light where you will find a fullness of life you would have missed. Don’t miss out on this. Stand in your power. Live out of your strengths. Share your gifts. Step into the fullness of who you were created to be.
Practicing the steps to close the GAP, helps you leave your comfort zone, build muscles of resilience, and experience opportunities you may have never imagined. I wish I was standing in front of you right now. I would look into your beautiful eyes and beg you to stop underestimating who you can become. I’ve wasted years of my life doing this, and I’m here to tell you it doesn’t serve you and it doesn’t serve the world. There is purpose in the hard things. Think about a caterpillar just emerging from a chrysalis. It requires the hard work of emerging and unfurling its wings and if you interrupt this in an effort to “help”, it will not survive. It’s the struggle that builds strength and brings beauty. Remember, there is a payoff in every choice we make so be sure to examine the benefit we get as well as the cost we must pay.
IT IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY
Life isn’t about the final destination. It is about the journey because that is where we do the becoming, the blooming into the fullness of who we were created to be. I know I talk about setting goals and chasing dreams a lot, but I want to be clear we must appreciate, experience, and savor the journey, too. Yes, we want to hit the target and reach our goals but more than that we want to be the women who were designed to be. Comfort Zones keep us from taking our journey and this means they cause us to forfeit becoming the beautiful, strong, resilient women we are meant to be. When we engage in the process of the journey we see birthed in ourselves things we might never have known existed.
As I wrap up today I wanted to share with you a quote from James Clear from Atomic Habits (one of my top 5 books) because he puts a bow on this subject: “Many situations in life are similar to going on a hike: the view changes once you start walking. You don’t need all the answers right now. New paths will reveal themselves if you have the courage to get started.”
Be sure to grab the free download below to help you close the gap with grace, awareness, and possibility. I hope you will accept the challenge to leave some comfort zones behind so you can take a leap of faith into the life you were born to live. You deserve to be your very best self.
Until next time, remember, I am in it WITH you, always,
Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone
And into a beautiful adventure?
You can do it, and I can help.