Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone – 4 Simple Techniques

Earlier this week I stepped out of my comfort zone, pushed myself in a new and challenging way, and felt motivated and inspired by doing so.  I previously blogged about staying inspired and the empowerment that it provides.  Forcing myself to make that step outside of my comfort zone really complimented that- I was further inspired, motivated and empowered.

Alastair Macartney flies in a military wind tunnel with his team mates.

I’m an Adventurer that likes to live much of my life in the sky, performing human flight.  I lead Jump4Heroes and in doing so I have to be not just a Leader but also good at what I do- extreme human flight.  Over the winter it has been difficult to stay current and so, when recently offered the chance to go to a wind tunnel, I literally jumped at the opportunity.

While I used the experience to keep current I decided to also use it to push myself, to learn something new, to intentionally place myself outside of my comfort zone and, in a controlled environment, force myself to deal with it.

Conventional flight in free fall or in a wind tunnel involves flying in a belly-to-earth position, as shown in the picture above.  That is what I’m good at.  I’ve got countless days flying in wind tunnels like this (and wind tunnel time is generally measured in minutes).  I was flying in military wind tunnels before the modern day civilian wind tunnels were around or became popular.  I feel at home in the air.

Having said this, I haven’t been in a wind tunnel for many years.  So I jumped in, ‘found my feet’ and got current.  I embraced my new challenge- instead of flying conventionally, the way I was comfortable, I would invert this and fly on back, in a back-to-earth position.  I would spend my time upside-down.  I would go from being in an environment that I was totally in control of and put myself in a position that I would find difficult, challenging, novel and, perhaps, exciting.

It was tough at first.  I had to master new skills.  I spent time when I was flying absolutely and completely out of control.  It was great.  And, as I spent more time doing so, I learnt.  It was frustrating at times.  Sometimes I was annoyed at myself.  But, this challenge I had forced myself to undertake motivated me.  I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone.  I had dealt with it and now it had inspired me.  I now want to go back again.  I want to do more.  And I also want to ensure I keep finding new challenges to push myself out of my comfort zone.

So now I challenge you to do the same- nothing serious like in this short blog post by Olympic Gold Medallist Sophie Hosking, but in just a small way.  Go on- step outside of your comfort zone, take a chance.  Here are 4 simple techniques that you can use:

  • Use the other hand.  Try using the other hand for something.  We normally have a dominant hand, try using the wrong hand to pick up your cup of coffee or to brush your teeth with.  Keep doing so until you’ve finished.  How did it feel?  I bet it was awkward but did you get better at it?
  • Confront a small fear.  What do you find difficult or scary?  Perhaps it’s speaking to a stranger- have a conversation with someone you pass in the street.  Ask them for directions or what the time is- just start with something small.  That isn’t that hard but it’s a great step in the right direction and it will make you do something that normally you might not be comfortable with.
  • Invert your routine.  Do you normally wake up, check your emails on your phone, drink some coffee and then shower?  Then switch it around- shower, drink some coffee and then check your emails.  Just this small change to your routine, doing it differently, in a way that you might not be immediately comfortable with, can add that enlightenment I’m talking about.
  • Make a step change.  Do you normally lead in a meeting?  Do you sit there quietly?  Make a step change- if you’re the quiet one then force yourself to speak up this time and if you’re the outspoken one then force yourself to be a good listener and ask meaningful questions.  Commit to doing it and go in there with the confidence to do so.

These techniques can be used at a lower level to make you step outside of your comfort zone just a little.  But, like circuit training, it’s up to you how far you want to push yourself.  You can really use them to take you to the next level if you so desire.  Let me know how it goes.  Good luck.

Question:  What other techniques do you use to step outside of your comfort zone?

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