comfort zone

8 Tips For Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

“You should step out of your comfort zone.” This has become the go-to piece of advice than everyone freely dispenses out whenever a problem is brought up. And the advice seems to be targeted at introverts.

Not everyone has to have the go big or go home attitude. As an introvert, you get your energy from internal sources, so it’s important to remember to recharge. Step out of your comfort zone, but it’s okay to take a break and return for a minute.

Bored? “Step out of your comfort zone!”

Nervous about starting a new job? “Come on, just step out of your comfort zone!”

Perfectly content doing things at home yourself? “You should really step out of your comfort zone!”

Trust me, I’m annoyed too. But, there is something to be said of self-growth here. Being perfectly content doing your own thing is completely fine, but what if it gets to the point where you’re not okay with that anymore? Or what if you want to try something new, but you’re in the habit of staying within your limits so you pass up a great opportunity?

Truth be told, our society favours extroverts… at least to an extent. We are told that we need to be constantly networking and socializing and creating connection and bonds if we want to succeed in this world. And introverts want to succeed just as much as extroverts, but sometimes it can be harder.

Introverts are in no way weak, and not all introverts are shy and afraid of conflict. That being said, introverts do get their energy from being alone, which is their comfort zone. But since humans are social animals, and the way our society is built, a lot of the world happens with people.

If you feel like you’re not being challenged anymore, if you feel like you need room to grow, then step on outside into the discomfort zone. Because sometimes, the comfort zone is where you can feel the most uncomfortable. Especially if it’s preventing you from doing something you wanted to do.

So, whether it’s moving to a new place alone, taking on a new position at work, or even just wanting to push yourself in general, here are 8 tips and tricks to stepping outside of your comfort zone as an introvert.

1. The fear of rejection theory

Comfort Zone

If you order food at a restaurant and they get your order wrong, you might hesitate to complain about it. But what would you do if it was your friend’s order they got wrong? Would you find it easier to stand up for your friend?

It is easier for people to step out of their comfort zone when they are doing to help a friend, rather than themselves.

The reason you might hesitate to do something outside of your comfort zone for yourself is the fear you have of getting rejected. But that fear is eliminated when you are doing the task for someone else. So next time you have to step out of your comfort zone, it may be easier to imagine that you’re doing this task for your best friend or your sibling.

2. Dress rehearsal

The purpose of dress rehearsals is to perform the same way you would on the actual performance, to see if anything goes wrong and how to prevent/solve that. So why not dress rehearse a new encounter you might have?

Going along with the fear of rejection, another reason introverts might not want to step out of their comfort zone is the fear of their worst-case scenario coming true.

So imagine the worst-case scenario has happened. Now what? Create a step-by-step plan to overcome it. And guess what, the worst-case scenario doesn’t seem so bad anymore.

For example, if you are going into a big meeting think of questions your audience could have on your presentation, maybe even present to your friends or people you’re comfortable around first. And then think of answers to those questions.

3. Don’t be uncomfortable just for the sake of it

Comfort Zone

If you’ve never enjoyed sports and you get no joy out of it, don’t suddenly join a football team simply because it’s something you wouldn’t normally do.

The purpose of stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t just to make life uncomfortable. It’s to gain something or grow in some way.

Make sure you are actually getting some happiness out of the thing you are exploring. Step out of your comfort zone when you really want to try something new and the only thing stopping you is the fact that it is new.

4. Seek comfort in the discomfort

Take baby steps. It doesn’t matter how small your steps are, as long as they are steps of progress.

You don’t have to jump into the deep end immediately. That could backfire and send you further back into your comfort zone and never let you leave again.

For example, a goal might be to set up a canvas outdoors someplace and paint. But at the moment, you can only paint alone in their rooms. Instead of immediately taking the canvas out to a busy park, maybe first join an outdoor painting class with other people.

Taking this step will give you the confidence and extra boost needed for completing your goal.

5. Make the first move

Comfort Zone

On the other side of the coin – sometimes you can jump into the deep end first. If you know yourself to often have trouble inserting yourself into conversations or situations that have already started, take it upon yourself to make the first move. When you see someone new, for example, immediately say hello.

After making the first move, you can pat yourself on the back, and get a confidence boost. This confidence boost will show you that you can do all this and more.

A study shows that after interviewing two strangers that avoided making contact with each other, both strangers reported that they didn’t initiate interaction because they were scared of the rejection, but both individuals assumed that the other failed to initiate contact because of a lack of interest.

So, chances are you’re not the only one who feels the way you do, even if you really think you are.

6. Find your support system

When stepping out of your comfort zone, it may be helpful to keep little bits of comfort along with you, perhaps in the form of a support system.

If you have to do something you’re not yet completely comfortable doing, maybe take your best friends or family members along with you. Take people you trust, and explain to them why this is an uncomfortable setting for you.

They will do their best to make you as comfortable as possible, but sometimes just knowing that you’re not there alone is enough.

7. Play into your strengths

Every single person has strengths and weaknesses. A reason that you may feel intimidated is that you don’t see another person’s weakness. But all that means is that you should play into your strengths too.

For example, INFJs are great empathizers, so communication may come easier to them. So when looking at a huge new thing like moving to a new place or a new position at work, try to see the smaller elements that it consists of: one of them is probably communication. And you know you’re good at that.

If you break apart a big terrifying new task, you’ll see it is composed of a bunch of little things you have already encountered in your life, and some of those elements will be your strengths.

8. Know when to call it a day

With all this being said, you don’t have to move mountains in one day. Set specific goals for yourself each day, and once those are completed, call it a day.

Not everyone has to have the go big or go home attitude. As an introvert, you get your energy from internal sources, so it’s important to remember to recharge. Step out of your comfort zone, but it’s okay to take a break and return for a minute.