Many small business owners seek resources to help them succeed but often overlook the importance of mindset tools and stepping outside their comfort zone. They just want someone to tell them what to do. However, being a business owner comes with plenty of uncertainty, unknowns, and, consequently, fear.
Fear serves as an indicator of our comfort zone’s boundaries. It’s the marker that signifies when something lies beyond our current limits. The challenge of transitioning from where you are now to where you want to be is often held back by your comfort zone. As my mentor Jack Canfield wisely states, “Everything we want in life is right outside of our comfort zone.”
A friend of mine, Nick Keyes, shared during our men’s group that we need to “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” That idea was initially scary to me—it doesn’t mean we have to bust through our comfort zone and then find ourselves dancing amidst an array of daunting fears. When I first contemplated the concept of stepping outside my comfort zone, I was turned off by the idea because I enjoy being comfortable occasionally. I do understand the need to push beyond that, though. We’re not saying you should abandon your comfort zone entirely and be uncomfortable all the time. Instead, we’re suggesting that you expand it and make it larger.
To gradually expand your comfort zone, you’ll need to push against its boundaries instead of trying to burst through them all at once. Here is another truth about this that was counterintuitive to the conventional wisdom that I held. We only gain self-confidence or expand our comfort zone by surviving a risk. This process involves creating enough manageable risks that you can continue moving forward in the face of fear, ultimately reaching a point where your comfort zone no longer holds you back.
My incredible wife is a perfect example. When she left her job as a counselor at the Veteran’s Administration to start her own company, her comfort zone didn’t include participating in live videos on social media. Even the mention or suggestion of this would trigger a physical reaction inside of her and make her feel nauseous. But as of now, she hosts a weekly live video session called “Thankful Thursdays,” has been a guest on several other live video shows, and even expanded her comfort zone to include live public speaking.
I can tell you this, the way she went from sick to presenting in front of a crowd had nothing to do with me pushing her or any support she got. She was not sick one day and then magically a public speaker the next day. She took small steps to get there.
Everyone’s process will be different, but her journey involved gathering friends for a video happy hour (thanks, COVID-19), joining me to discuss a passion topic with a small group on video, being interviewed on my live video broadcast called “Small Business Saturdays,” co-presenting with me on that program, and finally organizing her own live broadcast. This marked the beginning of Thankful Thursdays, and with e–ach episode, she improved, became more comfortable, and sought new opportunities. She now shows up nearly every week and shares great information. Being able to host a live video show on social media is now in her new realm of possibility or comfort zone.
The idea isn’t to have a comfort zone and then just leap outside of it, attempting to “fake it until you make it.” Rather, it’s about continually taking new risks, surviving them, and celebrating the expansion of your comfort zone. This approach fosters continuous growth and learning. We are capable of much more than we realize, and a great time to explore our potential is when we feel restless or have thoughts like, “I know there’s more for me, but I’m not doing it.” Too often, we ignore these feelings. However, I’m here to say that we need to conquer those fears and establish a solid foundation for our success.