Why to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Recently, I was a guest on  See Chicago (airing Sunday nights on WGN TV) for the “Get Out of Your Comfort Zone” episode. With my pal and show host Dawn Jackson Blatner, I took on the adventure of trying aerial yoga. If you haven’t heard of it, aerial yoga involves flying in silk fabric and performing yoga suspended up in the air. Sound challenging? It is! Especially trying it for the very first time if you’re not Spiderman or a trapeze artist.

The suggestion to “get out of your comfort zone,” is advice we hear often. But, do we really know why this is a good idea? This experience reminded me. And I wanted to share with you because it is so easy to forget! It’s easy to forget that this is a healthy practice because there are two major reasons why you typically don’t want to get out of your comfort zone. They are:

  1. It’s hard. By the very title: “get out of your comfort zone,” it’s obvious that you’ll experience discomfort. This means you can expect to feel the range of emotions falling on the less desirable side of the spectrum like: fear, embarrassment, disappointment, anger, and frustration. Not typically what we look forward to feeling.
  2. You’ll resist. Because your brain doesn’t like like discomfort, and especially if you’re an overachiever like me who hates being a beginner and bad at something, you’ll want to react to the discomfort like a whiny baby: crabby, critical, defeated, demanding, and maybe even snapping at people to dispel your negative emotions. This is not the best version of yourself and you especially don’t want others in the world to see it.

So with all this ick – there must be a profound reason to get out of your comfort zone, right? Well, here’s what I learned:

As much as I felt frustrated and whiny while I was terrible at aerial yoga in a room full of aerial yoga goddesses, the whole experience reminded me what it’s like to be at the very beginning of something. Anything new is messy. Always. And that is important to remember because we get so IN our comfort zones in life sometimes we get an aversion to messiness. And if this goes unchecked, out of fear, we’ll stop doing anything that seems chaotic or uncertain or adventurous. This is dangerous because chaos and uncertainty and adventure are necessary parts of the creative process. You can’t create anything new or interesting without these elements. Nope. You can’t. Not ever.

So, aversion to messiness puts you in a rut where you are at risk to: stay in the same old jobs even if its boring, to stay exactly the same in a relationship even if it is unhealthy, and to just stick with sameness in countless other ways. On the other hand, to get out of your comfort zone means staying fresh, innovative, creative, able to take risks, and committed to grow into who you are really meant to become. This is the absolute gold and why it’s worth doing. And, the more you do it, the more you build confidence to cultivate your creative, genius self.

Plus, here’s a bonus tip: Get out of your comfort zone with loved ones, especially those who are fun and have a lot of heart and personality.  Together is always better, and makes it much easier to remember to laugh and have a good time in the whole messy, chaotic process. Speaking of laughter, watch Dawn and I giggle our way through an aerial yoga class in the “Get Out of Your Comfort Zone” episode on See Chicago.

WATCH THE SEGMENT HERE (3 minutes)!

WATCH THE SEGMENT HERE!

And if you’re a Chicago lover like us, be sure to tune in every Sunday night at 10:30 pm CT / 8:30 pm PT. Watching Dawn in her various adventures around the city is sure to give you more ideas to get out of your comfort zone.