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18 Actionable Tips For Stepping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Familiarity is comforting for many people, and stepping out of their comfort zone can feel overwhelming and daunting. However, personal growth and development often require venturing beyond the bounds of what you currently know, so it is important to stretch and try new things.

Whether it’s taking on new challenges at work, trying out a new hobby or making new social connections, stepping out of your comfort zone can lead to increased confidence and a sense of accomplishment. If you prefer the familiar but want to break free of the limitations staying your comfort zone imposes, check out the actionable tips below from 18 Forbes Coaches Council members to learn how to embrace the unfamiliar in your life.

1. Surround Yourself With Confident People

Intentionally associating with confident people and being in their space challenges the subconscious to take risks and also helps to breed confidence in the minds of those who tend to be timid and withdrawn. Associative transformation is an immersive strategy that engages the conscious and subconscious dimensions of the mind, which can lead to behavior modification. - Jimi TeweJimi Tewe LLC

2. Take It Step By Step

Trying something new can feel extremely daunting. What can make it even scarier is looking at people who have been doing it for years and thinking that you have to perform at that same level upon starting! To combat this, break down a new task or project into several mini-steps. Focus on completing the first step. Share your work with your best friend and see what they think. Go from there! - Will RippetoeThe Interview Beast

3. Consider The Worst That Could Happen

Confidence is built over time. Achieving confidence starts with a courageous step, followed by consistent action. To step out of your comfort zone regarding something, you can ask yourself, “What is the worst that could happen if I do this?” Maybe it’s just that you may be slightly uncomfortable for a bit. Then ask, “What’s the best thing that could happen?”—and if it is something that lights you up, go for it! - Julie MendenJulie Menden, LLC.

4. Start Small To Create Habits

A good tip is to start with small steps. The brain is designed to conserve energy. When the brain realizes that the demand for effort is not too big, it is more easily willing to perform it. When it succeeds, the reward system is activated, and this triggers motivation. When the brain feels motivated, it is easier to produce the necessary changes in habits or implement new actions. - Paula Vidal CastelliPaula Vidal Castelli Intl., LLC

5. Reward Yourself For Doing Uncomfortable Things

Make a list of things that make you uncomfortable. Continue to add to the list. Beside each task or item, place a reward. Make it a daily or weekly practice to tackle one thing from your list. As you conquer each item, reward yourself with the corresponding reward from your list! - Dr. Sharon H. PorterVision & Purpose LifeStyle Magazine and Media

6. Tune Into Your Desired Reality

An actionable tip that those who prefer familiarity can implement today to step out of their comfort zone is to tune into their desired reality. Ask yourself what you want (no compromises) and evaluate whether the things you are experiencing and doing are getting you closer to your preferred reality state. You can then plan to make the necessary changes incrementally to achieve the life you want. - Ariel McGrewTactful Disruption®

7. Visualize A Place Where You Feel Calm

My tip, which can be used in multiple stressful settings, involves one preparation step: Spend time visualizing a place where you feel calm, and bring in as many sensory elements as possible. For me, it’s sitting on a paddleboard in warm, calm ocean water with the sun setting. Conjure up your visualization whenever you need to recalibrate before launching into a challenging situation. - Antonia Bowring, ABstrategies LLC

8. Take A Fail-Forward Approach

Seek out environments that embrace a fail-forward approach. The most extraordinary learning experiences come from being uncomfortable. Connect with friends, family, groups and work cultures that thrive on innovation! You won’t cure the discomfort, but you will learn to better manage it. - Anthony HowardHR Certified LLC

9. Evaluate Your Risk Tolerance

There are two ways to approach this. One way is to jump right into it and go all in. The second way is to take small steps forward and ease into it. Before you decide which of the two approaches will work best for you, begin by evaluating your risk tolerance, setting up a support system and understanding which of the two approaches will yield a higher level of stick-with-it-ness for you. - Leang ChungPelora Stack

10. Acknowledge Your Fear

Often, people get overwhelmed when stepping out of their comfort zone, so it’s important for them to ensure they stay in the uncomfortable “learning” zone without pushing themselves into the “terror” zone. An actionable step is to, first, admit when you are afraid. Acknowledging fear immediately allows you to become fully present and focus on taking only the next few steps. - Ana ReedNewmanity

11. Make Incremental, Increasingly Challenging Changes

Start with small changes to build the confidence to step out of your comfort zone. For instance, if you’re hesitant to speak up in meetings at work, try sharing one idea or question in your next meeting. In a more personal context, you can try taking a class or pick up a new hobby. Gradually increasing the level of challenge can make stepping out of the comfort zone less intimidating. - Dr. Angela C. Hill, Created2Catapult, LLC

12. Train Your Fearless Muscle

Coming out of a comfort zone is always scary. The only way to become good at it is to do it often. It’s like training a muscle. The more you use it, the stronger you become. The more you face your fear of doing unfamiliar things, the easier it will get. - Masha MalkaThe One Minute Coach Corp.

13. Find A Role Model To Emulate

Think of someone who is afraid of nothing and whom you admire, then act as you think they would. No amount of motivational sayings to pump yourself up is ever going to act as a catapult. You’ve just got to step in, do it, see yourself doing it, learn from it, win from it and keep going. It’s okay to take baby steps and dip a toe in, but once that toe gets acclimated, go for it. - Laura DeCarloCareer Directors International

14. Remember What You Want To Achieve

I always tell my clients to remember what they want to achieve. If you are really passionate about growing your business and career and, for example, know that you need to network more to achieve this, there is no gain in remaining in your comfort zone. Keep your accomplishments at the forefront of your mind to make sure you feel worthy and confident enough to step out. - Glory Edozien, Inspired by Glory Academy

15. Partner With Someone To Learn A New Skill

I like to set up team members with a partner, someone who has a skill that they want to learn but may otherwise be afraid to try. A partner relationship provides a safe way to learn from a mentor and dip into a new skill, without being fully responsible for the outcome. Ideally, the partner relationship can work in reverse, with the person who is learning a new skill also teaching. - Stacey AckermanNavigateAgile

16. Engage In Gradual Exposure Practice

Try engaging in gradual exposure practice by taking small steps toward your goal. For example, if you fear public speaking, try speaking up in small group discussions first. Every time you face your fear, your brain records the evidence of success and weakens the neural pathways associated with fearing the situation. Think about gradual exposure as a vaccine that boosts your mental immunity and fear resilience. - Anna BarnhillBarnhill Group Consulting, Inc

17. Make The Objective Worthy Of Your Discomfort

I encourage leaders to focus on why they want to take the action in the first place. Imagine delivering a presentation. If your objective is “to get it right,” you’ll be derailed at the slightest hiccup. If instead, your objective of the presentation is “to help save lives,” for example, you’ll stay focused on what’s important—even when you’re uncomfortable! Make the objective worthy of your discomfort. - Asia Bribiesca-HedinBridgewell LLC Professional Services

18. Bring Along Something Familiar

Bring along something familiar when you step outside of your comfort zone. This can mean wearing your favorite suit or using a tried-and-tested slide deck when making a presentation to a new audience. It can also be about recognizing innate qualities that you can tap anytime. - Joyce Talag, Joyful Transformations LLC


A version of this article appeared on forbes.com, posted on April 17, 2023

EXPERD, Human Resources Consultant, Jakarta – Indonesia

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