Comfort zones can be a dangerous place to be.
Confidence is a learned skill, just like leadership and public speaking.
The way we become more confident is to try new things. When we try new things, we learn what does and does not work for us and eventually conquer that new skill.
In talking with my friend Dr. Peter Buckley, the Dean of the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Regents University and former Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the school, I asked if some people were born more confident. Dr. Buckley’s reply was “We are all born with the same innate confidence. It is experience that builds or destroys confidence in anything we attempt. If we fail at anything, it is important that we keep trying. This is how confidence and knowledge are ultimately built.”
This is why failure is such an important part of our growth. Failure is not truly failure unless we do not learn from it and do not try again.
As humans we are programmed to avoid risks. In fact, the average human has about 65,000 thoughts a day and, for many of us, these thoughts are about 85% negative. This is because the fight or flight instinct in our brain, passed along from our ancestors, is still very much in charge. This is how our ancestors survived and were able to pass along their genes to us. While some fear is necessary–for instance, you want to warn yourself not to step in front of a moving car–however many of the warnings we send ourselves are not valid. It feels easier for us to stay in our comfort zone and not take risks. That voice inside us sends off warning signals when we attempt to stretch outside this limit.
The key to combating this is to accept it for what it is–simply a thought–and then act anyway. It is when we feel the most at risk that we grow the most personally.
I often coach people that a comfort zone is a dangerous place to be. You will never reach your full potential by staying there. If you don’t stretch your comfort zone on a regular basis it will begin to shrink.
So I DARE you to get out of your comfort zone and do it regularly so that you can reach your full potential.
Ask yourself everyday “What did I do today to stretch outside my comfort zone?”
To find out how confident you are visit my website, www.beckyblalock.com, and take the confidence quiz. Based on your score, I share tips for improving your confidence level and overcoming fear.
When was the last time you truly stretched outside your zone? Join the discussion here or @Becky_Blalock on Twitter.
Becky Blalock is a C-Suite IT Executive, Thought Leader, Board Member, Speaker, and Author. Her best-selling book DARE: Straight Talk on Confidence, Courage, and Career for Women in Charge is available on amazon.