Get comfortable with being uncomfortable: Here's how

Got a dream but scared to chase it? Here’s how to build a mindset for success. 

When was the last time you stepped outside of your comfort zone? We’re not talking about trying a new shape of pasta or film genre here. We’re talking about doing something that made you feel nervous, that got your heart beating faster than usual. Stepping out of your comfort zone more regularly could lead you to live a life with more purpose – this is why (and how to do it!).  

Do you really know your limits? 

 

As children, we are constantly having to overcome the fear of ‘first-times’. These are huge moments in our self-development. However, as adults, many of us become drawn towards the safety of the known. Neuroscientific studies have even shown that uncertainty feels similar to failure in our brain – hence why we tend to fear it. Feeling a sense of purpose in life comes as a result of getting to know the ‘real you’ a little better. You need to discover what really excites you and makes you feel happy, then, let that be your guiding star. Though you may think you know yourself– sometimes new experiences and pushing your boundaries can reveal things you didn’t know you were capable of.  

Think like an athlete 

“The comfort zone is a stagnation zone,” explains Ben Jenks personal trainer, and senior editor of  Powerlifting Technique. “It's a fictional safe space that curtails growth, learning, and the realisation of your full potential. Athletes understand this intrinsically, which is why they are constantly shattering their comfort zones through higher training intensities, tweaked techniques, and more ambitious goals. We could all benefit from adopting the athlete's mindset of continual self-improvement. 

 

Ben advises that one of the most powerful tactics for levelling up is to cultivate a ‘beginner's mindset’.  

 

“Elite athletes are masters at this. No matter how many Olympic golds they've won, they still seek out new coaches, new drills and new perspectives to elevate their game.” 

 

“Apply this to your own life,” suggests Ben. "Approach new experiences as a humble student ready to absorb as much as possible. Ask all the questions you want without shame. Make mistakes without judgment. Focus simply on the process of learning and growth.” 

 

Dare to dream big 

If you had the courage to do anything in the world and you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you do? A lack of courage and a fear of failing are two of the biggest things that can hold us back from doing what our soul craves. This question might just have revealed one of your true desires. As one of the UK’s most sought-after and critically acclaimed coaches, this is the kind of question Ani Naqvi asks her clients all the time. “Our brain will always limit us.” explains Ani. “I try to get people to dream big. By default, we tend to think pragmatically, we think about what we can do, rather than what we could do. I love asking these questions because it helps people get out of their heads, let go of their limiting beliefs and get into a more creative space where they can dream. The more creative you can get and the more you can expand your mind about what you can achieve… you’ll discover that you will achieve it.”  

Feel the fear and do it anyway 

Whether it’s presenting at work, mustering the courage to speak your mind, or finally joining the dance class you’ve been desperate to try – it’s natural to feel anxious about leaving your comfort zone. But, that feeling is the exact reason you should do it anyway. In a recent study, 550 students were asked to participate in an experiment where part of the group were asked to feel awkward and uncomfortable during the exercises. The findings? Those students increased their persistence and risk-taking, made more progress and learned more than the other students. ‘Did you know that the fear of public speaking is our number one fear in the world?” says Ani. “In 2021, I decided to tackle this fear head on, partly to reach my mission of impacting the lives of over a quarter of a million people and partly to overcome my fears of what people thought of me, in service of my authenticity values. This led me to presenting and speaking at my first ever event with hundreds of people.  I never would have achieved that unless I had come out of my comfort zone and forced myself to tackle my number one fear until then,” explains Ani. 

 

So, what could leaving the comfort zone look like for you? 

 

Discover (or rediscover!) your passions 

Think about this: were there any hobbies, activities or interests you loved when you were younger that you aren’t doing now? If so, why did you stop? One survey found that nine out of ten British adults have abandoned at least one childhood hobby, and nearly a third (31%) cannot recall the last instance they adopted a new hobby or experimented with something different. A large reason for this could be the fact that we often associate hobbies with things we are good at.  

 

The school system is all geared up for competition,” explains Ani. “It’s this whole premise of survival of the fittest.” When we potentially discover we aren’t ‘the best’ at something or perhaps it’s not a career-driven or lucrative interest – we often shy away from it. Eleanor Roosevelt once said ‘the purpose of life is to live it.’ And we would add ‘and do things that genuinely excite you.’ You don't need to be good at everything, you just need to enjoy doing it. 

 

Hobbies have the power to give us a sense of purpose. In a meta-analysis conducted in 2023, data from over 93,000 elderly individuals were analysed, revealing that those who engaged in hobbies, reported greater levels of health, happiness, and overall life satisfaction. You’re never too old to start a hobby but whether you’re revisiting an old passion, or trying something new, you might come to find that you feel a sense of anxiety and fear going into it.   

 

I cant do that 

Ready to start trying new things? Having the confidence and drive to do that is all about building a mindset for success – to help you, our expert and trained hypnotherapist has created a guided hypnosis to reframe your thinking from I can’t to I can. Give it a go here.

This article is part of our How to Find Your Purpose masterclass, a series of articles and videos designed to help you live a life with more meaning. If you want to start debunking the myths around purpose, reveal what makes your heart beat faster and bring more joy into your life, you can find the rest of the content here 

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans

Jessy Deans is a copywriter with a strong appetite for thought-provoking stories, travel and anything covered in white chocolate. With a background working in the fast-paced television industry, she has learnt the importance of self-care and downtime and believes there’s no such thing as too many candles. She is passionate and committed to her lifelong search for the perfect meal and subscribes to the doctrine that ‘if you can’t love yourself, how are you going to love somebody else’ (Ru Paul).