We have all heard the expression “stepping out of your box”. This basically means stepping out of your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is defined as ~ “a place, situation, or level where someone feels confident and comfortable.” merriam-webster.com/dictionary. Living in “Your Box” sounds great because you feel at home and have no stress in your life (stop laughing).
We all know that is not a realistic picture of your life as we have daily stressors, like the driver in front of you who doesn’t know how to use a turn signal, the toddler/teenager who keeps asking “why” or the lady in front of you at the cash register who has a coupon for everything. We really have no control over these stressors but how we react will determine if they really effect “your box”.
Most of the examples listed above come and go within your life and really have no long-term effect on you. What does affect you and makes you really “step out of your box” can be; giving a speech to senior management, going back college or finding new customers for your business. These are just a few examples but anything that makes you think or act differently then you normally would be “stepping out of your box” and that can be really scary! It’s ok to be scared as that means you are growing. I know shocking!!
I think the worse part of stepping out of your comfort zone is that once you go through being uncomfortable, stressing and feeling unsure of yourself, you step right back into your box! That’s why I’ve never been a big fan of this expression because anything you step out of, you can always step back into. How can do you grow as a person if you can step out of your comfort zone momentarily and then back again without learning from it? Well you can’t’!
You might be saying to yourself, I would never do that, I learn from everything I do! Just think about the last time you had to stand up in front of a group of people to talk. What was your body telling you? Was your heart racing? Did you have sweaty palms and a dry mouth? Where your hands shaking? These are all sign of stepping out of your comfort zone. Now what did you do when you were finished? Did you go back to your seat and say, “I’m so glad that’s over! I’ll never do that again!” and all you will remember is how uncomfortable it had been and didn’t learn from the experience.
Next time you need to “step out of your box” why not expand your box or step out & stay out, instead of going back to where it’s comfortable? Ask yourself, what did I learn from that experience? You could start with, I survived! (I Will Survive) Write down how your felt, what went well and what you learned from it. I like to congratulate myself for doing something that was uncomfortable! For example, going on a job interview is very uncomfortable. Whether you get a call back or not, you should congratulate yourself for doing it, then write down what things you said well and what things could be better next time. Whether it turned out good, bad or indifferent you did it!
Stepping out of “your box” is scary! Whether you take baby steps or a giant leap for all mankind, know that you’re expanding your comfort zone and will learn and grow from it.