Why Frequent Trips Outside Your Comfort Zone Are So Important

Earlier this year, Gail and I attended Tony Robbins’ Life & Wealth Mastery event in Fiji. On the very first morning, with less than an hour of instruction, we were asked to climb a thirty-foot pole and then stand on top of it.

A Man Standing on Top of a Pole - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/SLOFotomedia, Image #2939030

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/SLOFotomedia

This was no surprise, of course. I had known for several months this was going to happen. But it was still frightening to consider.

I’ve heard the only two fears you are born with are the fear of loud noises and the fear of falling. Every other fear is acquired.

I don’t know if that’s true, but I can attest to the fact that climbing the pole was terrifying.

Even though I was strapped into a harness and couldn’t really get hurt, the sensation of being so high off the ground on a swaying pole felt ridiculously dangerous.

Nevertheless, I made it to the top and was able to step onto the top of the pole. I stood there for a few moments, just taking it all in. I felt incredibly alive—and triumphant.

Then I remembered I was supposed to leap to a trapeze ten feet away. No sweat, I thought. I took a deep breath, focused on the target, and jumped.

Unfortunately, I missed.

The spotters lowered me to the ground as Gail and my new friends cheered wildly from the ground. It was exhilarating.

Of course, the whole point of the exercise was to cement in my subconscious the value of getting outside my comfort zone. It has had exactly this impact.

You’ve probably experienced something similar. Maybe it was learning a new skill, meeting a new person, or taking on a challenge you’d never done. We don’t often enjoy these things when they are happening, but, looking back, we have to admit:

  • This is where the growth happens.
  • This is where the solutions are.
  • This is where fulfillment resides.

In short, the really important stuff happens outside your comfort zone.

If that’s true—and I believe that it is—how can you maximize these trips outside your comfort zone? Let me suggest seven ways:

  1. Acknowledge the value. Reality is that we move toward what we esteem. The first step is simply to confess that getting out of your comfort zone is a good thing. Say it out loud if you need to: “Getting out of my comfort zone is good for me!” Remember, unless you do so, you won’t experience the growth you want, the solution you need, or the fulfillment you desire.
  2. Lean into the experience. So many people shrink back whenever they experience pain. The problem is that this can become a habit—or worse—a way of life. Instead, embrace the discomfort. Move toward it. This is an important step in accomplishing anything significant. You have to go through the realm of discomfort to get what you want in life.
  3. Notice your fear. If you feel anxiety or fear, that’s normal. But—and this is critical—you don’t have to be controlled by it. Yes, it can be an indication of danger. It can also be an indication that you are on the right path and about to experience a break-through. Just notice the anxiety or fear but keep moving forward. Often, the ability to push through fear is the only thing that separates those who succeed from those who fail.
  4. Don’t over-think it. This is my biggest temptation. I want to know the entire path. I want a map to the destination. Alas, I rarely get one. But that’s okay. All you really need is clarity for the next step. When you get it, take the next step in faith, believing you will be given the light you need to take the next one.
  5. Play full out. It’s easy to get timid when you move outside your comfort zone. You think maybe you can just ease into it, kind of like sliding into a cold swimming pool. Not so much. Better to jump in with both feet. It’s not usually as bad as you think. You have a better chance of success if you give it your all.
  6. Celebrate the victory. Historically, I have not been very good at this. As soon as I accomplish something, I check it off and move on. But I am learning the importance of marking the moment, recognizing the achievement, and expressing my appreciation to those who helped make it happen. It’s important for you and for them.
  7. Pause to reflect. It’s also important to take a little time to process your experience. What did you do well? What would you do differently next time? What life principles can you distill from the experience that will help you in your next challenge? It’s worth jotting a few notes in your journal or, if this was a team effort, scheduling a time to debrief.

If you are out to accomplish significant things in your life, you are going to be spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone. You might as well get the most out of it.

Question: When was the last time you moved outside your comfort zone but, in retrospect, were glad you did? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • http://jonstolpe.com/ Jon Stolpe

    I just returned from a trip outside my comfort zone to the country of Guatemala.  The trip challenged me in so many ways, and it taught me so many lessons about the life I live right where I am in my hometown.  Getting out of my comfort zone in Xenacoj, Guatemala was so worth it!

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      That’s great about your trip. I know it was a long time coming.

    • Priscilla Richter

      I returned from a mission in Guatemala almost exactly one year ago.  Ditto with the challenges and being way outside my comfort zone in many ways.  It is still working on me, and I’m seeing how easy it is to slip right back into my comfort zone. I didn’t (and don’t) want that to happen!

      This is a year of deep discernment for me, and I can see that I need to 1) be acquainted with the parameters of my bubble and 2) do way more intentionality on getting out of my comfort zone.

      This post will work on me for a long time.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      There’s nothing like a trip abroad to challenge your comfortable thinking! I wrote about this last week.

    • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

      That’s awesome Jon! 

    • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

      Celebrate, give thanks and, now? Prayer is real work too!

  • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

    I believe we have to be intentional in working outside of our comfort zone because sometimes we tend to be forgetful of its presence in our lives. What we consider as routine and normal may sometimes be the exact location of our comfort zone! 

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Joe, you’re dead on. We file into our routine because it’s so comfortable. I like to look for opportunities to break free and do something outside of the routine. Whether that be driving a different route, moving the desk around, or some other means of changing things up. How do you break out of your routine?

      • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

        Simple changes in routine can be a great way to spark creativity as well.

        • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

          True!

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        Take a different approach. This helps me analyze things in a new way.

    • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

      I know that my favorite clients are the ones that on day one I felt the most nervous about. I have grown because of them!

      • http://joeandancy.com/ Joe Abraham

        That’s the beauty of stepping out of the comfort zone. Great story, Matthew.

  • http://chrisvonada.info/ chris vonada

    Writing here on the internet was a HUGE step for me. I am actually quite shy and when I had some friends encourage me to start writing I thought “who me?” … I didn’t even realize it was a spiritual gift! Thankful !!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Isn’t that the truth! Choosing to write in a public medium is definitely not in my comfort zone, either. Glad you’re pushing forward, Chris.

    • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

      I cringe when others proof my work, and have tension from the moment between a blog post is completed until it goes live. Once live, it’s like I’ve taken the plunge and I know that for better or worse it’ll be okay. 

  • Katie

    “The really important stuff happens outside of your comfort zone.” is now, at this exact moment, one of my new favorite quotes. I loved this article. Thank you!

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      I really liked that quote too Katie. How do you live outside your comfort zone?

      • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

        You are an encourager! “write to empower others to lead better, build stronger relat… I see your declaration.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com/ Cyberquill

    For a little over a year now, I’ve been living with my mom again, a situation that is about as far from my comfort zone as it gets. In my experience, journeying outside my comfort zone has no effect other than to make me, well, uncomfortable and to relish my comfort zone even more once I’ve manage to return to it. 

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    My whole life has been an adventure for the past year. I left a job of 13 years to work at home, have had to work through the adventures of moving an elderly parent to managed care, have started on a second book, to name just a few. It seems like my days are full of adventure, but my nights are full of fear.

    Through it all, the most frustrating part has been the little things that just don’t work. Simple things, that have worked in the past, just haven’t worked this year. It’s been humbling, yet it has drawn me closer to God. Prayer and patience have become staples in my life again.

    I’ve begun to realize that I need to trust God in the little things, as well as the big things of life. I tend to say… God, you handle this BIG issue, and I’ll take care of the little things, yet that is where I’ve had my greatest struggles. The BIG issue can’t move forward without the little things falling into place.

    One of the areas that has been really affected by little glitches has been trying to build my platform. There are so many pieces to the puzzle and any one of them can trip you up.  It might be a WordPress plugin that doesn’t work right, or a web host that has problems, or an upgrade to a piece of software that blows up. Technology can be real frustrating!

    While technical manuals and online forums help, the real answer has been to turn things off, and simply talk with God. For some reason, I guess I’ve felt that the God of the Bible couldn’t possibly understand computers and certainly not a third level Javascript command. Yet He is where I’ve truly found solutions.

    When I take the time to pray, doors open, and answers appear. I don’t know how this works, but it does. When I go it alone, even the simplest thing can blow up in my face.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I have had this same experience, John. The venue may change, but the principles remain the same. Thanks for sharing.

      • http://www.facebook.com/micky.diaz7 Micky Diaz

         I had the honor of traveling to Colombia on a missions trip in spite of  all the Homeland Security precautions that were made. I’m glad I made the decision to go! It has made a huge difference in my life spiritually and personally.

    • http://twitter.com/wapetticrew Walter Petticrew

       John.  I really can relate to all that you are experiencing.  Like you I have started my own boot-strapped adventure.  All that you have said is so very true.  God bless you.  I have / am learning trust and faith in ALL things yest the little ones like never before.

    • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

      two mottos I live by
      “desperately dependent” and
      “so the lost are saved and the saved are changed”
      I see both in you. Intentional or not. lean in, press on!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      “My days are full of adventure, but my nights are full of fear.” So true. I can fake my way through the day, but at night I must, MUST pray.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Isn’t that the truth, Michele…

  • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

    Such a great story and a fundamentally important topic!
    I’ve always somehow had this desire in me to face my fears. I know this feeling you describe so well. It can actually get addictive to proof your fears wrong. 

    I think your 1st point really is the most important one: “Acknowledge the value”. It reminds me at what I heard a man called Kris Vallotton say once: “Vision gives pain purpose.” 

    No one will ever step beyond their comfort zone and achieve something great if they haven’t caught a vision of what’s on the other side.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I really like that quote: “Vision gives pain purpose.”

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Glad you like it, Michael!

    • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

      I know exactly what you mean about it becoming addictive! There are times when I see something that I know would make me uncomfortable, but then it becomes a challenge to overcome. I love overcoming challenges!

      • http://www.revivallifestyle.com/ Daniel Vogler

        Yes. Life begins where our comfort zone ends. I just don’t want to find myself being 90+ years old, looking back on my life and think: “well, I lived a safe and quiet life, but what could’ve happened if I gave everything and took risk to stand up against that Goliath?…”

  • http://changememe.com/ Louise McGregor

    My father used to say “you need to scare yourself now and again”, so I try to do something a bit scary every year. Even if it’s something not scary to others. This year I navigated a night sail in Greece, it was challenging as it was in busy waters and not all the shore-based lights were turned on (a Greek austerity measure?). I was on such a high when I completed it I couldn’t sleep.

    Now I want to do an open water trip.

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      I like the idea of purposefully setting aside time to do something challenging and scary. What else have you done?

  • johanoden

    We need to live a life without fear. Some fears are good for us, but most of our fears is as you say acquired. So let’s instead listen to Jesus.

    1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 

    Love Johan Odén
    http://www.familyfriendsinternational.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000500906352 Chris Haviaris

    I push myself there regularly.  Never regret it. 

  • http://twitter.com/cupojoegirl Eileen Knowles

    Excellent post.  Last week I shared a rather vulnerable part of my testimony in a guest post.  It scared the heck out me.  But I’m so glad I did it.  God is constantly teaching me and reminding me that growth and life change don’t happen standing still.    Every time I’ve managed to face my fear of failure, I’ve grown in ways I never thought possible. 

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      Awesome, Eileen.

    • http://www.jumpingonclouds.com/ Lori Lara

      Thanks for sharing, Eileen. I completely relate to your ‘discomfort zone’ as I  have recently shared more of my painful story. I know how hard it can be to be vulnerable, but the rewards of helping people realize they’re not alone and there is help for them is the greatest reward of all. Dispelling the awful, unconscious lies that undermine our purpose in life is one of my joyous missions. I’m sure you’ve experienced it. Blessings and continued courage to you.

  • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

    What a great post to start the week. I get really comfortable in my zone sometimes.  I add A/C to it, deck it out with the best accouterments, but I miss so much when I do.

    I especially like the list you provide.  Years ago I learned the power of celebrating small victories…you don’t have to spend much to do that, and it make such an incredible difference for my perspective (and my team).

    You could add to number 7 (Pause to Reflect).  Asking the question: “Who can I share what I have learned with?” can turn the experience in to a conversation with others, driving the lesson home in an even greater manner. 

    • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

      We really do go to great lengths to ensure our comfort sometimes. 

      • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

        That is so true Jeremy. A few months ago I went on a single zip line experience with a men’s group I am a part of. It scared me to death. I can only imagine climbing up a pole like Michael mentioned.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Your last question question is an excellent addition.

      • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

        I agree but sometimes we can scare people into a frozen stupor. The “how” to share is tricky!
        Only need enCOURAGEment when living a risky life!
        Fear can be immobilizing. 

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    Awesome, Eileen.

  • http://twitter.com/taradactyl777 Tara Leck

    just wanted to report that I have been getting your blogs sent to my email for a few weeks now, and I wanted you to know that I am now reading each one, and forwarding.  always fabulous ;)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks so much, Tara.

  • http://jeremystatton.com/ Jeremy Statton

    We really do go to great lengths to ensure our comfort sometimes. 

  • http://twitter.com/taradactyl777 Tara Leck

    just wanted to report that I have been getting your blogs sent to my email for a few weeks now, and I wanted you to know that I am now reading each one, and forwarding.  always fabulous ;)

  • David Harris Sr

    Doing my first triathlon sprint recently pushed me out of my comfort zone, particularly concerning the 400 meter open water swim. In the pool I could just grab the side and take a break when I needed to breathe and rest, but if course thus was not possible out in the middle of the river.

    I dealt with this fear by joining the Waco Triathlon Club that hosted open water swims with. Kayacking lifegaurds available to help swimmers which I certainly took advantage of. I learned through the process that I was very physically able to accomplish my goals, it was my mind and emotions that needed to ovecome and thus is where the group provided great support. I’m am now a bonafide triathlete and looking forward to my next one!

    • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

      Ran my first marathon last weekend! Physical training is good training for dailies. Congratulations.
      The thrill and ease of running 6 fast miles a few days after the thon was a memorable delight. 
      Training changes us for more than a goal.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’ll never forget my first open water swim. The realization that I had nothing to grab onto put me into a quick and unexpected panic. Much to take away from that one…

  • Annie Kate

    Our church has a host family program where we invite visitors and guests over to our homes for coffee or lunch.  Anyone who participates in that meets a lot of new people and blesses them as well. 

    Moving out of our comfort zone shouldn’t be a goal in itself; it should be a by-product of obeying God.  And he has plenty of ‘new’ experiences for each of us.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      Annie, I like your perspective, that getting pushed out of comfort zone is a kind of normal byproduct of walking with God. Makes me want to ask where he is taking me this morning.

      • Annie Kate

        Sometimes things you write just come back to hit you. LOL  

        I asked God today how to be a blessing to the people around me…and at supper my husband, out of the blue, suggested I set up a women’s Bible study in our neighborhood.  Talk about getting out of my comfort zone!

        I’m sure that where he’s taking you will be a good place.  Blessings!

  • Jerry

    Starting a social media marketing company after having been a graphic designer for a newspaper is way out of my comfort zone. I registered idDuluth.com on 2/19/12 not knowing a thing but willing to climb the pole. Still inhibited by fear of failure and self doubt, but driven a guided by faith one step at a time..

    • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

      Good luck as you move forward Jerry. Stepping out is scary but you’ll become empowered the more steps you take. 

  • http://www.beyondthesinnersprayer.wordpress.com/ Barb

    I move out of my comfort zone almost every time I post a blog post. It still hasn’t gotten easy after 80 or so blog posts! Am I glad I moved out? Yes. But I’m looking forward to the day it becomes comfortable.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      100 is just around the corner :)

  • Daniel

    Last Monday evening, I went running. This was the start of a plan to run every Monday evening. Already the second Monday evening (that was tonight), I really didn’t feel like running. I went to surf the internet, checked your blog, and there was this article. Stepping out of the comfort zone, and understanding why it’s so rewarding. 10 minutes later I walked out the door (and my comfort zone) to run, and came home later,  tired but oh so satisfied.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      Nice work, Daniel. Keep it up!

  • http://www.sweetieberry.com Sweetie Berry

    As I have walked out this walk this year I recognize that the ability to let go wrong beliefs and be teachable is far more valuable than any lesson learned.  That sometimes the issue isn’t wrong thinking but wrong audience of who hears the thinking. Eight months ago I had an amazing moment.I was invited to attend and sit in front of a large brand’s decision makers,where my client presented as his own the work, the words, the effort, and the well-rehearsed languaging of work that came from my head  through his mouth and was well received. The trip allowed me a front row seat to my own silliness as he left the experience compensated well, contracted, and I with the knowledge that not only had I not received appropriate pay, I had provided the intel, effort, and on-going strategy that had made the project succeed. …and succumbed to a rhetoric that implied and encouraged me to believe that my work was only standard, not essential (a play brought up each time I raised the question of compensation) You see, folks will let you do whatever it is you’re willing to let them do…and our own scars can prevent us from seeing what is truly happening in our lives without good fellowship and counsel in friendships.There is a price to pay for being a public figure or well known person.  There are many many facets to leading skill-wise personally and professionally. I have prepared winners for over three decades.  There is a cost for not owning your own work.  I was willing to pay the price for so many years just to get the work out… yet in that one moment I recognized the lack of integrity and ungratefulness for the gifts I was given and how just as Jonah ran…I was running. The cost of leading is part of the price of entry any successful person walks in integrity and character…regardless of whether locally or nationally. It’s not about the glory, fame, or honor for me, its simply the message, if I can do it you can too if you’re willing to do the work…and own the learning. It’s time to  me to walk out of the belly of the whale…Thank you Michael for helping me to see that fear faced on every level is the first step to once again aligning my  life with the peace  of being in integrity with myself. The problem with perfect is that the myth that success is an arrival is overshadowing that that success is truly a journey…and each lesson and skill learned reveals a delightful new level to learn.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      This sounds like an amazing break-through, Sweetie. I’m happy for you!

  • http://www.tammyhelfrich.com/ Tammy Helfrich

    I did thr Warrior Dash in June. I have not traditionally been a runner and training and doing the race forced me outside my comfort zone. I was so glad I did it! I ended up doing two more 5ks a few weeks later. It’s good to push yourself and then celebrate it.

  • Sunny Sandhu

    I did my first ever skydive about three weeks ago.  Although it was a tandem jump, the thought of getting into a small propellered aircraft and getting to 10,000 feet only to jump out was still pretty intimidating! I’m not great on rollercoasters, so its never been a fear of heights, more a fear of that feeling you get from falling.  The dive had been booked three days prior, and in that time I had all sorts running through my mind.  Eventually I had drilled it in me that it wasn’t a case of deciding whether to do it, but that I had to do it because I would gain that great feeling of accomplishment from doing it, and I used this as the force to steer me away from the opposing fear: the fear of ducking out and being a failure if I did not.  On the day of the jump my mood had completely changed and I was really excited about the whole thing, although I definitely felt some anxiety on the way up to the jump zone.  This was actually helped by the pilot deciding it would be good for me to experience a 5-second nose dive before I took the plunge!  I dont think I ever felt so alive than in that moment, and it definitely prepared me for the main event. The freefall was spectacular, and I was in awe of the views I took in as we parachuted to the ground.  I think I’ve became a happier person since that day, as it taught me a huge lesson in life, which Michael has explained brilliantly in this article!

  • Dick Savidge

    It seems that moving outside your comfort zone is another way of encouraging one to have a grand adventure.   For me, when I move out of my comfort zone & into an adventure, life starts to go from grey to vivid colors and I start to come alive. 

  • JasonEC

    Excellent article. Now I just have to consider how exactly to get outside my comfort zone.

    After years of avoiding this in many ways and areas, it has become instinctive to say “no” to those “opportunities.” Retraining will be necessary. But it is so true that “the really important stuff happens outside your comfort zone.”

  • Felicia

    As recent as 5 months ago I was challenged to take up an offered promotion. I did not at all believed that I was worthy or could face up to it even though the offer came my way – I did not apply. Stress overwhelmed me, fear set in as I am not ‘qualified’ on paper but do have lots of experience (with help of some short courses) in my field. I accepted the offer, totally just ‘doing it afraid’ as Joyce Meyer would say. I do believe a lot of grace has enveloped me the past 5 months, it is going so well! Many compliments have come my way + towards our team as a whole. I am amazed at myself, not in a proud way at all – this journey challenged me head-on to dare to cross the lines of my colouring book! I am so glad I did! Learning so much along the way and really enjoying it!

  • http://darensirbough.com/ Daren Sirbough

    This is so true!

  • James Stewart

    Thanks for the topic today. Every time I see a heading about getting out of your “comfort zone”, I feel like it is speaking directly to me. Just as Katie mentioned below, something you said is stuck in my brain – “The really important stuff happens outside of your comfort zone”.

  • Njeru Nthigah

    Thank you for another amazing posting. I must first say thank you so very much Michael for your on going labour to keep sharing with me ( us) such valuable nuggets that are not only relevant but applicable in our lives today.
    I live my life everyday outside my comfort zone because I have made growing an intentional and daily pursuit. So I am stretching in every area of my life but I so relate to poing # 4- Don’t over-think it – I struggle with this! I am learning to give it up everyday as I realise just how much it is an exercise in futility.
    I am a victim of point # 6 – Celebrate the victory! I keep zooming on! I will stop to smell the roses and finally I do see that it will also help me take full advantage of point #7 Pause to reflect so that I can grow from my experiences. Thank you for the reminder.

  • http://www.kellycombs.com/ Kelly Combs

    While I don’t need a class for “wealth mastery” at this time (I’m teasing you!) I am having a love/hate relationship with this post.  Love it, because it is very challenging to me – “safety girl.” And that’s the same reason I hate it, because I know you are correct and it is something I need to work through.

    Thanks for always inspiring. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Ha! One of the first things we learned in this course is that wealth has very little to do with money. Sound familiar? I learned some amazing things about the importance and power of gratitude.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I’m a safety girl, too. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to create a predictable, peaceful life. Hasn’t worked so well for me. :)

      • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

        God is really good about disrupting our safe, predictable worlds, isn’t He?

  • http://underthecoverofprayer.wordpress.com/ Jan Cox

    This really impacted me this morning. I have been back from my 4th mission trip to Poland for 5 days. Today as I reflected on my trip I saw how much I had grown – again. From the first time I had travelled by myself to travelling every year by myself – I see amazing confidence. And learning to let go of my agenda – that is a big one. And to continually trust in God.

    Thanks for the post.Blessings and congratulations for “reaching the top of the pole”!Jan

  • iGranny

    Awesome share Mike.  

    For me- no pole in Fiji. My comfort zone was removed from the very ground I walk on when diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2003.  After the new uncertainties became my new norm and less overwhelming our 33 year old son was diagnosed with early onset Parkinson’s Disease. 

    My thirty-foot pole has been replaced by base jumping without a wingsuit.You have just given me the nudge I needed to consider these challenges potential for significance. Been talking to my son about our beginning a blog regarding living life with the assurance of meaning despite chronic progressive disease.I’m now going to lean into it without fear and do it before over thinking which would easily put a stop to the creative juices.Your post today has given me courage.

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      Your voices are needed.

    • http://gailbhyatt.wordpress.com/ Gail Hyatt

      I’m so glad you’re going to do this. It will be beneficial on so many levels. My dad had Parkinson’s and dealt with it very well. Secret for him was taking the minimum amount of meds and exercising every day. My prayers for your son. Much love, Gail

  • MarciaJB

    So apropos to where I am right now. I stepped down from a position where I was too comfortable and am now in a position where everything I do stretches me and takes me out of my comfort zone. I appreciate all your points on how to maximize this process.

  • http://dustinstout.com Dustin W. Stout

    I’ve been moving outside my comfort zone every morning for the past few weeks. I’m not a morning person, but in order to guard family time in the evenings, I had to start waking up early (4am) to get work done. So far, I’ve found that I can actually be extremely productive– even though I hate waking up that early. 

    • Jim Martin

      Dustin, good for you in your willingness to do this to guard your family time.  That speaks volumes about your love and commitment to them.

  • Popaj2911

    I just finished a week speaking at our churches children’s camp. Saying yes to that call was pushing out of my comfort zone. I ministered to children for eleven years and preached on evangelistic mission trips some years ago but have been inactive for a few years. Im learning to trust God at a new level but honestly it’s uncomfortable,but it’s taking me to new level with the Lord that is amazing. I am experiencing a level of growth that I never could imagine. Pushing out of my comfort zone is like taking super spiritual growth pill. WooHooo

  • Cindy

    Recently, it seems like it is occuring daily! Not anyting as noticeable or exhilirating as climbing a 30 foot pole and jumping off of it, although that does sound like fun. Rather, God is reveling deeper things to me about myself, things that need to be refined, dealt with, or surrendered. Exhilirating, not in the sense that the world sees. Outside of my comfort zone and growing, yes. Grateful.

  • http://twitter.com/lornafaith Lorna Faith

    Definitely feel like I’m entering more and more ‘doors of opportunity’ that will mean feeling more pain and discomfort…but like you said that’s where I’ll discover growth, solutions and ultimately fulfillment :)

  • The Referral Diva

    I recently attended Mesmerize Your Audience with Callan Rush and Justin Livingston of Leaders to Luminaries training.  It was billed as a Design and Delivery retreat for workshop leaders, but for me it was a profound personal growth experience that required that I have a good, hard look at the paradigms that had attached to my Ego and that were creating a profound unhappiness in me.  I was reasonably unaware of this unhappiness, but it was perceived, however subtly, by everyone around me and it was keeping me from making a real difference with my audiences.  As you mention in this post, FEAR is the motivator of all unhappiness and it isn’t until we take a moment to notice it and acknowledge it that we are privileged to experience the breakthroughs in life.   This is jut great advice!  THANKS!

    • Jim Martin

      I appreciate your comment.  This sounds like a significant time for you.  I was especially interested in what you said regarding others perceiving your unhappiness/fear.  This was a reminder to me that others often perceive much more than we realize.

  • Rachel Zinzer

    I call it – Living By Faith & Trusting God Completely :)  I moved to Romania for a year to do mission work – Flew to Kenya with a team to encourage villagers – but the one that tops it all – following the leading of the Holy Spirit to leave all behind and move clear across country to marry God’s gift to little ole me!  Whoo Hoo!  A powerful legacy/example to leave to your children… And it is pure joy to see that adventuresome spirit being lived out in them.  I desire to be their biggest cheerleader!  GOD IS FAITHFUL!  CRUSH FEAR THROUGH HIM! 

  • http://www.daddyapproves/ Angus

    It’s funny that we just posted a story on comfort zones this morning too – joining a pilates class. Being that my friend, Andy, and I are dudes, we entered the world of an all women class. It’s been a really cool experience… not to mention, incredible work out! 

    LOVE the “pamper pole” exercise you explained. I did it back in the 90’s and then had to do it again a few years later for another organization. That second time, I was asked to make it more of challenge for myself. I did it blindfolded. It was a crazy great experience – and no, I didn’t catch the trapeze blindfolded – plummeted to the ground like you.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I did some Pilates earlier this year. It was definitely outside my comfort zone. (In fact, I did it specifically to prepare for the pole-climbing experience.) The toughest part was that I was the only male in the class. I was a wimp compared to the women.

  • Rick Carr

    Actually, I need to do it today, so your post is very timely.
    A few months ago, I stepped outside my comfort zone and talked with the program director of a local radio station about promoting a photo project of cancer survivors I’m creating. The visit went well and ended with a clear commitment from the station to participate and help kick off the premiere of the project. I was elated.

    However, there have been other delays in the meantime, and I’ve lost some momentum. It’s time to step out again and move the project forward by contacting local businesses to help support it as well – the goal is to raise $5,000 for a local cancer center.

  • Bonnie Clark

    I’m sure this post has people thinking about what areas in their life require a step of faith.  It may be helpful to keep in mind that starting an unpleasant task is always more difficult than continuing it.

    To build on your idea in #1, I am reminded of a quote from Susan Scott’s book, Fiere Conversations, where she discusses having real (and sometimes difficult) conversations.  I think it holds true for many challenges that take me out of my comfort zone:

    “Why would I subject myself to the conversation?  Because what’s on the other side of your toughest issue is worth it: relief, success, health, freedom from stress, happiness, a high-performing team, a fulfilling personal relationship.”

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Great quote Bonnie.  

    • Jim Martin

      Bonnie, I just saved the quote (from Susan Scott) in Evernote.  A great quote!

  • Susan Park

    I’m not glad I did it yet… my 4 yr old daughter was invited to another litle girl’s birthday party at library story time. This is someone we had no contact with outside of the girls seeing each other at story time. The mom told me she was really shy, and handing out invitations at story time was a big step for her. I am shy too so I sympathized.  We decided to go, and we ended being the only non-family people there. Unfortunately, the rest of the family spoke only Spanish and I felt very awkward the whole time and kind of focused on my 9 month baby and 2 yr old a lot, mostly for something to do. Now I am waiting to see how it goes from here – if the girls connect more at upcoming story times then maybe we will have them over…

    • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

      Susan, I recently had a similar experience.  We took one of our kids to a party and we were the only non family member as well.  I can only imagine how this family enjoyed our visit. 

  • Barby Zuniga Ward

    Michael, I think my biggest challenge is – when are fear and discomfort a red-flag warning to back down, and when are they a challenge to push ahead and overcome? In our case we can be risk-takers – and yet there have been times when we should have backed down and instead pushed ahead “in faith.” Thank God for Romans 8:28 or I don’t know where we would be! It would be great to hear your thoughts on this.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      In my experience, it is rare for fear to be a red flag to back down. I assume that I should press forward unless I get clear direction I shouldn’t.

  • http://www.shannonmilholland.blogspot.com Shannon Milholland

    Mike, love this! Stepping outside our comfort zone is terrifying and exhilarating! Love these lines: “We move toward what we esteem.” & “embrace discomfort.” Those both spoke to me exactly where I am – thank you.

  • http://www.timpeters.org/ Tim Peters

    I recently visited one of my clients in the mountains of Colorado. Each camp attendee MUST climb down a steep rock. I was terrified. Legs shaking in all… I climbed down the rock and was on “cloud 9″. 

  • Krista

    Our family hosted a Japanese student for 3 weeks just recently.  It was quite a stretch for me to have someone else live in my home for an extended time, especially that it was someone from another country, but it blessed me beyond what I expected.  Our 2 daughters fell in love with her as did my husband and I.   We made memories that will last for a lifetime.

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

       Great example, Krista. In terms of life lessons, what was your biggest takeaway?

      • Krista

         Biggest takeaway would be along the lines of #2 and #3 of Michael’s post–I pressed through the discomfort and fear and discovered that not only was it a successful adventure but I also felt a deep sense of satisfaction.  The whole experience was a huge motivator for me to continue stepping outside my comfort zone in future opportunities.

  • http://www.jmlalonde.com Joe Lalonde

    I try to move out of the comfort zone frequently. While I love meeting new people, it’s a struggle for me. So I will force myself to do it. Go up, introduce myself, and see what’s going on. It’s scary but exhilarating.  Going to be doing this in a couple of weeks at a conference I’ll be attending. Let’s see how it goes!

  • http://JaredLatigo.com/ Jared Latigo

    I think most recently I stepped out when I started blogging…and then again when I decided I was going to start submitting pitches for speaking at events. The funny is, they now seem so right. It was weird at first because I’ve been a web designer for so long…and now I’m switching it up. So far, so good and I really think God’s blessing me because I took a (calculated) leap. 

  • Tim Osborn

    Excellent!

    I did the same exercise last year at Father-Daughter camp (JH Ranch).  My challenge? My 14 year volunteered right away and made it on her first attempt. Pressure was on Dad!

    As we talked later about the exercise, we also realized how important it was to be with others also willing to push themselves out of their comfort zone. It’s inspiring. And to know that by giving your best effort you will land with friends cheering wildly even if you didn’t “catch the trapeze” .

    • Jim Martin

      Tim, I like what you stress.  You are right.  There is much to be said for getting out of our comfort zones along with others who are doing the same.

  • Patricia Gonzalez

    This is so very timely for me. Only this morning I was telling the Lord just how much I need His divine guidance in a particular project I am involved in. It is an area that is completely outside of my comfort zone nevertheless, it is something that needs to be done. I have many misgivings about my ability or rather my inability to properly execute what has to be done, but for me to turn away would be to throw away so much that is so important to me.

    I just want to say a very big “THANK YOU’ Michael for your post this morning. I believe that this message is a God send for me. Thank you again.

  • http://www.jaysonfeltner.com/ Jayson Feltner

    This is how trusting God can be some times. It’s a leap from the top of tall pole to a trapeze. All too often we want to be in control. Sometimes, the best thing you can do is let go and get out of control.

    Very Inspiring post Michael. Thank you.

  • Garren

    i have never stepped out of my comfort zone and i mean never. i’ve let fear and my insecurity keep me captive.  my life is boring,useless. i’ve isolated my self and i don’t know how to get and keep friends.  my life is a total loss

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      What would stepping out of your comfort zone make possible for you?

    • http://twitter.com/eccle0412 Jackie Anderson

      Garren, One little step. Just one…take a walk, a block and look around. You were created with purpose. Do ONE thing out of the ordinary for you.

      • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

         I second Jackie’s idea. It doesn’t have to be something huge; small starts are significant.

        • Jim Martin

          Garren, I want to echo what the others have said.  One little step can be huge.  Also, Michael (in his comment) asks a great question: “What would stepping out of your comfort zone make possible for you?”

    • http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com/ Marianne Clements

      You just stepped out of your comfort zone by admitting your fear!  Congratulations!

      You “get” friends by being a friend (reap what you sow).

      Your life is not a total loss unless you are dead — it’s not how you start, but how you finish that matters. 

      Here’s a scripture for you: 

      1John 4 – 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out
      fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect
      in love.

      If you truly believe that God loves you perfectly, you will have no fear and you’ll be able to pursue the desires that He put in your heart.

      Have a Victorious Day!
      Marianne

  • Becky Matson

    Ten feet under water, heart pounding, I ripped the mask from my face.  Water rushed up my nose, and my brain wouldn’t let me take a breath even though the regulator in my mouth was supplying all the oxygen I needed.  I felt claustrophobic.  Kicking to the surface, I ripped the regulator out of my mouth and gasped for air.  Failed again!   I was determined to learn to scuba dive—at age 50.  All the training was going fine, but in order to pass the test, I had to be able to remove my mask under water and put it back on again. I freaked every time the water rushed up my nose.  I had a decision to make.  Should I just quit?  Was it that big of a deal to scuba dive with my husband and kids?  I pushed through the fear and tried again.  And again.  I don’t remember how many times it took, but I did finally master my fear.  I passed the test.  And I now have the memory of the most amazing dive on the Santa Rosa Wall in Cozumel.  I will never forget the sensation of flying as I swam out of one tunnel where the wall dropped off 7000 feet below me!  The whole experience was so other-worldly beautiful it was almost spiritual.  It was worth every single minute it took to conquer my fear.  

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love your narrative. If you have a blog, you should write about this. You have a great start here!

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      I dove the same Santa Rosa Wall a few years ago, Becky, and I concur! Incredible. And absolutely worth all the terror and effort leading up to it!

  • Joespu

    AR & MH, I can not be better, well maybe if we add W.Dyer will be perfect.
    looking for my seminar wirg AR this year, maybe is time for MH to think in a seminar…..

  • Todd

    I did this once upon a time.  They called it the “Pampers Pole” because you just about “fill your pampers” when you reach the top! (It looks a lot farther from the top of the pole than it does from the ground!).  As I shook and tried to gather courage to leap, I remember my wife saying; “You can come down if you want.”  After (successfully I might add) jumping and getting back down to the ground, I told her she wasn’t supposed to tell me to come down – but JUMP with all I had.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Pampers Pole … I love that!  What a great experience to have with your wife!

    • Jim Martin

      Todd, that is funny!  “The Pampers Pole”

  • Rory Tipton

    Awesome article! I am just curious if anyone could share some other ways to get outside our comfort zone? Maybe even some simple, regular ways all of us could do for free and/or in our own community’s.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      What’s something that you’ve wanted to do, but have never made the time to do it?  That’s probably outside of your comfort zone.  

    • http://www.clayproductions.com/ Aaron Johnson

      Rory,
      one that may seem super insignificant, but makes a huge difference for me is to follow the lead of my kids, to simply ask them what they want to do – it’s usually not what I had planned :) One that immediately zaps me out of  my comfort zone involves the sprinkler and a trampoline right after work.

  • http://twitter.com/thensomore Brianna Wasson

    Well, to be honest, speaking forth right here on Michael Hyatt’s blog is a bit uncomfortable for me. :) That, and, my husband and I and our two kids just moved overseas for one year for my husband’s job. We are learning the language, very slowly, and I am finding uncomfortable nearly everywhere I look. Literally, everywhere is uncomfortable and requires effort that I often don’t feel like I have the endurance for. And I am finding myself feeling kind of stripped of all the things I didn’t even realize I fall back on. And I am watching my kids grow in ways that I know they would not if it weren’t for this — the truly uncomfortable. Thanks for this post. Truly.

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Wow, Brianna!  You are definitely leaning in to the experience.  You obviously are motivated by your family’s success.  Great reflection on how it’s helping your kids!  

    • http://www.MicheleCushatt.com/ Michele Cushatt

      Oh, wow. Moving to a new home even in the same country is challenging. But changing cultures and languages? Definitely uncomfortable. I’m glad you chose to speak up here today and share your experience with us, Brianna.

    • Jim Martin

      Brianna, thank you for this post.  I especially appreciate your doing this during a time of such discomfort.  I think there is value in expressing this and choosing to speak out boldly regarding this.

      • http://twitter.com/thensomore Brianna Wasson

        Thank you, all, for the encouragement. I think God is all about pulling me out from the comfortable I know (and have always, always loved). I’m blogging through it, and just last week I wrote a post called “What I know of Comfortable”. Good timing for this post here, I think. God is good like that. (Here’s the post: http://andthensomemore.net/2012/07/22/what-i-know-of-comfortable/ )

  • http://gauraw.com/ Kumar Gauraw

    Thanks for this awesome post. Since I got your Platform book, you have been a continuous inspiration to me. Truly enjoyed your post and thank you for being a role model for me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kumar. I appreciate your kinds words.

  • Eccle0412

    Moved our family of 6 to Nigeria for 6 years. Became home. Back in states now. Ran first marathon last weekend. At 46 I owned it. Training was worth it all. Three of my 5 kiddos witnessed. Along wioth my hubby of 26 years (26 miles)…Next grad school online via Georgetown (as have new foster child to be home for). 
    I, too, need to celebrate more. And document. Everywhere I go people say I should write a book. Jeff G helpful but…got stuff to do!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I love your story. Awesome. Keep pressing and keep inspiring!

    • http://www.thadthoughts.com/ Thad Puckett

      Tell the story in short doses (it’s called blogging), and then mash it all together later as a book!

  • http://www.sarahelisabethwrites.com/ Sarah Elisabeth

    If it’s okay to post a link, I wrote a blog post about my paralyzing fear of heights and what overcoming it in one instance did for me: http://sarahelisabethwrites.com/looking-down-on-fear/

    • http://TillerFamily.org/ John Tiller

      Great article Sarah!  Thanks for sharing it!

  • http://www.wonderwomanimnot.com/ Elizabeth Hill

    Earlier this year we took our kids on a cruise.  One of the excursions my husband and kids wanted to do was ziplining.  Even though I have an insane fear of heights I agreed to do it, stepping outside of my comfort zone.

    I’d like to say I loved it but that would be stretching it a bit.  However I did conquer my fear enough to do the zipline (which the rest of the family loved) and am quite happy I did so.

    • Jim Martin

      Good for you, Elizabeth!  Congratulations on meeting a fear head on.

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  • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

    Right now, pretty much every day is outside the ‘comfort zone’. In making the move to self-employment I have to risk the comforts of the steady paycheck for the rewards of listening to God and aligning with Him as He directs the paths of my life and career. ‘Leaning’ into the process is my favorite thing here. No half-hearted attempts at the calculated risk usually work. 

    • http://www.matthewreedcoaching.com/ Matthew Reed

      Oh yeah, we’re working on a move to a part of the country where I’ve never lived too! 

    • Jim Martin

      Matthew, I like the point you make regarding half-hearted attempts.  So right!  Half-hearted attempts do not work (I know this from experience.)  

      Thanks,

  • http://thegirlinthemiddle.wordpress.com/ Molly_Mac

    Yesterday.

    I shoot sporting events and real estate, but have not done much portrait and a dear friend asked if I would do her daughters Senior pictures.  GULP!  Before I left, I had a total meltdown.  

    It was incredibly silly.  I know what I am doing, I just had never done THAT.  It ended up being great fun, but the 30 minutes before, were not.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500056494 Graham Page

    Thanks Michael.  I had just read this last week and immediately it came to mind after I read your post.  
    http://www.business2community.com/strategy/why-should-you-engage-with-people-outside-of-your-niche-0231675

  • Kathleenmcanearsmith.com

    Designing my own website-crazy? Yet, so many have come to help me and encourage me. When I couldn’t afford good photos- a friend from church HAPPENED to be a professional photographer who has done my photos in exchange for my doing some writing for her- and we are celebrating with lunch this Thursday. Celebrating every step of the way. Thanks for your encouragement to step out…

  • http://talesofwork.com/ kimanzi constable

    A few weeks ago I was speaking in Sydney, Australia. The whole experience of travelling out of the country alone to a place so far away (14 hour flight from L.A.). Then getting there at 6 am and figuring out what to do until I checked into my hotel. I was completely out of my comfort zome! Then after all of that speaking in front of this packed hall at the University of Sydney, realizing they were there to hear from me and having to deal with the doubt of if I was good enough.

    I wouldn’t trade anything in the world for this experience, it was life changing!

  • http://www.VictoryChristianCoaching.com/ Marianne Clements

    Michael,

    I wrote about this subject a while back in reference to snow skiing.  I realized that we will never learn anything new if we don’t get outside our comfort zone.  In other words, we must endure temporary discomfort to achieve long-term victory!

    Have a Victorious Day!
    Marianne

  • http://aianekarla.tumblr.com/ Aiane Karla

    Thank you for this great post! Several years ago, God taught me that He not only wants me to step out my comfort zone to lead a Christ-centered life, He wants me to get rid of it altogether. It was scary at first, especially as a new leader then, but surrendering our comfort zone to God allows us to live and lead with Christ-centered confidence married with prayerful and obedient humility.

  • http://www.changevolunteers.org/ Change Volunteer

    We had on-field training trips in my previous organization, they had motivational and leadership games, this post reminds me of those days. They did make us work out of  our comfort zones. I think more employers should encourage such activities.

  • Singcrazy

    Wonderful post, and what a beautiful quote from Mother Teresa.  However, as I read it, I thought to myself that restlessness — agitation even — is precisely God’s way of spurring me to action.  Moving me from my comfort zone and into His action for me.  Without that restlessness — well, the couch beckons…….  I recognize that I may be atypical, and, of course,  I benefit from every moment of focused silence and waiting upon the Lord.  But a firing of the motor — well, that takes some fire and noise!  (P.S.  Did I mention I’m a singer?  Noise is my, um, language!)

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  • bshannon9

    Hi Michael. I’ve been reading your blog and book! Thank you so much for writing Platform. And for taking the time to provide so much detail. I know that was a huge amount of work and it is really helpful. You’ve done us all a great service.

    As for being outside the comfort zone, I am one of those weird people who spends a lot of time there (rock climbing, just picked up slalom water skiing – ouch!, traveling in unusual ways and places – most recently mountain towns in Ecuador). Still, your post resonated. 

    There are still things that scare me. Like finally deciding to write my book. Like continuing to make a living as a consultant with all its instability. Like still daring to hope that I might find the right guy and actually have a happy relationship. It is great hear your support of such endeavors and to know that it is a right path and not a crazy one. As a wise man once said, “the only thing we have to fear…”warm regards,Barbara

  • http://www.joyjoyg.com/ Joy Groblebe

    I’m going bow hunting for elk this fall…SO out of my comfort zone.  Never shot a bow until about 3 days ago and never been hunting.  Very excited though…bring it on!

  • Gary Thomas

    A few years ago I gave a testimony at our church during a stewardship campaign on getting outside your comfort zone. While I have been very comfortable speaking in front of people for a long time, the one thing that paralyzed me was singing (not in a group) in front of preople. With the help of my music minister I have overcome that fear and you can now find me doing musical community theatre and taking the lead vocals in the praise band.

  • Lesley Tulley

    I have a job interview this afternoon that is pushing me outside of my comfort zone so reading your post today was a mostly timely intervention!  I especially like the list of ways to maximise the experience.  I will read this again just before it starts.  Thank you!

  • David539

    I stepped outside my comfort zone 4 years ago and will never return. I had major health issues due to bring morbidly obese. I went from walking 5 min with oxygen to running a half marathon in two years. I lost in that time frame 242 pounds and found out who I was in Christ. I’m never going back and my big hairy audacious goal is to help other make the first step out of their comfort zone.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Amazing story. Love it!

  • http://twitter.com/WitnessPath Todd Marsha

    I’ve been going outside my comfort for a couple years now and although it’s been scary and difficult each time, my life would be totally different had I shied away from these challenges.

    Going outside my comfort zone has led me to transfer jobs into an area of our business I used to be afraid of, lose 50 pounds, deepen my faith in Christ, start my own blog and now I’m about to organize a charity food drive through my employer. (I’m not the event planning type, at all.)

    I’m living proof of the great things that happen when we navigate uncharted waters.

    Keep up the great work!

  • Nicole Masters

    The past two years Ive lived outside of my comfort zone so much that its got it hard to live in it. It took close to 36 years for God to get me to a place where taking the leap was far more comfortable than sitting atop that pole worrying about falling. I still get far too comfortable at times, but the memories of taking those first steps into the unknown remind me daily that fear can be overcome and that no matter what the outcome, stepping out of your comfort zone leads to a closer walk with God.  And though the things I did where not by most standards risky (traveling to Haiti for mission work, trying out and singing on the worship team when I had never sung before except in the shower, leading studies when I felt incapable and opening myself up in counseling) I know that these small steps are where God shows himself faithful and I learn to depend on him and not my fear for protection.

  • http://twitter.com/MattMcWilliams2 Matt McWilliams

    Crap. Never really. Sigh.

    I see a telephone pole outside my office window. Anyone have a harness?

  • Kathy

    I just climbed Mt. McKinley.  It was the hardest thing physically I could think to do, but I knew I had to do it, because I needed something that would force me to dig deep inside and see what was there.  And it did just that!  Now my challenge is to use what I found inside and gain the courage to end a 30-year marriage and fly solo once again.  That to me is way more scary than physical risk.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Julie-Swihart/100003908965783 Julie Swihart

    I’ve heard it said that maximizing ourselves will always take us out of our comfort zones, but never out of our strengths zones. Makes sense to me.

    I appreciate the point about only needing clarity for the next step. I like to overthink things too, so that’s a helpful tip for me. Thank you!

  • Sherry

    My husband and I seperately went to Uganda, and stayed in the village where we adopted our 3 year old son from.  I have been asking God daily for my next path outside my comfort zone.

  • http://www.brandongilliland.com/ Brandon Gilliland

    That sounds like a lot of fun!

  • Kevin Foody

    Thanks for the reminder that we really grow when we are
    outside of our comfort zone. This is very inspirational. If you are going to ”jump”,”
    jump” with both feet. Then you will find how good you are at swimming. You will
    find there are many people along the way who will help you.

  • JaceyVerdicchio

    In writing my blog, I am tempted to “play it safe” and write about experiences that make me look good.  However, the posts that have the greatest impact on others are the ones where I admit past failures.  It’s uncomfortable to share those things, but so valuable.

  • Rocky

    Great Post! It took me back to my own experience with “the pole”. I quite quickly left my zone of comfort. More recently I have started blogging and it has brought similar feelings. Thanks for the words of advice and encouragement!

  • http://www.exo31artist.blogspot.com/ Tené

    This is a great post Michael! As a matter a fact…tons of your post are great! I am reading a book now called “Imagine” by Jonah Lehrer, and I just finished up a chapter that talked about looking from an Outsiders perspective. It seems that the brain gets stuck when so close to the problem at hand, and solutions come when having an outsiders mentality. I guess the saying “not being able to see the forest for the trees” holds true.  Be blessed!

  • PreachingKen

    My wife and I stepped out of our comfort zone in a huge way about two months ago.  We moved from our home in Sherman, TX where we held a position as youth pastor and assistant pastors.  The church was small in numerical size, so I was bi-vocational. The money I made coupled with my wife’s check made life less pressurized in the area of finances.  Then an opportunity to move to Ohio came about along with a position at another church.  It was a lateral career move as far as positions go, but the church is larger and I would be able to work solely as a youth pastor.  We took the plunge, greatly changing everything we were used to, and we are so glad that we did!  We have had so many uncomfortable new experiences.  But once we have gotten through these, we have found them to lead us to heights and depths in God’s love and will that we had not yet known.  Praise God we can get out of the comfort zone and still rest in His peace.

  • Dukedillard

    I know everyone is supposed to be positive and anyone who says anything negative is a hater and easily dismissed. So be it. 
    Does nobody else see the irony of this post in which getting out of your comfort zone means spending thousands of dollars to go stay in an exclusive 5-star resort, stand on a pole, and listen to new age speakers talk about health and wealth coming 4 days after the post on going to Ethiopia seeing hope and joy in the midst of real poverty and being transformed? Michael is great and his stuff is great, but this is a little much to bear. The lessons learned in Ethiopia seem to be totally opposite from at least what Tony Robbins’ website claims to teach. Tony Robbins’ site (linked above):”You will get yourself into your ultimate, peak condition and then… learn the principles of wealth that will transform your finances.””Connect your mind, body and spirit with Dr. Deepak Chopra””Today, more than ever, you need Wealth Mastery, a 3-day program designed to teach you how to create, and maintain, cash flow for financial freedom.””At LIFE & WEALTH MASTERY, you can handle your health and your wealth during one week in paradise.”Ethiopia post:”Max was so moved by her story—and how much she still lacked—he asked, “Wosne, if you could have anything else, what would it be? How can we help you?”Her answer stunned us.“Nothing,” she declared. “Nothing at all. I have everything I need. I am the happiest woman in the world.” And she meant it.Several of us started weeping. In the space of thirty minutes, our entire worldview was turned on its head.”Again, I truly appreciate Michael and have been helped immensely by his writing as well as his work at Thomas Nelson. Michael can do whatever he wants with his money. I’m sure he gives lots away. That is not the issue. And the message is decent- stretch yourself. But the contrast here is glaring, especially coming so close together. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for your concern. I don’t mean to be defensive, but you don’t know the circumstances of our going, what we agreed with or disagreed with, and what we concluded, other than what I wrote here. You are making a lot of assumptions.
      May I suggest that you take the posts at face-value? Perhaps it would be helpful to focus on the similarities rather than the differences.

      • Dukedillard

        Michael, thank you for responding. May the grace and discernment of Christ guide you in all the many opportunities you have.

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  • http://www.COMMIT-TO-BELIEVE.com/ Kevin James Richardson

    Mike… It’s interesting that you would ask such a question regarding this “walk on the wild side” of stepping outside one’s comfort zone. I find myself doing it daily and the rewards are off the charts every single time! Gone, as a result, is the fear of falling – but only flying to points only imagined and soaring there in a place that most folks will fail to achieve because their fear is greater than their love. It’s an interesting dynamic when you think about it at its core value. Taking these self-imposed daily leaps of faith become the necessary elements of not only mental confidence building in your ability to achieve, but also where it matters most – deep inside your soul where your spirit powers all that you are. Love reading your stuff Mike! Keep it up!! 

  • http://twitter.com/ivanhispano Iván Pérez

     Very motivating. ¡Thanks!

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  • Darlene Stickel

    I
    was laid off after working for Hewlett
    Packard for over ten years so I
    went back to school and earned a Master of Science in Management and
    Organizational Leadership.  Not only did I do this at age 58 but my
    classmates were all 20-somethings whose attention, work ethic and desire to
    succeed were far different than my own.  I had many, many takeaways and
    earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.  Sometimes it’s good to  s-t-r-e-t-c-h
     yourself. 

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  • Mary Aalgaard

    Just this week. I went on my first motorcycle ride from central Minnesota to Yellowstone National Park with a stop in Sturgis, SD on the way home. Way beyond what I ever thought I could do. I was a passenger, not the “driver,” but it was still a huge accomplishment for me. It’s on my blog Ride off the Page! Thanks for this great post. I’m riding out of my comfort zone, one mile at a time.

  • http://twitter.com/scgandhi Sunil Gandhi

    I agree fully. We under perform just because we want to remain in our comfort zone. Either regular trips outside comfort zone or expand yr comfort zone.  

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  • stephsday

    I agree w/ your synopsis. It’s so important to get outside of our comfort zones…so that we can learn, grow, stretch beyond what we know and what we think we can accomplish.

    Can you tell us more about your experience at the Tony Robbins’ event? Perhaps your top 10 takeaways?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      I may post on that in the future. Thanks.

  • Ivelisse

    Wao!!! I lived that experience many years ago as part of work training . Reading this article made me realize how many challenges I have accomplished . Sitting here watching my daughter’s volleyball game with a new vision. As the game continues they have to move from their current position and prepare to change their strategy. A difficult opponent is tough but you have to give your best.
    Every day we face obstacles that moves Us from our comfort zone and sometimes we try to fix things with our own strength. Maybe it’s time for a reflection and step out to the new things and success we can accomplish. Have a wonderful weekend!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/BukowskiLynn Lynnette Bukowski

    Wow! At a recent UPW Conference in July I enrolled in the Mastery University, which means I’m headed to Fiji in March.  After I finished the first sentence of your post I thought, seriously? And then… since I walked on “fire” I had to acknowledge this might be in a some realm of possibility. Still, I was suddenly scared to death just sitting at a computer keyboard. Then I read further and breathed a huge sigh of relief that a harness is involved. Great, great post and reminder that I better get used to breaking through my imagined fears. Yes!

  • http://twitter.com/BukowskiLynn Lynnette Bukowski

     Wow! At a recent UPW Conference in July I enrolled in the Mastery University, which means I’m headed to Fiji in March.  After I finished the first sentence of your post I thought, seriously? And then… since I walked on “fire” I had to acknowledge that climbing a 30 ft pole might be in a some realm of possibility. Still, I was suddenly scared to death just sitting at a computer keyboard. Then I read further and breathed a huge sigh of relief that a harness is involved. Great, great post and reminder that I better get used to breaking through my imagined fears. Yes! Yes! Yes!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      You’ll love it! It is nothing to be scared of. Trust me. My wife did it too.

  • Michael Culver

    Really enjoyed the post. Did you come up short or over shoot the trapeze? I’m curious if after overcoming the adversity of climbing the pole, you’d have jumped right back in line to get another shot at the jump

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      No, I grabbed it dead-on, but it was wet from other people’s sweaty hands. I even had gloves on, but I slipped right off.

  • http://twitter.com/erintarr Erin Tarr

    Heading to Liberia,Africa in january … my first time out of the US  ever.  I will be applying these guidelines!  http://www.erintarr.com

  • NoelHabashy

    Thanks for the continued encouragement.  I’ve been spending the past year trying to do one new thing each day.  Some things have been bigger (like running my first half marathon or doing a ride-along with a police officer) and others have been more common place (like discovering a new musician, making yogurt for the first time, visiting a new place, or driving through a flooded road).  In the midst of some significant life transition and seeking what’s next in store, it’s been a great learning opportunity and chance to try things that have previously laid dormant in the land of “I really ought to try that some time.”  

    Feel free to investigate my daily adventures and what I’m learning in the process: http://theadventuretoday.com

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  • Eugene Wengerd

    Oh my gosh love the post! i’m adrenailine junkie and skydiving was prob one of the best things i’ve ever done! time and time again it reminds me to be ALL IN! I love what you’re doing, thanks! 

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  • Doug Watsabaugh

    Great article – I especially appreciate point #4 – for me, the more I over-think, the more likely I am to be frozen by my fear! I recently blogged about the rewards hidden in risk!
    http://wcwpartners.com/inspirational/risk-rewards/#

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  • http://www.jonathanavilaoficial.com/ Jonathan Avila

    It’s been a while since I got out of my comfort zone in such a big way. Maybe 3 years ago when I moved from California to Texas.
    My question for evryone here is how often should you get out of your comfort zone? Should we live life adventurously every day?

  • Fmclaughlin149

    Your article was timely!  I tried paddle boarding for the first time last Friday afternoon…on a very sunny day but a choppy water day.  Definitely had to jump on (the board) and then jump off with both feet. Lots of fun and laughs. I find when I do something new and physical (somersaulting down a hill with my daughter, jumping on a trampoline), I feel years younger than 46 and 11/12.

  • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    I would say that only she can decide.

    • http://liefdesverdriettips.com/terug-bij-je-ex-door-facebook-2 ellen

      How could you decide? I have this myself too. If I want to start a business for myself but I think I am not very good at certain parts of running a business. Is this comfort zone or just good self knowledge. Not everyone is suited to be good at everything. This gut feeling of fear or being doubtful can be an indication of not doing it. RIght? But how can I distinguish this, both for myself and others around me.

      • Sparkpaw

        You could always try seeking out a psychologist. They aren’t just for the crazy. You can spill some of your biggest concerns and fears, and ask them to help you out. They could do it easily in one session, which shouldn’t cost too much, assuming you don’t live in a big city. That’s what I am currently doing. :)

  • Sparkpaw

    Just tonight I went and rock climbed (on a human- built rock wall) for the first time. I couldn’t get myself above eight feet for my fear, but I had so much fun anyways. I fell a couple times, but I was caught with the harness, and so the fear is starting to go away. I plan to go rock climb every week now with a friend, perhaps one day I can go all the way up. However, I need some advice. I am currently a sophomore in College, and my current major is Biology with a Psychology minor. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a veterinarian, but more recently I have decided Animal Training was what I really wanted. However, I’m beginning to wonder if I even want that. I love animals, and if someone just offered me the job in one of those fields, I’d jump at the chance… however, I also love to do artwork. I love to draw (animals), and I do that as often as I can. I have come to understand that art is my passion, but I’m terrified to make it my career choice. I’m not big on being financially stable, as long as I am able to eat and live, I’ll be ok, as long as I do what I love. But I guess, I’m not sure how I can know which one is right for me. My parents want me to be a vet, more money, more success. But my biology courses are so tough and mundane at the same time- I’ll push aside my homework in those in order to do artwork- and I don’t even need to do the art, I just want to. So how can you tell the difference between being afraid because it’s right, or being afraid because it’s wrong? And if any of this made no sense, I’ll be more than glad to explain a little better. :)

  • Kelly D.

    I left a 16 year business relationship.  I should have left years earlier, but I was afraid I would not be able to re-create the success and business I had helped build.  It was my husbands brush with death that ultimately gave me clarity into what was important, taking care of my family.  Going to work with a new group was way out of my comfort zone.  But it became the best decision of my life, not only for me personally (take a leap of faith and the net will appear), but because I forged a much more successful business relationship that has grown my income and given me the flexible time to take care of my husband.

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  • http://rise365.com/ Michael Good

    For me, it was quitting my job the end of 2011 and starting a business. Best thing ever! Scary, but best thing ever!

  • Julie

    OK, I went to Divinity School. At age 53, after never thinking I could do this kind of thing.  Three years of graduate study.  And, suburban white woman that I am, I went to Howard University, where I was surrounded by wonderful African-American folks.  This was not comfortable. But it was wildly rewarding.  I will cherish my days there and my friends for ever. God has so blessed me!
     

  • VinnyC

    I performed, singing, while a musician friend played three of my songs. We’d gone over them only once, some hour earlier. It was a garden concert with all the folks from my songwriting group there, most of whom had never heard me perform.  What made it easy was this: I never gave myself over to thinking much about it. Free of the guitar due to a broken arm, I was able to concentrate on the singing like never before. It became a revelation: maybe I should only sing when I’m on stage.

  • http://twitter.com/sweetl_lychee sweet lychee

    Tip #6 is my favorite. Thank you reminding me how important it is to acknowledge taking a risk & embracing this change. This tiny act creates a ripple effect & encourages me to continue stepping outside of my comfort zone

  • Happy!

    I accepted a new job that I was very insecure about, but decide that with the right leadership, I could do it. That was almost 6 years ago.  I went from making $11/hr to $20 an hour!!  All because I finally decided that it was time to step out of my comfort zone. It is not easy, but it’s worth the leap!! I’m happy I did it!

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  • S S Lewis

    Thank you for this article. I know I need to get out of my comfort zone. I see as long as I stay in it, I won’t grow. Christians need to grow! We are the branches attached to the vine and it grows. I don’t want to be prund off the vine because of fear. Think I’ll face my fears from now on. No telling what my Heavenly Father “had” and “has” for me to do. I don’t want to miss out on anthing He has planned for me. Thank you for your encouraging and challenging message.

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  • Katrina

    Any recommended good books around stepping outside your comfort zone?

    • http://alidavies.com/ Ali Davies

      Katrina, you might find “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg an interesting read. As most behaviour is driven by deeply estbalished habits, it offers interesting insights into how we can start deconstructing what keeps us stuck in habits that no longer serve us and building new habits.

  • Barry Devlin

    Starting a business dependent on the internet forced me – an extrovert, relationship-driven and instinctive, intuitive salesman – to learn about coding, analytics and all those things I’ve spent years deriding. Taking my brain way outside it’s comfort zone!!

  • Deborah H. Bateman

    Thanks for sharing this post. I don’t know if I could climb that pole, that’s way out of my comfort zone. One of the hardest things for me has been public speaking. I have struggled with speaking in public since I was in school and had to do book reports in front of the class. It is one of the things that I’m trying to as you say, “lean into,” but it’s not easy for me. I’ve spoken a few times to the ladies at my church. For some reason it makes me really nervous. I have tried doing some teleseminars and that doesn’t seem to be as hard for me as standing up in front of a group. I’m gradually moving in that direction and hope God will help me and give me the courage and strength I need to do it. I may just have to jump in head first and as Esther said, “if I perish, I perish.”
    Blessings,
    Deborah

  • Gavin Nembhard

    swimming in the sea is out of my comfort zone..

  • http://daybreakrun.com/ JoeFilipowicz

    I always paid lip service to this. Yup, get outside my comfort zone. It’s good for me. Yada, yada, yada…. However, I never really saw the value in this, for real, until I my family moved 1,200 miles from my hometown of 40 years. Walking away from everything that was familiar. It was the hardest thing I ever done, but the most rewarding by far. I’ve never felt so alive.