Everyone feels familiarity, safety and security within their individual comfort zones. Our daily routines and patterns help stabilize our emotions and thwart feelings of anxiety and worry. To grow and transform, however, we must step outside of our comfort zones. Dale Carnegie said, “Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”
Here are six ways to step outside of your comfort zone to be more successful.
Practice public speaking. Public speaking is still Americans’ greatest phobia according to the Chapman University study on fears. In fact, speaking in front of an audience is so feared, its formal phobic name is Glossophobia. Truth be told, the only way to overcome this fear is to learn a tried and true technique for public speaking. I recommend the Dale Carnegie Course, which has enabled nearly 8 million people to master public speaking worldwide.
Reconsider unplugging. Emails, phone notifications and other interruptions disrupt time with our friends and family which can add anxiety and steal precious moments. In fact, when Time polled more than 5,000 people, 84% said that they could not go a single day without their cell phones, and 20% said they check them once or more every 20 minutes. Try this experiment—schedule twenty minute blocks of screen-free time every day for two weeks. Slowly increase total minutes after two weeks and at the end of one month, check in with yourself to see if you’ve gained better focus after being unplugged.
Accept a compliment correctly. Dale Carnegie’s 2nd Human Relations principle, ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation,’ is much easier for some than accepting a compliment. Often times, people respond to compliments by babbling or retort with a self-deprecating response. Instead, respond confidently with, “Thank you.”
Inquire. Sometimes, we refrain from asking questions to avoid appearing ignorant. Carrying on conversations without understanding, however, causes us to feel uncomfortable. Dale Carnegie’s 8th principle, ‘Talk in terms of the other person’s interests,’ can only be accomplished when we’re confident enough to ask clarifying questions. The next time you feel uncertain about what is being said, ask questions and watch your comfort levels soar.
Share constructive criticism. Providing lackluster feedback on someone’s performance can feel awkward because we don’t want to hurt their feelings. At the same time, as leaders and caring colleagues, when this duty calls, we must answer. Methods for sharing constructive criticism in a caring and confident manner are taught in the Dale Carnegie Course. If you hope to promote to management, this is one skill you should definitely master.
Exercise. Whether you wish to lose weight, grow your confidence levels, improve your memory and/or strengthen your thinking skills, exercise is the way to go. Exercise helps improve mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety. When there is an imbalance in any of these areas, we experience a cognitive impairment, so start exercising regularly if you don’t already.