We all have comfort zones.
Those areas in your life where you can be on auto-pilot. Where you don’t have to think twice about what you are doing or how to handle a situation.
If you are a “creative” then you cannot afford to live in your comfort zone for very long. When you do, your talent withers, your customers vanish.
If you are comfortable, you are not creating something new. Where you are comfortable, you are in territory that you already know, territory that is familiar.
This is not the place where you find your muse, that sometimes elusive source of creativity. You need to get out of your zone whenever you can.
Here are five things you can do to kick yourself out of your comfort zone…
Identify and face your fears
What do you fear? What are the things that keep you up late at night worrying about? If you don’t face these things they will continue to weigh you down and keep you from becoming who you need to become.
While these Fear Dragons look big, they are usually a lot smaller than you make them out to be. Learn to become a Dragon Slayer and kill those fears.
Start taking risks
As you go through your day, what are the things that stop you in your tracks? What makes you flinch? When you get that feeling, take a mental snapshot of the situation.
Later, when you are in a safe, relaxed location ask yourself what was it about that situation that made you flinch? Why did you stop? What could you have done if you didn’t stop? There is a free book that does a great job of teaching you to deal with The Flinch.
Explore the unknown
Do something new. Find a resturaunt that serves a food that you have never tried before. Try sushi. Try Lebonese food. Try Morrocan food. Try Thai.
Go to a nearby city that you have never been to before and look around. Get out of the city and take a drive in the country. Figure out what you normally do on a Saturday and do the exact opposite.
Reach out to new people
Meet someone new. Following a new person on Twitter does not count! Take a walk and say “Hi” to the people you see. Take public transportation and get to know the person that sits next to you.
If you are a blogger, reach out to other bloggers in your niche and ask them what you might be able to do for them, with no expectation of personal gain.
Keep an eye on this blog for a big event next week where I am stepping way out of my comfort zone!
Take action on something you’ve been procrastanating on.
You can’t steer a parked car. Make a list of the top three things that would be beneficial to you, but you have been putting off getting them started. Ask yourself why you have been waiting to get started on each of these tasks.
Figure out what is the absolute worst possible outcome. If it doesn’t lead to death or dismemberment, then understand that the worst outcome rarely manifests itself. Most often things turn out positive or neutral.
Take the number one item on your list and break it down into small 15 minutes tasks. Schedule one of these tasks into your calendar each day for the next week.
By the end of the week you will have a great start on that task and it will be much less scary than it was before you started.
Growth comes outside the zone. It is only when you are out of your comfort zone that you are truly in a position to be creative. By changing your context you can change what you create.
When you change the perspective of your surroundings, you can get a new perspective on your art.