Ask Celes – How Do You Get Yourself Out of Your Comfort Zone?

Ask Celes

How do you get yourself out of [your] comfort zone? ~ Wanxuan

Methodologically, getting out of your comfort zone entails doing whatever it is that makes you uncomfortable.

This means doing things that you resist, hate, or even fear. As long as you do that, you will naturally expand your comfort zone.

However, for someone to want to push him/herself out of his/her comfort zone constantly, to always be in the face of discomfort, uncertainty, and resistance, AND be okay with that, there needs be a reason, a spark, a fuel, to drive him/her forward despite resistances. This reason can be a passion he/she is trying to pursue or a vision he/she is trying to realize.

Knowing this reason is actually more important than learning tips and strategies to expand one’s comfort zone, because once you are driven by a vision bigger than you and a force bigger than any other, you will naturally do whatever it takes, including grotesquely expand your comfort zone, to achieve that vision.

For example, I have long been driven by my passion to help others grow. This passion has led me to quit a well-paying job in 2008 (at the start of a financial crisis no less), start up my business from a place of zero knowledge and credibility, unabashedly pitch collaboration ideas to others, be publicly featured in the media, public speak in front of masses (as someone who is a natural introvert), network with strangers, and lay out my life, of all its ups and downs, transparently on my blog.

All these are not activities that I would normally do. All these activities used to be way outside my comfort zone (until I did them and made them part of my comfort zone). In fact, it was not too long ago when I had little interest in entrepreneurship, public speaking, getting media coverage, networking, etc.

Yet, I did those activities, am doing them today, and will continue to do them on a larger scale, because they are necessary to realize my bigger vision of creating a united world. At the end of the day, I want to reach out to all seven billion people in the world and enable everyone to achieve his/her highest potential in life, and I will never stop until that happens.

If it means having to do the most painful and most uncomfortable of things, then so be it—I will do them. If it means having to stretch my comfort zone to the infinite maximum level, then that is exactly what I will do. I will cross whatever the chasms are between me and my vision and make it happen.

Directing this back to you, what is your passion or goal? What is the vision you want to achieve? What is the end objective you want to attain?

If you can identify what is it that you want to pursue, what is that vision you want to achieve, and what is the end objective you want to realize, you can then use that to fuel you in your growth. By letting yourself be inspired by what you want/love to do, you will naturally be okay with doing the things you dislike/resist/hate/fear to realize your dream. You will simply step out of your comfort zone and make things happen. This is a far superior and sustainable approach than blindly pushing against fear for the sake of it.

As for specific tips and strategies to nudge yourself out of your comfort zone, here’s what I have to share:

  1. Move towards your fear (rather than away from it). This means if you feel fearful about something, then feel the fear, and boldly do it anyway. Your fear dictates the things that lie outside of your comfort zone. By stepping into the emotion of fear, you are literally expanding your comfort zone. Read: How To Overcome Fear (3 part series)
  2. Take actions different from what you normally do. Every little thing you do that is a deviation from your usual routine is one step outside of your comfort zone. For example, try a different route to work. Order a different dish from your favorite restaurant. Speak to that colleague whom you normally would not talk to. Email that guy/girl you like to say hi. ;)
  3. Fall in love with discomfort. The whole essence of moving out of one’s comfort zone is about learning be okay with being uncomfortable. Better yet, learn to love to be uncomfortable. Whenever I feel uncomfortable (cue: tingling of spider senses), I know it’s a good thing because it means that I’m growing. I don’t resist that feeling of discomfort; rather, I embrace it.
  4. Constantly try new things. Make a point to try something new every week. It can be as simple as reading a new book, trying rock climbing, or something. I’m always open to doing different things, as long as they fall within my personal agenda. In fact as a personal principle, I will always give something at least one shot too before I write it off. This is how I came to be a vegan actually—in January 2008, I gave vegetarianism a shot for 30 days just to see how it’s like, and ended up liking it so much that I remained a vegetarian thereafter. I then transited to veganism after a few years.

Related resources to check out:

  1. Day 2: Design Your Ideal Life of Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program— The ideal life which will be the driving force behind your relentless efforts, including breaking out of your comfort zone (again and again)
  2. Day 24: Expand Your Comfort Zone of Live a Better Life in 30 Days Program — Where I challenge participants to do at least three things that lie outside their comfort zones
  3. Blind Spots In Personal Growth— Knowing your blind spots and addressing them is part of expanding your comfort zone

And here’s a quote I’d like to end off with:

Inspirational Quote: “Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compasses towards growth.” ~ Celestine Chua

More fear quotes at Personal Excellence Quotes

This is part of the Ask Celes section. If you have a question to ask me, proceed to the Ask Celes page. Check out past Ask Celes questions here.

  • squiggle

    Celes, sometimes I am absolutely awestruck by how the universe seems to make everything fall into place, to introduce to me the exact knowledge I need to have at a particular time!!

    I’m currently facing a situation in which I can either pursue a core value of mine, with the cost being lots of fear, uncertainty and discomfort – or run away, leaving behind some wonderful opportunities but not having to face up to my insecurities. I had already decided which course of action to take – the first one – but was still so fearful and so scared of what could change. You’ve told me to embrace that feeling, to see it as a pointer towards growth and development. I know I’ve made the right choice, and I am feeling a little more secure in it now. So thank you, so much :hug:

    • Celes

      You are very welcome squiggle! I’m so glad that this Q&A has helped for you. :D

  • wanxuan

    Hi Celes,

    I’m glad my question made it to the “answered” list :) After returning from New Zealand, my heart, body and soul are still in vacation mode oops O_O I find myself getting easily distracted and reminiscing about vacation and comfort. Time to get over this vacation hangover and roll up my sleeves to work :)

    • Celes

      Hi Wanxuan! I hope you found the answer helpful. Thanks a lot for submitting your question to the Ask Celes section. :) Welcome back from New Zealand too by the way!

  • Migs

    I’m always out of my comfort zone. I wonder what it’s like to be in it. -Migs

    • Celes

      Everyone has a comfort and discomfort zone; it’s about being aware of them. What we normally do or are predisposed to do can be considered as our comfort zones. In your case, your comfort zone is probably to constantly do things that are uncomfortable to you. That’s actually quite a good switch/reframe as this mindset automatically pushes you to do more than you would normally have in the past. It’s the same way for me—after I embraced discomfort as a good thing, I now openly embrace uncomfortable tasks (if they ladder up to my vision). The pick-up artist challenge is a good example of how I gamely embraced something I was uncomfortable with; I really liked how it turned out in the end as I took away some useful lessons for myself.

  • Christina

    Hi Celes,

    Thank you for sharing your answers! I especially like your response to moving out of your comfort zone. Desire is so closely linked to fear, so I love the idea of connecting to the desire rather than the fear to take action. Very inspiring!


  • Allison Foster

    What should I do or How should I start to be a writer. That is what I want to do besides teach the children. I do feel like that I am in my comfort zone and an never get out of it but I do want to get out of it.

    • Celes

      What do you need to do to start being a writer, Allison?

    • Allison Foster

      I am in the process of writing a book and feeling out applications. I think that I need to stop procrastinating and work on my book and get a job as a teacher.

  • Tom Dowd

    I would describe myself as painfully shy and introverted. I didn’t know where my comfort zone was. I joined Toastmasters International, which gave me a boost in confidence. The change in confidence gave me the drive and desire to push myself further. I entered some speech contests, and had some success, and started a self-initiated professional development program to help people find their own comfort zone. I became a mentor and I found mentors. Too many of us are trying to survive. I’ve learned to thrive. My support system has grown, my confidence has grown, and more success has followed close behind. I am now teaching others based on my own lessons learned. I’ve written two books on the subject (“The Transformation of a Doubting Thomas: Growing from a Cynic to a Professional in the Corporate World” and “From Fear to Success: A Practical Public-speaking Guide) and have become a member of the National Speakers Association. I tell you this, not in self-promotion, but in a scream from the hilltops that if I can do it, so can so many other who maintain the status quo.

  • sina

    Hi Celes,

    Thank you for sharing your answers! I want to create a blog. I am iranian. Can I translate your excellent articles in persion?!


    • Celes

      Hey sina! That wouldn’t be necessary as there is already a translator tool on PE (it can be found at the sidebar). You are welcome to distribute the articles as long as you provide credit and link back to the original article on PE; there’s no need to inform me or ask for my permission. (By the way, if you have other questions, please refer to my contact page. Would like to keep the comments page on topic. Thanks!)

  • Kenneth Vogt

    Fear is a coward. Face it down and it runs. We just have to get accustomed to doing it. Like anything, a new behavior takes repetition. Get in the habit of escaping your comfort zone and you will find it more and more “comfortable”.

  • v.vijayamohan

    You are very right. Getting out of the comfort zone is perhaps the first requisite for any great success.

  • akshay

    I relieze I’m new to this post. Kinda late. Just hope I get a response of a sort..
    I’m struggling I’m college, not because I’m ‘dumb’ but because of lack of drive. I procasinate to much. I worry about little things that I shouldn’t and feel like it’s due to my jokablr self esstem.
    Any tips or any ideas on how I can fix that before I get to far into my college life. I dont wanna incest to much money if I’m Just going to fail. But I also know how much a degree means I’m my future.. I relieze the value. Just don’t ever out 100% into it.