How to get out of your comfort zone and into your "growth zone". (2023)

How to get out of your comfort zone and into your "growth zone". (1)Life is full of opportunities to get out of your comfort zone, but accepting them can be difficult.

Sometimes the problem is not being aware of the reasons. After all, if being comfortable means having our most basic needs met, then why would we try to give it up?

What holds people back most of the time is their way of thinking rather than a clear lack of knowledge.

This article discusses the shifts in thinking needed to get out of comfort and into personal growth. Along the way, we outline helpful tools, tactics, and examples to make getting out of your comfort zone as rewarding as possible.

Before we go any further, we thought you might want to do thisDownload our three goal achievement exercises for free. These detailed, science-backed exercises will help you or your clients establish achievable goals and master techniques for lasting behavior change.

This article contains:

  • What is the comfort zone in psychology?
  • From the comfort zone to the growth zone
  • Benefits of leaving the comfort zone: 4 examples
  • 4 tips to help you get out of your comfort zone
  • 7 ways to get out of your comfort zone
  • 10 inspirational quotes
  • Helpful Tools from
  • A message to take home
  • references

What is the comfort zone in psychology?

Now firmly anchored in cultural discourse, the metaphor of "leaving your comfort zone" became popular in the 1990s. The term "comfort zone" was coined by management thinker Judith Bardwick in her 1991 articleDanger in the comfort zone:

"The comfort zone is a behavioral state in which a person operates in a fear-neutral state and uses a limited set of behaviors to achieve a consistent level of performance, usually without a sense of risk."

Within the comfort zone, there are not many incentives for people to reach new heights of performance. Here, people go through routines without risk, causing their progress to stagnate.

But the concept goes back further into the world of behavioral psychology.

In 1907 Robert Yerkes and John Dodson conducted one of the first experiments to shed light on the link between anxiety and achievement.

They found that the mice became more motivated to complete mazes when they were given electrical shocks of increasing intensity, but only up to a point. Above a certain threshold, they began to hide instead of appearing.

Similar behavior has been observed in humans. This makes sense because the options will be to fight (meet the challenge), flee (flee/hide), or freeze (freeze) in response to fear-provoking stimuli.

The Yerkes-Dodson law (Yerkes & Dodson, 1907) applies not only to more specific types of performance, such as B. obtaining a stressful new task at work, but also to many areas of life, such as self-image, relationship with others and soon.

The central idea is that our nervous system has a Goldilocks arousal zone. Too little and you stay in the comfort zone where boredom sets in. But too much, and you get into the "panic" zone, which also slows down progress:

How to get out of your comfort zone and into your "growth zone". (2)

From the comfort zone to the growth zone

When leaving the comfort zone, fear does not always equate to the panic zone. As the diagram below shows, fear can be a necessary step on the path to learning and growth zones:

How to get out of your comfort zone and into your "growth zone". (3)– ‘Get out of the comfort zone

(Video) Growth Zone | How To Leave The Comfort Zone

It takes courage to get out of the comfort zone and enter the fear zone. Without a clear roadmap, there is no way to build on past experience. This can trigger anxiety. However, if you persevere long enough, you will enter the Learning Zone, where you will gain new skills and be imaginative in solving challenges.

After a learning period, a new comfort zone is created that expands the ability to reach even greater heights. That's what it means to be in the growth zone.

It's important to note that, like most behavior change attempts, without some level of self-awareness, getting into the growth zone becomes more difficult. Therefore, it may be beneficial for clients to consider the following:

  • How big are your zones?
    In any area of ​​life, everyone's zones vary in size. To get out of your comfort zone, you need to appreciate your outer limits. You also need to develop an intuitive sense of where your panic zone is. Taking on challenges that fall somewhere in between will challenge you and lead to growth and learning.
  • What are your strengths?
    Understanding and using personal strengths can be of great benefit. Most people have had the experience of stepping out of their comfort zone in at least one area of ​​life, and usually many lessons can be learned from that experience.

In reality, the process of moving from a comfort zone to a growth zone may not be linear. Peaks, valleys and plateaus often make the journey difficult. Sometimes we even have to withdraw into our comfort zone on a regular basis before we can find the strength to get out of it again. Still, appreciating the steps can help you tolerate uncertainties.

While staying in your comfort zone, it's tempting to feel safe, in control, and that the environment is balanced. It is smooth sailing.

However, the best sailors are not born in calm waters.

We'll explore some of the powerful benefits of getting out of your comfort zone in the next section.

Benefits of leaving the comfort zone: 4 examples

Performance gains aside, there are far fewer direct benefits to getting out of your comfort zone. A full list would require a separate article, so here are four top-tier, generally applicable examples.

1. Self-actualization

For many,Self realisationacts as a strong incentive to get out of the comfort zone. The concept was popularized by Abraham Maslow's (1943) theory of human motivation, which he described as follows: "What a man can be, he must be. We can call this need self-actualization.

How to get out of your comfort zone and into your "growth zone". (4)

Maslow's hierarchy of needs works like a ladder, with the satisfaction of our "basic" and "psychological" needs equivalent to inhabiting our comfort zone. But whether we are aware of it or not, the theory holds that our next requirement is personal growth and fulfillment.

As long as the decision to leave the comfort zone aligns with a person's values, this change is equivalent to an attempt at self-actualization. Why is that important? On the one hand, not striving to grow could mean falling into a state of inertia later in life.

2. Developing a growth mindset

Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck's (2008) work on mindset marked a paradigm shift in the field of positive psychology. Her research distinguished between two opposing belief systems: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.

With a fixed mindset, people believe they have set a dose for each skill, with a corresponding limit on how much they can achieve. Failure reveals insufficiency and criticism becomes a fatal blow.Self-esteem.

Growth thinking means recognizing humans as malleable. From this attitude, setbacks become learning opportunities (Dweck, 1999) and our potential becomes unlimited.

Consciously stepping out of your comfort zone goes hand in hand with developing a growth mindset. While the rigid mindset keeps us trapped in the fear of failure, the growth mindset expands the possible. It inspires us to learn and take healthy risks, which leads to positive results in all areas of life.

3. Resilience and anti-fragility

Life isn't exactly a predictable affair; maybe people shouldn't be either. Sooner or later everyone faces adversity. The habit of expanding our comfort zone allows people to deal with change and ambiguity more easily, leading to resilience.

In addition, the statistician Nassim Taleb (2012) introduced the concept of “antifragile” systems, which “they thrive and grow when exposed to volatility, randomness, disorder, and stressors.Examples are evolution and the immune system, as well as the human psyche.

While resilient systems recover to the same level after an impact, anti-fragile systems learn to grow and reach new heights. Leaving the comfort zone means cultivating anti-fragility in a specific way, as long as we don't enter the panic zone!

4. Greater self-efficacy

how you describe itAlbert Bandura (1997), Self-efficacyIt is the belief in the ability to perform the necessary actions in the service of a goal. Goals that lead to greater self-efficacy are specific, not too difficult, and short-term (Yailagh, Lloyd, & Walsh, 2009).

Leaving the comfort zone means a period of trial and error in which at least some success is inevitable. Experiencing this success strengthens ourself-efficacy, with faith in our ability to grow.

Like other benefits of getting out of your comfort zone, this probably won't happen overnight. But the cumulative upward spiral of achievement and confidence can become a powerful asset for anyone.

4 tips to help you get out of your comfort zone

Below are four helpful tips to help customers get out of their comfort zone. This is a combination of mindset tips and how-to guides on goal setting.

(Video) Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Your Growth Zone

1. Redefine stress

Physiologically, there is no difference between fear and excitement (Smith, Bradley & Lang, 2005). Both bring a "stress response", but whether they are perceived as positive or negative is a matter of labeling.

Society tends to conceptualize stress as "bad," but the idea of ​​"eusterized' or 'positive stress' challenges this. Eustress provides the necessary energy to speak in public, have a romantic date, etc. These stimuli can be reframed as exciting and take us out of our comfort zone.

2. Understanding neuroplasticity

An essential step in internalizing the growth mindset is the embraceNeuroplasticity Research. Once understood, it takes less courage to take that first step away from comfort, as failure itself becomes an integral part of the journey.

The core of Dweck's theory is that humans are malleable and adaptable. Another great way to understand his philosophy is to watch this TED talk:

3. Prioritize

Occupying the comfort zone is not always harmful. For example, it might be wise to stay in your comfort zone for playing the ukulele, but not in your personal financial management zone.

It's about identifying bottlenecks: areas of life where too much comfort does more harm than good. Encourage selectivity of client goals so they can focus effectively.

4. Small steps

It's okay to take small, methodical steps, as well as bigger, bolder ones. Leaving your comfort zone does not mean throwing caution overboard. Each step forward is progress.

Patientpromote self confidenceSmart assessment of the boundaries of each zone is a surefire way to make the process as smooth as possible.

7 ways to get out of your comfort zone

Now that we've covered the what, why, and how to get out of your comfort zone, let's cover seven ways someone might try to do it.

1. Do everyday things differently.

In everyday life there are many ways to challenge yourself. Turn off your smartphone and TV during dinner, decide on your clothes more quickly, or just slow down to enjoy the scenery as you walk. These changes take you out of old, comfortable routines.

2. Expand your professional skills.

Expanding your skills can foster creativity and refresh your skillstrustand increase employability. Skills like public speaking, negotiation, and leadership can present a new challenge for many people. Investing in them can build resilience and personal satisfaction, opening up more opportunities than ever before.

3. Try a new diet.

Many people want to improve their diet and stop relying on "comfort food." To do this, they often have to try something new.

Sticking to a healthy diet can be as challenging as it is rewarding, and self-efficacy increases as you reach important goals along the way.

4. Take your training to the next level.

Also, many aspire to this goal. For some it might mean running their first 5K, but for others it might mean completing a triathlon.

Going high with exercise is symbolic of getting out of your comfort zone and a great way to get the ball rolling.

5. Get creative.

Creativity, from writing a poem to starting a business, often involves risk. Creative endeavors are about venturing into the unknown, with failure and subsequent learning as expected results.

Exercising creativity is a great way to train yourself to have a growth mindset and let go of the need for perfection early on.

6. Challenge your beliefs.

While exploring alternative perspectives can be uncomfortable, it allows for growth and understanding by challenging long held beliefs.

This can take various forms, e.g. B. read different genres of books, diversify interlocutors and visit new places. It's easy to get stuck in our habits, but this can lead to complacency, a sign of being in your comfort zone.

7. Practice honesty.

When used sensitively, honesty can be a tremendous catalyst for personal growth. Whether straight with yourself in oneprivate diaryor telling someone how you feel, honesty pushes people out of their comfort zone. Through honest communication, we can better understand ourselves and form deeper bonds with others.

How to get out of your comfort zone and into your "growth zone". (5)

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(Video) How to GET OUT of the COMFORT ZONE?

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10 inspirational quotes

Here are ten quotes that summarize many of the ideas discussed:

All growth begins at the end of your comfort zone.

Toni Robbins

You can only grow if you are willing to be uncomfortable and uncomfortable trying something new.

Brian Tracy

My comfort zone is like a little bubble around me, and I've been moving it in different directions, making it bigger and bigger until those goals that seemed completely crazy finally fell within the realm of possibility.

Alex Honnold

Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt

To become is better than to be. The rigid mindset does not allow people the luxury of conversion. They must be.


(Video) Leaving Your Comfort Zone Meditation

One can choose to return to safety or to move towards growth. Growth has to be chosen over and over again; Fear must always be overcome.

Abraham Maslow

Without continuous growth and progress, words like improvement, achievement, and success mean nothing.

Benjamin Franklin

You have calibrated life when most of what you fear is the exciting prospect of adventure.

Nassim Taleb

The level of effort you tolerate from yourself will determine your life.

That Tom Billy

May your decisions reflect your hopes, not your fears.

Nelson Mandela

Helpful Tools from is a great collection of tools you can use to help clients get out of their comfort zone.

We have a number of different worksheets and exercises designed to help people get into the growth zone and reach their potential.

Here are three examples:

  1. learn new skills
    this toolencourages clients to reflect on times when new skills exist. Exercise can help patients normalize fear, anxiety, and even anxiety that prevents them from stepping out of their comfort zone.
  2. Get out of the comfort zone
    this toolhelps clients identify common habits or practices that make their lives more stable. The chart encourages them to think of new and challenging activities that will better prepare them to deal with the unknown or unexpected.
  3. Embrace a growth mindset
    This interventionIt pushes people into the growth mindset by providing phrases to correct the stagnation mindset.

An additional resource that may seem strange but revealing is titledgrief meditation. For any client reluctant to stray from a comfortable routine, contemplating their future funeral could be a notable incentive to adopt a growth mindset.

If you're looking for more science-based ways to help others achieve their goals, this collection contains. Use them to help others achieve their dreams using the latest science-backed behavior change techniques.

A message to take home

Recognizing opportunities to get out of the comfort zone is not always easy; nor does he grasp it with conviction.

It is crucial to cultivate a mindset that establishes a solid foundation and paves the way to the growth zone. This includes seeing yourself as naturally adaptable, redefining stress, and believing in your ability to withstand fear and doubt.

Every human being faces this choice, knowingly or not. He can settle for what he knows: the seemingly safe, familiar, and routine. Or you can become receptive to growth opportunities, challenge your personal status quo, and see what you are capable of.

When this becomes a habit, the benefits to reap throughout life are plentiful. Not only are disappointments controlled and regrets avoided, but we reach our highest human potential by serving as an inspiration to others.

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article. I did not forget itDownload our three goal achievement exercises for free.


  • Bandura, A. (1997).Self-efficacy: The exercise of control.Nueva York, NY: WH Freeman and Company.
  • Bardwick, J. (1991).Danger in the Comfort Zone: From the Boardroom to the Mailroom - How to Break the Habit of Ownership That's Destroying American Businesses. American Management Association.
  • Dweck, CS (1999).Theories of the self: its role in motivation, personality and development. Filadelfia, PA: Psychology Press.
  • Dweck, CS (2008).Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
  • Maslow, AH (1943). A theory of human motivation,psychological review,50, 370–396.
  • Smith, JC, Bradley, MM, & Lang, PJ (2005). State of anxiety and affective physiology: effects of prolonged exposure to affective images.Biological Psychology,69, 247–260.
  • Taleb, NN (2012).Antifragile: things that benefit from clutter. New York, NY: Random House.
  • Yailagh, MS, Lloyd, J, & Walsh, J (2009). Causal relationships between attribution styles, mathematical self-efficacy beliefs, gender differences, goal setting, and mathematical performance in schoolchildren.Magazine of Education and Psychology,3, 95–114.
  • Yerkes, R. and Dodson, J. (1907). The dancing mouse, a study in animal behaviour,Journal of Comparative Neurology and Psychology,18, 459–482.
(Video) Why comfort will ruin your life | Bill Eckstrom | TEDxUniversityofNevada


How do you go from comfort zone to growth zone? ›

Transition from the Comfort Zone to the Growth Zone
  1. Modify Routine. Begin by altering your usual routine. ...
  2. Challenge Belief System. We must learn how to diversify. ...
  3. Grow Skillset. ...
  4. Shakeup Ramps Up. ...
  5. Mistakes are Beneficial.
May 31, 2022

Why is it hard to step out of your comfort zone? ›

Change is hard because you're wired to expect the worst

Getting out of your comfort zone is hard because humans are wired to expect the worst-case scenario.

Is it worth it leaving comfort zone? ›

Sure, stepping out of your comfort zone can be uncomfortable, but going for it can give you a boost in the mental-health department. “The ability to cope with the stress and discomfort of life's challenges protects against a variety of mental-health symptoms, including depression and anxiety,” says Dr. Clark.

What are the 3 comfort zones? ›

Ryan and Markova developed a theory concerning learning processes. Within learning processes we can discriminate 3 different zones: the comfort zone, the stretch zone and the panic (or stress) zone. The comfort zone is the zone in which an individual feels comfortable. There is no fear or discomfort.

How can I outgrow my fears? ›

8 Successful Mental Habits to Defeat Fear, Worry, and Anxiety
  1. Don't figure things out by yourself. ...
  2. Be real with how you feel. ...
  3. Be OK with some things being out of your control. ...
  4. Practice self-care. ...
  5. Be conscious of your intentions. ...
  6. Focus on positive thoughts. ...
  7. Practice mindfulness.
Apr 3, 2018

What is the danger of comfort zone? ›

If you stay in a comfort zone too long, it can make you complacent. If you don't perform activities that somewhat scare or challenge you, you miss out on growth opportunities.

How can I get over my fear of growing? ›

The best way to overcome or cope with your fear of growing up is to use that fear as the push you need to start preparing yourself for the many changes that will come. If you work towards that change of growing up, instead of hiding from it or avoiding any thoughts about it, it will stop being such an unknown.

What are some examples of getting out of your comfort zone? ›

7 Ways to Leave Your Comfort Zone
  • Do everyday things differently. In everyday life, there are ample opportunities to challenge yourself. ...
  • Expand your professional skillset. ...
  • Try a new diet. ...
  • Take workouts to the next level. ...
  • Get creative. ...
  • Challenge your beliefs. ...
  • Practice honesty.
Nov 4, 2020

How do you hope to grow professionally? ›

What to include in your professional growth plan
  1. Focus on long-term goals. ...
  2. Analyze job descriptions. ...
  3. Consider your personal expectations. ...
  4. Look for new opportunities yourself. ...
  5. Take on challenges when you have time to practice. ...
  6. Assess the training opportunities you have. ...
  7. Use what you are learning. ...
  8. Find a coach.
Jan 5, 2023

How do introverts get out of their comfort zone? ›

How an introvert like me is stepping outside her comfort zone
  1. Step out with people and places that feel good, right and safe. A few months ago I did my very first Facebook Live, after swearing I'd never do one. ...
  2. Speak on topics you are passionate about. ...
  3. Go ahead and over-prepare. ...
  4. Baby steps are totally fine.
Nov 9, 2020

What does stepping out of your comfort zone look like? ›

Do something that is a little scary or fearful. You could step out of your comfort zone by trying scuba diving, skydiving or a roller coaster ride. If that doesn't float your boat (or is too scary), try giving a speech or taking a dance class.

What is comfort zone trap? ›

They are unique for every individual, but essentially they're a place where our subconscious puts all of our habits. The things we do without thinking, the things we enjoy, and the things we find, well, comfortable.

Is comfort zone an enemy? ›

A Comfort zone can make you lose your individuality:

And, When you live in your comfort zone your learning stops. And, If you don't have much experience and courage to support your point, then you will realize you are weak to support yourself. Do you enjoy the company of such people?

What is the average comfort zone? ›

Humans generally feel comfortable between temperatures of 22 °C to 27 °C and a relative humidity of 40% to 60%. first cool the air to 14 °C (this removes some of the water from the air), and then heat the air to 24 °C.

What do you think is an area you need to keep growing in professionally? ›

Creativity skills are a great professional growth area that will support you in various ways, including increasing your ability to solve problems efficiently and helping you approach new situations with an open mind.

What are some different ways to help employees grow professionally? ›

How to improve employee development
  • Offer continuous professional development opportunities. ...
  • Create individualised development plans. ...
  • Help your team improve soft skills. ...
  • Remove barriers. ...
  • Regularly communicate with your team. ...
  • Regularly offer feedback. ...
  • Encourage a growth-orientated approach. ...
  • Provide clear expectations.

How can I help others grow professionally? ›

6 Tips to Help Employees Grow and Develop
  • Encourage professional development.
  • Create a development plan.
  • Pair employees with mentors.
  • Help them build their networks.
  • Challenge employees with assignments.
  • Show employees you trust them.

What are the areas in which you would like to grow and develop professionally? ›

Examples of activities that contribute to professional growth and development:
  • Continuing Education.
  • Participation in professional organizations.
  • Research.
  • Improve job performance.
  • Increased duties and responsibilities.
  • Approaches to professional development:
  • Skill Based Training.
  • Job Assignments.


1. Stop Leaving Your Comfort Zone
(Cole Hastings)
2. How the comfort zone is ruining your life
(Better Ideas)
3. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
(The Official Steve Harvey)
4. Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone | Yubing Zhang | TEDxStanford
(TEDx Talks)
5. How I Expanded my Comfort Zone Using Science (& you can too!) || summer of self ep 1
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