Beyond Your Comfort Zone


Bystanders love to research and make plans. Many have dreams and goals that are even written down. Dreaming and learning and researching and planning are all good things. The missing link for many bystanders is implementation. You might be thinking, “So what?” Does it even matter? If so, why does it matter? Is it important to move beyond your comfort zone?

Well, I guess it doesn’t really matter if you are happy being a bystander. If just learning, researching, and planning are fulfilling to you, then there is no problem. However, if you are like me, at some point, doing all those things but never putting it into action is not adequate. It is not fulfilling or satisfying to never make any progress. So, if I want to make forward progress but continue to do what I’ve always done, isn’t that the definition of insanity? To keep doing what you’ve always done but expect a different result = insanity.

How do you break out of the habit of staying in your comfort zone? Is it possible to break out or push through the walls that keep you locked in? My comfort zone was keeping me from realizing my full potential. I felt, for many years, that I was not living up to my potential. I had become so comfortable in my comfort zone that I saw no need to change. Until one day, when I realized I was no longer happy living my life as I had been–from the sidelines, always watching other people try new things, go exciting places, and achieve their dreams. The time had come to make some serious changes.

I started reading books by Tony Robbins, Brendon Burchard, Brene Brown, and Marie Forleo. I have read at least 24 books each year for the last 3 years. See last week’s article Start Somewhere, Do Something for links to many great resources. I also started listening to podcasts like The Brendon Show by Brendon Burchard, Tony Robbins, and The Life Coach School by Brooke Castillo among others. I subscribed to daily messages from John Maxwell and Darren Hardy, giving great words of encouragement and advice in personal growth and leadership.

This was the beginning of my journey toward taking back control of my life and to No Longer Be a Bystander. I was choosing to read and listen to people who were living audacious lives and influencing others. Here’s what happened. It started to challenge the way I was thinking. You see, I had been stuck in a mindset that kept me shut down. Even though I have always held a positive attitude in life, I felt weighed down by not achieving my goals or dreams. Always struggling to not procrastinate or do just enough to get by. I had become my own worst enemy and had no confidence that I had anything of value to offer the world. Perhaps you have felt that way too. 

What I discovered is that thinking that way is believing a lie. Every person is of value and has gifts and abilities given to them by God. Whether a person uses them or believes they have value is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak. I guess in some ways, I’m talking about self-esteem. Webster defines self-esteem as “confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.” Selfesteem is an individual’s subjective evaluation of their own worth. It is the evaluation we put on ourselves as to whether or not we measure up. Whatever we are measuring up to is a personal matter. 

The worse you feel about who you are and what you do, the less motivation you’ll have to do what it takes to build your self-esteem.

From there it’s easy to spiral down into a cycle of negative and circular thinking, keeping you mired in damaging and erroneous beliefs.

How can you stop this vicious cycle and start moving in a more positive direction?

It’s a process, and it won’t happen overnight, but there are things you can do to get it started and keep it moving. Here are 10 ways to improve your self-esteem quickly in order to start feeling more confident (reference:

1. Master a new skill

When you become skilled in something that corresponds with your talents and interests, you increase your sense of competency. Your confidence level is directly tied to your competencies.

2. List your accomplishments

Think about all the things you’ve accomplished, then write them down. Make a list of everything you’ve done that you feel proud of, everything you’ve done well. Review your list when you need a reminder of your ability to get things done and to do them well.

3. Do something creative

Creative tasks are a great way to put the flow back into your life. Creativity stimulates the brain, so the more you use it, the greater the benefits. Pull out your old guitar, write a story or poem, take a dance class, or sign up for a community theater production. When you add the challenge of trying something new, it helps you even more.

4. Get clear on your values

Determine what your values are and examine your life to see where you’re not living in alignment with what you believe. Then make any necessary changes. The more you know what you stand for, the more confident you will be.

5. Challenge your limiting beliefs

When you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, stop and challenge that thought. Don’t let yourself be limited by erroneous beliefs.

6. Stand at the edge of your comfort zone

Stretch yourself and move to the edge of your comfort zone. Get uncomfortable–try something new, meet different people or approach a situation in an unconventional way. Confidence begins at the edge of your comfort zone.

7. Help someone

Use your talents, skills, and abilities to help others. Give someone direct assistance, share helpful resources or teach someone something they want to learn. Offer something you do well as a gift to someone.

8. Heal your past

Unresolved issues and drama can keep you trapped in low self-esteem. Seek the support of a trained counselor to help you heal the past so you can move onto the future in a confident and self-assured way.

9. Stop worrying about what others think

When you worry about what others will think of you, you never feel free to be completely yourself. Make a firm decision to stop worrying about what other people think–begin making choices based on what you want, not what you think others want from you.

10. Read something inspirational

A great way to gain more self-esteem is to read something that lifts you up and makes you feel positive about yourself.

Now, if you suffer from being a bystander this list may seem overwhelming. I’m not saying you need to accomplish all 10 on the list. I just want to encourage you to start with one. See how it goes, how it feels to accomplish it. Give yourself grace and space to grow into it. Then try another one. If you keep adding accomplishments to your life, before you know it, you are no longer a bystander!! Welcome to the club!


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