Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones

sky diving great things never came from comfort zones

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“Great things never came from comfort zones – Anonymous”

This quote is so true!

Getting out of your comfort zone can lead to so much satisfaction and increased self-confidence.  It can also teach you new skills and improve your resilience as you prove to yourself that you CAN take on challenges.

Read on to find out more about the science behind comfort zones and how you can push your own boundaries.  I’ve also added some inspirational stories from those who have successfully gone outside their comfort zones.


What Is A Comfort Zone?

A comfort zone consists of the limits we set ourselves.

We allow fear and limiting beliefs to tell us we can’t do things

For example, I’ve told myself that I’ll never do a long haul flight. I believe I’m too anxious and truly feel like I wouldn’t cope well.

This is a limiting belief which has led me to stay inside a comfort zone of short-haul hops.

Now, I would really love to see America, Canada and the Carribean.  So I’m seriously researching trips for next year.  Eek, that will be totally out of my comfort zone!

For some extra help getting out of your comfort zone this brand new course entitled Alignment is the New Hustle from Psychologist Jennifer Willemsen is blowing me away!  I’ve not seen anything quite like it anywhere else and I fully recommend it.

I also had the pleasure of interviewing Jennifer – she is truly inspiring and you can read the interview here.

great things never came from comfort zones


But I Like My Comfort Zone!

I know.  I get that.  It’s cosy there and you’re very happy thank you very much!  You aren’t really sure that you have the desire or the skill to get out of it anyway.

If you’re honest though, do you perhaps feel a little bored?  Do you feel a bit stuck in a rut?  Maybe just a teeny tiny bit?!

It’s all too easy in life to settle into a routine.  To settle for what we have.  To remain in our comfort zones.  All the while, there may be a niggling doubt at the back of our minds which says’ is this it?  Is this how I’m destined to spend the rest of my life?’

Why is it so hard to leave your comfort zone?

It’s because things become routine and staying in your comfort zone minimises stress and risk.  It gives you lower levels of anxiety.

The science bit

The concept of comfort zones was first born in an experiment by Robert Yerkes and John Dodson in 1908.  The study concluded that in order to maximise performance we need to be in a state of being just outside of our comfort zone.

This later became known as ‘optimal anxiety’.  It’s a fine balance between being motivated to succeed but not suffering from too much or prolonged anxiety.

The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.  Judith M. Bardwick

So, what should we do?

Now, I’m not advocating that we should all throw our routines in the air and pick up a completely different way of life
That would be a bit drastic! 
What I have found in my own experience, is that when I have pushed out of my comfort zone I’ve found this to be hugely rewarding.
For example, a few years ago I was learning Spanish.  After reading a book which kind of changed my life, “Feel The Fear And Do It Any Way”, by the late, great Susan Jeffers, I decided to spend some time at a language school in Barcelona and stayed in the home of a Catalan lady.
Travelling on my own and staying in the house of someone who couldn’t really speak English was so scary!
feel the fear and do it anyway
Whilst I was there, I met up with some Spanish friends who I’d got chatting to in language exchange groups on the internet
All this was a huge challenge, but I gained so much from it!  One of my favourite memories is zipping around the back streets of Barcelona on the back of a scooter with one of my language exchange friends!
scooter in barcelona
Me proving that great things never came from comfort zones!


Pushing out of your comfort zone won’t be as bad as you think.

I guarantee!

Do you ever dread something and then when it actually happens, think – oh that wasn’t too bad after all?

Remember as well, no-one is actually watching you.  Sorry to be blunt, but the world doesn’t revolve around you!   Others are more concerned about themselves and are equally scared.

Pushing outside your comfort zone will help you grow.  100% guaranteed.  You might also discover something fun that you love.

If you fail, so what, you have learned something.  It will improve your resilience as you become more confident in your ability to adapt and change.


Hmm, OK, Maybe You Are Right…So How Do I Do This??

Start small

Take baby steps.

Read a different genre of book. Walk a different route than you normally would. Try a new recipe using ingredients you haven’t tried before.

Journal about your adventures

What did you love? Did something surprise you? What have you learned?  Was there anything you didn’t like or would do differently next time?

Don’t give up

No-one is good at something the first time they try it.


Get some information.  Speak to the people who have done ‘the thing’ before.

OK, so I realise this in itself can be out of the comfort zone of many!  I’m the same!

For example, recently I was putting off contacting people who had completed a life coaching course I’m thinking of taking.  Making contact with strangers by phone or email is totally outside of my comfort zone.

So, I questioned myself, what’s the worse that can happen?

I knew it was unlikely they would be rude.  The worst that could happen would be that they didn’t reply.

I sent the emails. All of them replied and I got so much out of the dialogue.  And, yes, I’m going to do the course!  More comfort zone pushing as it will involve online group sessions and trips down to Brighton by myself.

Notice when you are saying ‘can’t’

And challenge yourself to replace this with ‘yes I can’!

Widen your circle of comfort – just a little

Try and expand the boundaries of your comfort zone by a small amount.  The best way to do this is by taking action.  It really doesn’t matter how small.

For example, maybe you have a fear of putting your face in the water when you are swimming (a very common fear).  Start by putting your chin under for a few seconds.  Congratulate yourself for that small achievement and then move on to getting the water over your lips.  Then over your nose (a hard bit).

Slowly widen your circle of comfort bit by bit.  Don’t think that you have to do all this at once either!

Make yourself accountable

Announce your plans to your friends and family.  Or on the internet.  Like I’ve just done with the coaching course!!

Don’t wait for the right time


digital clock on computer display

Photo by Damian Patkowski on Unsplash

How many times have you put off starting the diet or the exercise routine?  You tell yourself you’ll start on Monday, or on January 1st.  Or perhaps you want to start a side hustle or a new business.  But you want to do as much research as possible first or save some more money up.

There will never be the ‘right’ time to start.  If you wait, you could be waiting all your life.  If you have the desire to do something, just begin!  You can get better as you go along.

Do not wait: the time will never be ‘just right’. Start where you stand, and work with whatever tools you may have at your command and better tools will be found as you go along – Napoleon Hill

Learn to laugh at yourself

You don’t have to take everything so seriously!

[tweetshare tweet=”Love who you are and what you are and what you do.  Laugh at yourself and at life and nothing can touch you – Louise Hay” username=”alisonw30″]

This is so true.  If you acknowledge that you messed up and laugh at yourself, then it becomes impossible for others to laugh at you.

Talk to people who disagree with you

The idea of this one this really scares me as I dislike conflict!  Perhaps I should join a debating society in that case??

For even more ways to push your boundaries, check out this post –  10 unexpected places to find interesting ideas.

In particular from this article, I love the idea of following random people on Twitter.  I’ve met people with different views on the platform, but will challenge myself to follow at least 5 people who are in unrelated posts this week!

What Are The Benefits?

Why should you push yourself outside of your comfort zone?  Because there are some fantastic benefits that’s why!

Here are a few.

You’ll get more done

I find this at work – if I don’t have any deadlines looming I tend to feel comfier and then procrastinate more (shh, don’t tell my boss!)

Give me the pressure and slight unease that comes from running out of time and I’ll suddenly go above and beyond!

You will gain confidence

You will start to gain confidence in what you CAN achieve.  The pre-historic part of our brain tries really hard to protect us and keep us within our comfort zones.

Bless it, it’s only trying to keep us safe!

Once you widen your circle of comfort, you will start to believe that you can do things and will be more likely to make other small changes.

Dealing with challenges will become easier

As you start to believe in yourself more and prove to yourself what you are capable of, the inevitable challenges that life throws at you will become less difficult to tackle.

It will accelerate your learning.

Routine and stability squash our ability to learn.  Mixing it up a bit helps us to learn more and learn it faster.

It will bring you new ideas and opportunities

One step will lead to another, I promise!  You never know who you might meet when you take a different route to work or what taking that first short run around the block could lead to.

You could get talking to someone which opens up new career opportunities for example.  Or you could love running so much you decide to train for a 10k, then a half-marathon, then a triathlon!  Who knows where this could take you.

[tweetshare tweet=”Do one thing every day that scares you – Eleanor Roosevelt” username=”alisonw30″]

Remember though that we don’t need to push ourselves ALL the time.  It’s good to come out of our comfort zone, but it’s also good to retreat and consolidate what we’ve learned.


Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones – True Life Stories

I asked you to share your pushing out of your comfort zone stories.  Here is a selection of my favourites.  I hope they will inspire you as much as they did me!

Fear Of Heights



Photo by Aleksei Kipin on Unsplash

There were quite a few in this category!  Here are my favourites.

Sabrina from The Inbetween Traveller hiked up a volcanic mountain range.  At one point she says “I was so scared of falling all the way down, I couldn’t move anymore, but at the end, I enjoyed the silence and the view from right where I was”.

Peter has a huge fear of flying (who’s with him on this one?) and suffers from vertigo.  He has managed a couple of short haul flights in the last few years and says this has given him a sense of achievement.  He also says that if he is anxious on other forms of transport now, he tells himself ‘at least I’m not on a plane!’

Road to a debt free me told me that she did a skydive despite being terrified of heights.  She is very brave, I’m really not sure I could do a skydive!  (Could this be a limiting belief….) I did once do an abseil down a church and had to be virtually pushed off the top 😀  Road to a debt free me also told me she scuba dived and that she doesn’t like the sea much either!


Pack Your Bags


leather duffel bag

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

These stories of people who did just that are truly inspirational!

Ginny bought a tiny camper van after her beloved husband died suddenly.  She went out into the wilderness and backroads of Colorado by herself for three months!   She told me “I loved it so much, I sold my house and lived in my camper on the road for three years writing about it on my blog“.

Chloe told me the amazing story of how she went to Cambodia for a month to help teach children.  She says “I remember going to the airport early hours in the morning feeling like I was going to throw up. I was that nervous about being there without my family.”

More travelling

Another traveller, Ciara  told me “after a really horrible breakup and finishing my degree with no idea what to do with my life – I did a TEFL course and moved to South Korea.  It changed my life as I’m now a primary school teacher.  I suffer crazy with anxiety so still can’t believe I did this!”

Abby moved 12 hours away from home.  Recently she went to see a band she really likes at a bar BY HERSELF!! Like whaaaat?!?   She told me “it’s been a year full of stepping out of my comfort zone”.

I’ve done some of the travelling stuff myself (e.g. Barcelona) and also once went to the theatre on my own to see the musical Wicked.  I felt pretty uncomfortable doing both to be honest, but the sense of satisfaction was immense.  I can’t imagine how scary packing up your life entirely must be!  Here’s another story from someone who has done just that.

Bec from Love She Travels  has given up her job and booked a one-way ticket to Athens from where she’ll travel cheaply and volunteer around Europe for an indefinite number of months.  She says “life definitely begins at the end of your comfort zone, right?!”  Hell yeah!


Other Adventures

These adventures sound very exciting, if a bit scary!

Wendy, who truly is an inspiration and is always doing something fun, has no hands or feet.  This story is about how she rode down a river in a tube!

Kelly was persuaded to go out on a motorboat with her mum in Mexico.  In the middle of the water, they had an accident and Kelly had to navigate the boat back to shore.  She told me she was really proud to get them both back in one piece!

Kate On Thin Ice walked on fire!  (Thankfully not whilst on thin ice :-D)  She said that she loved it so much that she had to be moved off the burning coals!

woman surfing

Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Donna recently tried to surf on one of those mechanical pool waves.  Unfortunately, she wasn’t as balanced as she thought she was.  She fell and smashed her head and arm…but got up and tried again!  She told me that it was very difficult but super fun!

[tweetshare tweet=”A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – Lao Tzu” username=”alisonw30″]

Great Things Never Came From Comfort Zones – A Recap

The most important advice for breaking out of your comfort zone is to take that first step.

Then keep pushing.  Don’t settle once you’ve made the one step.  And don’t forget that great things never came from comfort zones!

Has this post inspired you to step outside your comfort zone?  Do you have any examples of where you’ve done this already?  Leave me a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

Still need a bit more help with this?  Check out these posts.

The Ultimate Guide To Increased Self-Confidence

Power Of Your Subconscious Mind: How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs

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  1. Abby Heird

    Alison, what a great and thorough post this is!! There have been so many times I’ve used the “it’s not the right time” excuse but lately, I have been able to hear it and be like “girrrrrl, that is just an excuse, get to it!” Also, I love your bluntness! The world does not revolve around us each as individuals. Boy, sometimes I think it does but I am wrong lol! It’s so hard to do something we are not comfortable with but the only way to get comfortable with it is to do it! Loved this! A great Monday post!! <3

    1. Alison

      Thanks Abby! Realising the world didn’t revolve around me was actually a bit of a revelation (especially as I’m an only child…) I only truly realised this a couple of years ago. I still need to remind myself, but knowing this fact definitely helps me 🙂

  2. Kelly cranfield

    Hi lovely

    This is the what I needed to read I’ not in a good place at the moment

    I suffer with cold sores but I have them on my face and quite large ones

    I get these when I’m run down I never show my emotions this is why I get ill

    Then I go into a deep depression you would never know as I’m a good actress

    I do say you can be surrounded by people but still feel the loneliness person in the room 😓

    been waiting for this to happen for a while now as been really let down by people that have btoken my heart

    I will be fine just in a hole at the moment but I need to get myself out

    Thank you for referring to my lovely

    This was a great post to not give up

    Sending love xxx

    1. Alison

      So sorry to hear that you are feeling down Kelly 😢 I hope things will improve for you soon xx

  3. Geraldine

    AHHH this was really a great post Alison!! It is true, you won’t reach new heights if you limit yourself to your comfort zone! If you ever visit the States let me know girl!!! One thing I did last year that I’d say was out of my comfort zone was to travel to another country …and ALONE! I had never done that before. Needless to say, I was very alert and nervous of losing or forgetting anything or missing my plane, but nothing like that happened! If we push ourselves out of our comfort zone, we will feel so refreshed and we will have an even bigger comfort zone!! Thank you for sharing 🙂 xx

    Geraldine | https://geraldinetalks.com

    1. Alison

      Thanks Geraldine. Travelling alone is scary, well done 🙂 I’ll definitely let you know if we make it to America! Not sure it’s in hubby’s comfort zone either so I may need to do some persuading! (Could show him this post I suppose…)

  4. Victoria Thompson

    Love this blog post so much and it’s super inspirational. Thanks so much for sharing and I hope you enjoy planning your trip. I have a fear of flying but I will never let it step in my way as there are so many beautiful places in the world to see 🙂 xxx

  5. Chloe Chats

    I love this!! Very inspiring and something I really needed to read. I definitely say ‘I can’t’ too much, I think I might see if I notice it from now on and see if I can change them one at a time. That’s so cool that you went to Barcelona by yourself, I always think to myself now that I could never travel to a different country by myself, although I did go to Cambodia and honestly it was terrifying flying out there (and a verrrry long flight), but I did go with other people my age so I don’t know if I can count it going by myself, but it was the first time going abroad without family – I was 18 at the time. I’m sure many people have gone abroad without family before 18 but I was definitely a stay at home kinda gal and just travelled to places in the UK without family. I’ve had so much time recently where I’ve reflected on this kind of thing – comfort zones, and I’m definitely feeling motivated to do something outside of my comfort zone. Great post Alison!!!

    Chloe xx

    1. Alison

      Thanks Chloe. I think your Cambodia trip was definitely pushing the comfort zone limits! Glad I’ve inspired you to do some more stuff out of your comfort zone 🙂

  6. Kate

    I think one of the most evil amongst these little demons is that “waiting for the right time” mindset. It justifies your fears in a very rational way and you think, “Oh yeah, I need to research more before I jump in”. I’ve fallen a victim to this plenty of times! And this post is such a good reminder that there is no Right Time. Awesome post Alison!

  7. Amanda

    Great article. Staying in our comfort zone can have us miss out on so much. I had to get over my fear of flying. I was completely uncomfortable but it was so limiting. Since I stepped out of that it has been great because now I have been able to fly all over the US and to a few other countries.

    1. Alison

      Thanks Amanda, great to hear your story and how you have found the positives of stepping out of your comfort zone 🙂

  8. Stephanie

    Alison, this is amazing! I’ve been trying really hard to get out of my comfort zone lately and I think I really needed this. Hopefully this is a push in the right direction so I can get to do fun and crazy things 🙂

  9. Millie

    I love this post so much!! It’s what I really needed to hear! I also really liked the stories from others that you included. Thank you!!

  10. Marie

    My comfort zone right now is tiny but I’m hoping that by the time I’ve had all my therapy I’ll be strong enough to push the boundaries again.
    Great post though!

  11. Kaye Chen

    This post is super helpful and informative! I’m always too comfortable in my comfort zone and really don’t want to get out of my way to do things. But whenever I do, I feel a little bit happier. I picked up Korean a long time ago and pushed myself to use it when I traveled to Korea. It was difficult but really rewarding when they understood me! Thank you for sharing!

  12. Kim

    This was such a great post to read. I think we are all worries aboit stepping out of our comfort zones and I know I’ve used ‘it’s not the right time’ on multiple occassions. This year (or early next year depending on availability) i will finally sign up for the cake decorsying course I’ve been talking about for ~2 years(!).

  13. Mark

    Hi Alison! As promised, you checked out my blog and left a comment, and I’m returning the favor. But it surely wasn’t a chore. I love this post about venturing out of your comfort zone. These past ten months have been the hardest of my life, seriously! I was not only a successful handyman, but I was also an accomplished general contractor, who flipped houses. I passed up on the comfort of doing what I was good at and what made me good money, to write a blog, something I really “want” to do. You have the “never give up” attitude, and so do I. Wish me luck, as I do you.

  14. Worthy

    Keep Working out of the comfort zone and you will end up being in your comfort zone automatically.

  15. Tiphany

    This post is full of meaty information. I got to check out that book, Feel the fear and do it anyway. Thank you!

  16. Annalise Seger

    This was such a great read! 8 had no idea how limited comfort zones could be. I know I’m stuck in mine, but I will work on it using your tips. Thanks!!

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