Let me ask you, when was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone? Or when was the last time you did something for the first time?

So we have all heard of “our comfort zone” and we all know to a certain extent what it is. So where are you with your comfort zone and what keeps you there? How do you define what a comfort zone is? Wikipedia says “The comfort zone is a psychological state in which a person feels familiar, at ease, in control and experiences low anxiety and stress. In the zone a steady level of performance is possible”. So when was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone and how did it feel?

We are all aware of the effects it has on our mental health and personal growth when we step out of our comfort zone yet, how many of us can do it for what we want instead of remaining stagnant and allowing our thoughts to control so many aspects of our lives? From my personal experience with personal growth and stepping out of my comfort zone, I needed much inner strength and mental power to do what it takes to just take that leap of faith.

The majority of us have ended up stagnant in our lives because of a number of factors such as:

  1. Taking the same route to and from work
  2. eating the same foods/ drinking the same drinks
  3. sitting in the same seat on a bus/train/boat/plane
  4. shopping at the same shops/stores/malls
  5. working in the same job for many years
  6. surrounding ourselves with the same people
  7. listening to the same music
  8. watching the same sort of movies/television programmes
  9. taking the same vacation
  10. flying with the same airline
  11. staying at the same hotel
  12. doing the same thing to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, New Year, Valentine’s Day etc etc
  13. driving the same make and or model of car
  14. buying the same brand of clothes to wear
  15. Using the same make of gadgets

So do you see the similarities from the above list as to why we remain stagnant? Yes, that’s it!  We are not experiencing anything new as we have got into a habit. Habits are great to get us to our goals yet the above list is holding us back from personal growth because there is nothing new to experience and the brain is dead. We are living life in auto pilot when we do the same thing day in day out, week after week, month after month and year after year. Our mind needs constant stimulation in order for us to be alert, mindful and remain mentally strong. Our mental health is essential to us for happiness and contentment. We also require inner strength to grow and stepping out of our comfort zone becomes easier when we have both sets of attributes.

So where does one get their inner strength and mental power from? Well, for me, my inner strength came from my:  set up, childhood, mother who is my biggest inspiration, circumstances, hardships, adversities, being a single mother to three sons, personal development, attitude for gratitude, exercises, travelling, yoga and meditation. I have achieved many big and small goals in the past four years and six months from stepping out of my comfort zone. It has been a tremendous struggle to get to where I am today yet all the hard work was well worth it because I am so rich in life experiences that money could never buy!

I took a huge step out of my comfort zone back in December 2006 when I decided enough is enough, so I am out of here. I went to see a lawyer about getting a divorce after 14 years of a very unfulfilling marriage that created a lot of ill health for me. I had lost what I had worked so hard for due to no fault of my own and I was about to lose them all again. Yet, as I had lost my sense of security before a number of years ago, losing it again was no longer a big deal for me. I had no money to my name, no where to live after divorce and no secure job yet I still knew that I wanted out of my more than miserable marriage. I wanted to get my freedom back, I wanted my sanity and my good health.  I had lost my authentic self,  my true self and it was time I brought her out to shine!

That was my biggest achievement at the time and I have learned so much from that huge decision. I was no longer afraid of not having enough. I was no longer afraid of not having financial security nor did I care for what I had. I knew I deserved better than what I had at the time and I just focused on getting the divorce in place and start my new journey as a happier mother. My health deteriorated as a result of staying stagnant for so many years in an unfulfilling marriage where my needs were never met. Thus creating so much resentment, hatred, emotional pain, anger, frustration and more. My three sons’ needs were not being met either and I had neglected them.

Due to my set up from a very dysfunctional family, I had never known or felt what a comfort zone was like from the age of nine which was to become a huge advantage for me in my adult life. Yet a woman needs financial security in order to feel good, happy and content in her life so that was why I had stayed in such a miserable marriage for 14 years.

I did not celebrate my success for stepping out of my comfort zone for my freedom into a new chapter of my life so I was neglecting to recognise my efforts, achievements and triumphs. I learned that celebrating each and every one  of our successes, achievements and accomplishments is vital because we deserve it and it lifts up our confidence.

I worked hard constantly and consistently in the past four years and six months to achieve many goals.  I have many priceless and valuable life experiences and many stories to tell which are all inspiring, motivating, encouraging and I feel very proud of myself for making brilliant progress. The most inspiring stories from my journey with success are all my travelling ones where I was heading into a new place, a new city, a new country and a new continent! Nothing compares to stepping off your flight to a new continent and ticking that off your bucket list! Hehe

The feeling of being more than capable of facing my fears of travelling to a new country and continent in June 2015 was my biggest achievement to date as I had my ten year old son Calvin with me as my companion. Calvin had yet to fly on a plane so I was apprehensive about his first experience. We talked each day about our travel plans when we booked our flights. He watched videos on YouTube about flying and I told him we would be flying on the Airbus A380 with Emirates so he looked it up, checked it out and was feeling excited. I needed to take care of him and myself during our travels to Sydney, Australia and Hong Kong from Glasgow, Scotland. It meant we had six flights to catch in total so there was a colossal amount of time spent flying. I did as much research as I possibly could about: flying long haul,  how to keep safe and comfortable, what we would need, what we could bring and not bring, how to pack for Sydney’s winter and Hong Kong’s summer plus what meds we would need. It was a long planning process and the fear set in two months before we were due to fly so I used yoga and meditation to relax and calm down my nerves.

From my personal experience with personal growth, nothing can really prepare us for the unknown although we can use all the methods available to us to feel relaxed and calm. We were both yet to experience flying long haul so that was a daunting feeling in itself. The last time I flew long haul was when I was eight years old so I had forgotten how that felt.  We can use our solution oriented mind to solve problems as they arise during our travels. We can use our positive mental attitude to remain calm in any tense circumstances and all this requires mental power that tires us out. We can use our emotional intelligence to handle our emotions when things are not going to plan. We can use effective communication skills to get what we want, when we want it. All these skills takes effort, money and time to acquire. So investing time on our personal development is the most constructive, effective and productive way to grow.

We all know that travelling long haul takes so much out of us, physically, mentally and emotionally so both Calvin and I needed to be in great health. This meant that the month before we were due to fly was crucial for us to remain in great health plus we needed to remain calm and relaxed. I cut out all sugary snacks from my diet and deep fried foods from both our diet. I made smoothies for us each day, made sure we took our multi vitamins and minerals each day and we got enough sleep each night. I brought the necessary meds to take with us in our hand luggage just in case we needed it. Yet nothing prepared me for Calvin being sick twice from Dubai to Hong Kong. He was as white as a ghost from vomiting for the second time. I had no travel sickness meds to give him before we flew as I had no idea he would be sick. I have learned from this experience and I bought him travel sickness tablets from Sydney. Thank goodness I brought packs of wet wipes with us to wipe up his vomit as soon as he was sick. Otherwise the smell would have been more than enough to put my fellow passengers off from flying!

I saw Calvin had grown so much from his first experience of flying which was more valuable than sitting in a classroom with text books. Travelling with our children allows them to learn and experience the world outside of their classroom. This is the best experience we, us parents could possibly give to our children so that they also have many inspiring stories to tell and have fond memories for life.  For Calvin, it came at a time when he is old enough to remember his first experience forever and he can express himself more effectively. He also grew from this experience due to losing his uncle from a very sudden death in November 2013. He had lost a huge part of his mum from her grieving so he was abandoned and neglected yet his first flying adventure has lifted up his confidence and he is now addicted to flying. I had the blessing of spending quality bonding time with Calvin during our travels to Sydney and Hong Kong. I learned so much about him that I would never have learned from being at home with him!

My positive mental attitude, emotional intelligence, solution orientation, effective communication skills, people skills, mindfulness, confidence and assertiveness all served us well during our first adventure aboard. I can laugh at anything, anywhere so this created so much fun for our adventure. It had been the highlight of 2015 for both of us and there are many of these to follow. Just watch this space! Haha

Now here’s some questions for you to ponder about as it is a new year.

  1. So what would it mean for you to feel free to step out of your comfort zone instead of allowing your negative inner voice to stop you from getting what you truly want from life?
  2. What would you accomplish and where would you be?
  3. Who and what would you become?
  4. What would you experience and how would that make you feel?
  5. So you still remember what your inner child always wanted to do and want were those things?
  6. what career, vacation, car, dream home, ideal relationship, ideal body and ideal business would you go for when you know you can achieve it once you set your mind to it?

Did you know that the people who take that first step to get out of their comfort zone for personal growth are the happiest people? They do not need to go shopping regularly to feel good about themselves. They do not need to buy the latest gadget out in the market to fulfil their desires. They have no desires to follow fashion trends or any other trends because they are productive achieving their goals. They are strong minded and know what they want from life so they are consistently working hard to get to where they want to be and who they want to become. They are confident in their own skin and do not need other’s approval or anything to mask their insecurities. They take calculated risks and focus on the end result with much positivity. They are great leaders who are inspiring, supportive, motivating, encouraging, positive, constructive, productive and these are the people you truly what to surround yourself with for a better quality of life!

So analyse those people you are surrounded with at present and be very aware of who is making progress and who is stagnant. Remove the people who are making no progress from your life when you know with much clarity that you are in the process of getting to where you want to be. Be in a supportive environment so that you get the support you need to achieve your goals. Be aware of the negative impact toxic people have on your personal growth. These can be your family, friends, colleagues, associates and acquaintances.

We become the first five people we spend the most time with so limit your time with people who never lift you up, support you, encourage you, inspire or motivate you. Instead, create a new circle of friends who you can go to for support, advice, inspiration, motivation and you shall grow with them. Have clear goals in mind and start working on them for your better, bigger and brighter future.

So let’s all step out of our comfort zone and start to grow to have many life experiences to share with others and inspire people whenever we go! Are you ready to grow for happiness and contentment?

Here is a list of books to read up on how to step out of your comfort zone to grow and to acquire the skills I mentioned in this blog!

  1. Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers ( an absolute must read)
  2. The Compund effect by Darren Hardy
  3. Set yourself free by Shirley Smith ( a valuable insight)
  4. Assertiveness by Conrad and Suzanne Potts or any book on “assertiveness” (vital book to read on how to get what you want)
  5. Brilliant emotional intelligence by Gill Hasson
  6. or any book on emotional intelligence
  7. The 15 minute rule by Caroline Buchanan ( helps with procrastination)
  8. Life without limits by Nick Vujicic ( I highly recommend this)
  9. Dealing with people you can’t stand by Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner
  10. The key to living the law of attraction by Jack Canfield (be sure to complete all the exercises in this book to get the most out of it)
  11. The secrets of the NLP masters by Judy Bartkowiak or any book on NLP ( another must read)
  12. Make a great speech by Jackie Arnold ( this is essential for travelling)
  13. The fine art of confident conversation by Debra Fine or any book on book on confident conversation
  14. The power of now by Eckhart Tolle