Move Out of Your Comfort Zone and Into Stress

Want to face stressful situations with more confidence? Step out of your comfort zone.

Here are 6 tips:

  1. Know your “why.” Maybe you want to be less stressed about what others think of you. Or maybe you don’t want to let fear or anxiety get in your way of doing something important to you.
  2. Identify a specific goal or situation where you want to be more confident. Defining what being more confident will look like will help you design practical steps to take. This will also help you know you’re making progress. E.g., “I want to speak up in meetings at work with John Authority figure when I disagree with him.”
  3. Notice what triggers your stress and lack of confidence in this situation and the thoughts or assumptions you tend to have. E.g., “I get stressed when John rolls his eyes after I comment or when he mentions his deep experience or education in a way that seems to me down. I assume my comments are stupid, and that I don’t know what I’m talking about. It’s better to be quiet.”
  4. Plan a counter-thought to have ready next time that is more helpful in those anxious or unconfident moments. E.g.,” If I don’t speak up, I’m not doing my job. We may not get to the best solution, and I will regret it. If I speak up, others may be more likely to speak up. Maybe John’s having a bad day; his comments seem to be more a reflection of him and where he’s at than a reflection on me.”
  5. Get support. Tell your plans to someone you trust and commit to checking in with them regularly. Ask them to help support you and hold you accountable. This could be a friend, mentor, coach or someone else.
  6. Practice, practice, practice. Stepping outside your comfort zone will never be comfortable. But, as you practice, you will widen the zone, build confidence and experience the rewards that will help you keep stepping.

Most of us seek to avoid stress and uncertainty; we prefer our comfort zone. Yet if we want to build confidence and achieve our goals in life and work, we need to take the comfort zone challenge.

Joe Baker is a Partner with PeopleResults. As a leadership consultant and executive coach, he helps leaders and teams confidently achieve extraordinary relationships and results. You can reach him at or on Twitter @JoeBakerJr.