Challenges & Comfort Zones

Challenges & Comfort Zones

Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful.

Joshua Marine

Comfort zones are cozy, but staying in them forever won’t get you very far. In fact, you won’t go anywhere at all—because the prerequisite to growth and improvement is *drum roll please* challenging yourself.

Every leap outside your comfort zone is an opportunity to learn something new and improve an area of your life. For example, maybe you dislike heights and aren’t a fan of the outdoors, but your friends ask you to tag along for a Camelback hike. You could say no and miss out, or you could give it a go and see what it’s like.

By choosing to go, you’re giving yourself the opportunity to succeed at something you didn’t realize you could. And when you overcome a difficult obstacle, your confidence magnifies and you’re more prepared for the next challenge.

The same applies for your career, relationship, health, finances, and personal life. The more challenges you successfully overcome, the more confidence you build.

But confidence isn’t the only reason to take a dive outside your comfort zone. Science also shows challenging yourself can help you perform at your peak—as in, a little anxiety can be the push you need to succeed at new, hard things.

On the flip side, if you decide to stay complacent and do only what’s easy, you’ll never know your true potential.

If you’re still not convinced to take on a challenge, maybe this factoid will help: continuously challenging yourself helps you age better. Science shows people who challenge themselves to learn new skills and take on difficult tasks, while maintaining a strong social circle, stay sharper longer. Not only will your confidence be strong, but your mind will be stronger.

It’s important to note that you don’t have to succeed at every challenge to reap the benefits—you just have to be willing to try. Take an example from our advisor Ryan, the Savvy Investor Guy:

I remember when I started off in this industry. There were numerous challenges I had to overcome but the biggest of them all was public speaking. Mind you, as a child I had a hard time with enunciating, so most of my elementary school years was spent in speech therapy. That did not bode well for my confidence to say the least. I avoided any chances of public speaking or even speaking in front of a classroom.

Fast forward to my first full year as an advisor and I had to present to a room full of retirees on the topic of annuities. There was so much pressure: my first presentation, educating individuals that were twice if not thrice my age, and trying to look credible. The latter was extremely hard as I’ve been told I have a baby face. 😉 Ugh, I thought long and hard during the whole process of prepping for this moment and questioning if this was for me or if I overextended my potential. But I kept going… driven to accomplish what I set out to do.

Sitting in the restroom 30 minutes before I had to confront my fear, I did everything I could think of to shake the jitters away. I played music, did jumping jacks and then push-ups but nothing helped, and I ended up puking my nerves away. Was this it? Did I overextend my potential? At that moment, I would have to agree. But knowing what I know now and having lived and survived that moment, my future self would have to say no! From the words of the inspiring Tony Robbins, “fear is built in your nervous system as a survival instinct. So, it’s always going to be there, you just have to deal with it. And how do you deal with it? Your desire has to be greater than your fear. Another way to do it is to turn fear on itself.”

I remember stumbling many times during that presentation, even forgetting some of the big points I really wanted the audience to hone-in on. But that didn’t matter. What mattered was the fact that I accomplished one of the biggest challenges of my life, up to that point. I continued to present numerous times after that, but I stumbled less and less, and my confidence grew and grew.  

Winning isn’t where the growth lives—leaping is where the magic happens. 

One more thing: there’s a fine line between challenging yourself and overwhelming yourself. It’s ok to take breaks from productivity and the constant need to “do.” Rest is essential—take it.

Today we challenge you to take a leap. Try something new. Step outside your comfort zone and embrace whatever challenges come your way. Not sure where to start? Try one of these:

  • Sign up for a class on something you’ve never tried before: cooking, dancing, art, golf
  • Learn a new language (and if possible, visit the country they speak it in to use your new skills and experience a new culture)
  • Attend an event or speaker alone—force yourself to meet new people and spark up conversations
  • Have “The Money Talk” with your significant other
  • Try a new recipe
  • Train for a race or triathlon
  • Experience one of Arizona’s beautiful hikes (bring lots of water!)
  • Sign up to be a mentor for troubled youth or get involved in a volunteer program
  • Join Toastmasters and up your public speaking game
  • Declutter your home and sell or donate all your extra stuff

Have a financial challenge you’re ready to tackle? We’d love to help. Our goal isn’t just to get your money in order, we want to educate you so you can make confident money moves on your own. Contact us today and we’ll meet you outside your comfort zone (or in our office!)

Photo by Matt Sclarandis on Unsplash