Gini Dietrich

Begin to Move Out of Your Comfort Zone

By: Gini Dietrich | July 12, 2010 | 

I rode my first ever time trials yesterday morning…a scary and nerve-wrecking experience. It was 50K (just a bit more than 31 miles) and it was two loops in the corn and soybean fields. The sun was fierce, the blacktop was radiating heat up, the wind was blowing right into our faces in at least two directions, it was hilly, and I had no idea what to expect.

As I rode, trying mightily hard to stay on the back wheel of my partner while it was her turn to pull, and trying even harder to push my body really hard so as not to disappoint her when it was my turn to pull, I thought about something my friend Nat Slavin said to me last week. He said something to the effect that I tend to take risk and to move out of my comfort zone quite often. He said this in the context of asking me to speak at an upcoming event, on the topic of how to move out of your comfort zone with ease.

I’m not going to pretend I wasn’t scared to death. Heck, I’m not even going to pretend I didn’t want to turn the car around and go back to bed yesterday morning. If it hadn’t been a two person time trial and I had someone counting on me to be there, I might very well have been a no-show.

But I showed. And I rode. And I finished. And I was completely out of my comfort box. Just like most of us, I have the fear of the unknown and, other than watching time trials during the Tour (which are A LOT shorter), I really had no idea what to expect. And that is scary. Moving out of my comfort zone with ease is just an illusion!

But that leads me to believe that we really are all capable of doing anything we put our minds to doing. Is it with ease? Likely not. Is it without being really scared? Definitely not. Might you even puke a time or two? For sure! But in business, in life, in athleticism, in your hobbies, none of us will get better if we don’t take risk and climb out of our comfort boxes…consistently.

So, I ask you, what is one thing you’re going to do this week – just one tiny thing – to take some risk and begin to move out of your comfort zone?

P.S. Don’t forget to follow Spin Sucks on Twitter and don’t forget the deadline for The Predictable Success contest is in nine days.

Photo courtesy of Christopher Wilocki, taken during the two-man time trials in Herscher, Il yesterday.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • I once heard the quote that there is no courage without fear. I think it applies.

    Every successful leader I’ve ever worked with learns how to manage their comfort zone and push it when necessary. When they do it enough, they learn how to teach and coach others to do it as well. That’s when they become capable of creating real, meaningful change.

    As always Gini, thanks for taking a topic like this and putting your own experiences out there to help us understand it.


    • I guess this also goes to why I stand up and speak in front of hundreds of people, why I push myself to allow for interruption, and why I’m always looking for new ways to coach and mentor, while still getting my work complete. You once told me to think about coaching in ways that are in front of clients so I can coach while working. That really hit home for me – it was a great “out of my comfort zone” leadership lesson from you.

  • Great topic Gini! We have no chance of realizing success unless we take necessary risks. Yes, it might be scary but if you jump in, you’ll never know the outcome. Like one of your friends commented on your facebook status, now that you’ve done this, you know you can do it and better yet, you have a new goal to achieve!

    • Yes, now I know I want to break 20 mph average AND place! But you didn’t answer the question!

  • Great post, Gini. I love your challenge- get uncomfortable with the little things and then the bigger challenges will be easier (not comfortable, but at least a bit less scary).

    Always ask yourself, what is the downside? Most of the time it is just a bruised ego.

    • OMG Carol! You are so right about it being a bruised ego! I definitely bruised my ego yesterday, but now I have a goal to shoot for in the next race.

      And…you didn’t answer my question!

  • GIni, this is a GREAT post! What struck me while reading this (as I’m sitting in a court rom waiting to be questioned for jury duty) is that your description of taking risks is very much like building muscle. The more frequently we lift, we cause little tears in the muscle that then break down before building up even stronger. Just like taking risks, right? It’s not always comfortable, but the more we do it, the stronger we get. Thank you very much for the inspiration!

    • First, I didn’t know you could use the Internet while on jury duty! Cooool!

      Secondly, you’re absolutely right!

      Lastly, you didn’t answer my question!

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Begin to Move Out of Your Comfort Zone | The Fight Against Destructive Spin --

  • As I have many types explained to clients and staff we have to be comfortable with being un-comfortable.

    To be able to embrace the concept of self education and know that we can stretch ourselves outside of our everyday comfortability is an amazing way to push to the next level of growth in life and in our careers.

    Love your example and how relevant it is to the topic of change.

    • You are so right…and you’re right that it’s not just in business or in personal, but in both!

      And…you didn’t answer my question!

  • Pingback: Tweets that mention Begin to Move Out of Your Comfort Zone | The Fight Against Destructive Spin --

  • “Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.”

    So proud of you, Gini. You are an inspiration to all of us who are looking to take a risk in our lives and get out of our comfort zones. I’ve heard all my life “nothing ventured, nothing gained”. This post hits home for me (especially this week) as I make some pretty big life transitions. This helped me to remember that it won’t always be easy, but it will hopefully be worth it. Excited to take some steps out of my comfort zone.

    • What are these life transitions?! Are you moving to Chicago?? 🙂

      So, what is one tiny risk you’re going to take this week to get to you those transitions?

      • Well, granted I already made this risk, but walking out of a full-time job to pursue my real passions. But as for this week, I would say it’s just continuing to trust that the risk I am taking will be successful and worth it. A more tangible risk is starting to work out again – have taken a break with a crazy busy few weeks – so getting back in there and feeling the burn! 🙂

        P.S. as for your first comment, gotta love Southwest….and gotta love convincing entire AD team to come honky tonky’n.

        • You are crazy! LOL!! Come and visit us!

          And, you are going to be successful and it will be VERY worth it! You’ve already done the hardest part. Not to say it won’t be hard, but making the decision, taking the risk, and walking out there on the tight rope is already done. Now you can focus on not falling off!

        • “If you want to walk on water, you’ve got to get out of the boat!” John Ortberg

          Did it a year ago. Always say, find something you love doing and figure out a way to make a living doing it! You’ll do great Courtney!

  • This is one of the best posts you’ve ever written. Watching from the sidelines, it’s so easy to think that everything someone else does, they do fearlessly. You stripped that veil off today in such powerful, human terms. Taking risks that will move us into something we want — job, career, adventure, love, creative passion — it’s going to be uncomfortable until we do it enough.
    Loved that you asked, “What tiny change can you make?” Because that’s what it’s all about. Tiny, tiny changes. We’ve started a FB page for Tiny Changes and would love your ideas, input. Thanks!

    • You know, I think about this all the time. As human beings, we put people on pedestals, watch their success, and think they have no trouble getting there. Then we compare ourselves to them and get frustrated when we have seemingly failure. I guess I really want our community to know that it’s not easy, I fail daily, I make pretty big mistakes, and I get scared to take risk. We are all human. We all do this. Let’s get comfortable talking about it and learning from one another!

      And…you didn’t answer my question!

  • Just signed up for my first-ever race. There is something I like about the adrenaline rush that comes with challenging myself – whether it’s speaking to a new and bigger audience or trying something new and difficult. I think I’m mostly OK with falling on my face once in awhile (I think you have to be) just to get up and try again.
    Great post, Gini. You’re very inspiring.

  • Gini, I think this is my favorite post that you have done ever. And, considering what a great writer you are, well, you amaze me with each post. You know what a big cycling fan I am, you know how cool I think it is that you push yourself with your cycling, and you know I put myself out of my comfort zone with each tennis tourney. Love it, love it and thank you for sharing such a great post!!!

  • Rachael

    Great post Gini!

    “Do one thing every day that scares you”
    -Eleanor Roosevelt

    I think if I buy a bike and start riding to work, I will make this quota. : )

    • And, you young lady, have just answered the question! So get that bike and start out by riding to work one day a week!

  • Hmm, okay need to answer your question. I’ll be writing several baseball posts…a much different style of writing than I’m used to…oh, and promoting peeps to come read the posts. Yep, out of comfort zone.

    • But…aren’t you already doing that??

      • Yep, and living out of the comfort zone for the moment…and it is really good.

  • It’s funny, but our client’s blog post today talks about the same idea. Read his post on the concept of barefoot running and how it relates to living a fulfilling life.

    Just like how living outside your comfort zone can make you feel alive, letting yourself feel the lows of life can add a richness to the highs.

    • P.S. John says stop stealing his blog ideas or your no longer invited to do destination video blogs. 🙂

      • OMG! Did John do time trials yesterday, too?? 🙂 He’s going to die when I go to visit my dad and do a vlog from the exact location he did last week.

  • Time to move out of the comfort zone! Ok Gini, last week I broke the comfort zone by doing an “extreme spin” class! Was supposed to be 90 minutes but the instructor felt like doing 100, so we did. The big deal in this is that a year ago I had surgery to remove a very large fibroid tumor (size of a 6 month pregnancy!) Recovery has been tough. It has taken me a while to regain my strength and endurance. Now, I’m down 3 sizes to a size 6 and did that dang 100 minutes cranking my heart rate the whole time. I know “spin sucks” and I can’t agree more when I’m sucking air but I’m addicted. Personally, my challenges continue to be pushing my comfort level in endurance and strength.
    This weeks challenge, hmmm…Professionally, exciting happenings here at KBK… Bringing our business to a new level nationally with in the Medical Market with a strong push that will give us massive exposure and endorsement support. We’ve developed a proven track record in just over a year and it’s now cranking to the next level. A meeting this week finalizes the time line… As I’m breathing heavy, my team is ecstatic! So, we take the challenge, hit the fast forward button and enjoy the ride!

    • Well, I think it’s apparent that I’m a huge believer in sucking wind during exercise and am very proud of you that you did the extra 10 minutes (though think the instructor could have warned you!). Plus, that kind of spin does NOT suck!

      As for the professional side of things, I’m watching you guys! Super excited for you!!

    • Haha! Spin sucks!!! I love it, Jan. Many, many congrats on your recovery!

  • Congrats! and good job!

    Let’s see… here is my plan for this week.. I am getting up in the morning and working out (WAY out of my comfort zone) and I plan to write more… which is out of my comfort zone obviously for some reason… because I don’t do it nearly enough!
    And lastly, I am starting to get out more and going to learn some marketing 🙂

  • I started working as a 1099 person. First. Time. Ever. It is EXTREMELY uncomfortable knowing it’s all on you to make something happen. At the same time, it is amazingly liberating and I am confident that after a short honeymoon period where I make too many trips to the fridge and spend a little too long following the Tour, I will settle into a very rewarding professional existence.

    • When the Tour is over, you can settle. For now, keep watching!!

  • First of all, congrats on a 50k bike ride! That’s a huge feat, especially considering the training & time involved.

    Secondly, I’m going skydiving – we got rained out last week and had to reschedule (it’s next weekend, but I’m counting it anyway).

    It’s always awkward, but my life is always, always better for pushing boundaries. Always.

    • OMG!! You have to send pictures! That’s one thing I will never do. WAY TOO SCARY!!

  • Here’s my little secret about moving out of my comfort zone: I was terrified of using social media to share anything personal because I feared everyone would know the real me, and realize that I’m a complete dork! In the past year or so,I’ve realized that it is OK to be a complete dork (because everyone else is too, if they are being honest!) Who taught me the most about being myself online? None other than the amazing Gini Dietrich! As always, thanks Gini for a great post, and for inadvertently becoming my friend and mentor, despite my dorkyness and passion for inventing words (and then misspelling the ones that I did not invent!)

    • And now you embrace your dorkiness, do you not?? And we love you more for it!

      • Of course I embrace my dorkiness (although, I spell it dorkyness, because it looks more fun with a “y”!) I learned from the best!

        • I love this, Dave! Stories like these get me even more jazzed about connecting with people online whom I never would have connected with anywhere else. And for me, too, many of them are because of my serendipitous relationship with Gini. Here’s to being dorky and proud! 🙂

        • Daniel,

          At the next wine-thirty, please raise a toast from both of us to Gini: Queen of the proud dorks!

  • After spending the last three and a half years traveling the world, I’ve spent a lot of that outside my comfort zone – learning new languages, taking crazy buses, eating new foods, meeting people every day. But, the other day I realized that there’s always a risk of getting too comfortable in how you do something and the goal is to constantly expand on what makes you uncomfortable.

    So, what will I do that goes beyond my comfort zone this week? Try to find a sublet to be still for a few months to focus on writing instead of using the excuse of being on the road for not doing it.

    • I would say you’re the winner at coming out of your comfort zone! Three and a half years?!? What an incredible, incredible life experience!

  • Darn you, Gini, and your always challenging and articulate posts. Darn you and the bike you rode in on!

    I like this a lot. I’m finding I am challenging myself to get BACK to where my comfort zone was. After kids, starting my business, and reading all your posts it’s difficult to find time for much else. 🙂 I used to enjoy things – bike riding among them – that I have just let slip. So I’m starting to use my bike as primary transportation in town when I can. It seems so silly when compared to your trials and awesome cycling adventures, but it’s a start. I even had to dig out my helmet and pump up the tires…that’s when I knew it would be like starting all over again! I have a list of things I’m working on…I’ll keep you posted.
    And CONGRATULATIONS. You rock.

    • This, literally, made me laugh out loud! You know, this is exactly how I started riding my bike. I’d use it around town. I remember very vividly how frustrating it was because it took FOREVER to get places on the bike. Now, I can’t imagine going any other way. So you’re right, you’re starting over, but it’s so worth it and you’ll find you still enjoy it. I’ll check back in on you to see how it’s going!

  • I’ve done a lot of things that were outside my comfort zone recently, so my immediate reaction to your question was to ignore it and get on with my task list for the day. However, that’s no way to keep stretching and growing and I made myself stop, breathe and reflect on what’s important and how I can challenge myself.

    I’ll be looking thoughtfully the direction I’m taking my business and take action to adjust the course in the areas that aren’t working as I’d like. I’ve been very action oriented recently and it’s time for a strategic look. No matter how many times I’ve worked with others to do this, it’s confronting for me to ask “what do I do well – and love doing – and how can I do more of that?” and “what will I stop doing (or align with others to do) to make that possible?”

    Given this, I really appreciate Randy’s reminder that the challenges we set and face are the very things that help us to help others through teaching and coaching.

    I’ve diarised my first time slot for today.

    Thanks for a great post.

  • I think you also have to consider the fact that being outside your comfort zone might just be your comfort zone. There are many ways to be uncomfortable. Some are uncomfortable in a position of exposure, such as public speaking (or writing…), or being in a decision-making capacity, or simply being a leader. Others are uncomfortable with complacency, predictability and routine. It just so happens that your zone might lie where most others may be uncomfortable, which may give you an edge. Keep it up!

    • Love this different line of thinking, Ken! I hate to get up on stage and speak, but I do it to get out of my comfort zone and fight my introverted tendencies. Because I do that, I definitely have an edge over some of my introverted competitors. Thanks for turning this around a bit!

  • Pingback: Through the PR Looking Glass | Waxing UnLyrical()

  • CatarinaAlexon

    Am frequently out of my comfort zone all over the world. Doesn’t mean that I’m not also lazy. Agree with you that we can achieve anything we want – it’s just a question of how long it takes. The sooner we get out of the comfort zone the faster it will happen.

  • Great post. Your nailed it when you pointed out that we are capable of amazing things, but not without the process of fear, pain, and all of the other gut-wrenching emotions we experience when out of our comfort zone.

    When I go for a run, I find myself hoping that the day will come that I don’t feel like dying from exhaustion during and after my run. But the truth is, if I’m not feeling like dying, I’m not getting much out of the run anyway.

    My goal is to become addicted to living in that state of discomfort. Experiencing it during a workout is just the physical manifestation of the same battle we fight mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

    Time for a run.

    Thanks, Gini!

  • ginidietrich

    @JonHearty Wow! You brought back an oldie. It’s funny – I’ve done several time trials since this post and they’re no longer so scary! May I offer some advice? I used to run. I’ve run three marathons, countless halfs and 10Ks and 5Ks and I stopped cold turkey. Why? I never got addicted to living in that state of discomfort while running. But cycling?! OH BOY!!! Different muscles. Different experience. BUT SO WORTH IT!

  • ginidietrich

    @CatarinaAlexon Oh I’m lazy sometimes, too! 🙂

  • @GiniDietrich I happen to have a nice road bike waiting for me at my friend’s pawn shop. Less than 2 months until I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about! 🙂 Can’t wait!

  • Pingback: Shonali Burke Consulting, Inc. | Through the PR Looking Glass()