Everyone likes their own particular comfort zone. I guess that’s where the name comes from! It’s like watching a movie you’ve seen many times, or putting on your favourite outfit. You know it. It fits. You’re comfortable.

But when it comes to getting out of your comfort zone. Are you the type of person who embraces that phrase? Or does it simply fill you with dread? Or maybe, like me, you’re a bit of both?

There are some times when I enjoy getting out of my comfort zone. For me, one example of this would be exercise. I am not, and have never been, the sporty type. So ten or so years ago, the idea of me doing sporty ‘things’ was just bizarre. But since then I’ve walked four marathons – all at night – and climbed a mountain (only Ben Nevis, but for me, that may as well have been Everest!).

But there are also times when I really don’t enjoy it. A prime example of this would be networking. Like many people, I absolutely hate walking into a room full of people that I don’t know. And the idea of striking up a conversation with one of them is scary to say the least. I’ll do it when I have to, but it’s by no means easy for me. Luckily for the company, Chloe is brilliant at it!

Sometimes though, it’s a case of just being open to trying new things. I’ve written on this blog before about my journey with Bullet Journals and Vision Boards. In that case, being in my comfort zone (lists!) was working well for me, but getting out of it resulted in improvements that I had never either considered or thought I needed.

Getting out of your comfort zone when you run a business.

As entrepreneurs, we can’t afford to stand still. If we do things in the way we’ve always done them, how can we expect to move our businesses forward?

You can’t not spend time networking. No matter how much you’d like to, you can’t avoid the figures for ever. And yes, you definitely do need to reach out to media outlets, and stand up and talk to people.

So what are my top three tips for getting out of your comfort zone?

1) Plan, Plan Plan!

If I know I’m going to (or indeed have to!) get out of my comfort zone, the key for me is good planning. I like to know what to expect and allow myself time to prepare for it. With the marathon example, it’s about researching the kit that would be needed. And with the networking, it’s about getting the delegate list in advance, so that I can figure out who I should be approaching, rather than just picking people at random!

2) Take someone with you!

There’s no rule that says you have to do new, challenging things on your own. If you choose carefully, you can learn from that person – especially if the thing that’s out of your comfort zone is actually inside theirs! And if not, you’ll have someone to face the unknown right next to you!

3) Start small

It’s like anything. Start at the beginning. Take baby steps. If you know there’s something you want to achieve – like being better at networking – break your goal down into smaller steps. You don’t have to dive straight into an event with a hundred people. Choose something smaller with a much shorter delegate list.

So how about it? If you could choose one thing to get yourself out of your comfort zone, what would it be? Why not make a plan on how you’re going to achieve it?

(And if you want to know, I took 7 people with me last time I did a night marathon – and they all smashed it!)

Shine night walk
Team Inspire: Shine Walk 2018, London