fluffy sheep sitting on a bench in his comfort zone

As small business owners, how to step our of your comfort zone is a perennial question and such an important one to answer, and it’s crucial that we learn to make progress in this area. As Susan Jeffers says, “feel the fear and do it anyway”! But here at Tabono, we also know – from experience and from working with so many other women running their own businesses – that sometimes this can be really really hard!

So what causes us to hide and hold ourselves back from getting out of our comfort zone?

  • Feeling fear. We might just be scared. But this fear can mean many different things. Sometimes it’s a fear that we will fail or look silly. Sometimes the reverse is true. We fear we will be a success and then wonder what the knock-on from that could be on other areas of our lives and how we would cope with that.
  • Not being good enough. This is a real killer. Sometimes, even though our rational brain knows exactly what we’re capable of, we can be our own worst enemy. We continue to tell ourselves that we’re just not good enough or ask ourselves “why would anyone want to buy from me?”. Sound familiar?
  • Comparisons or comparisonitis! This is something we hear over and over again. You follow people you think are relevant and you should keep up with on social media because you do similar things. And then, inevitably, that little voice starts to taunt you “she’s better than me” “why is she so busy and I’m not?”. 
  • Imposter Syndrome – a little bit of all of the above all rolled into one!! Imposter syndrome is when you think you’re not good enough, that you’re going to get ‘caught out’ for doing something you’re not qualified enough for / too young for / too old for / not experienced enough, that you’re being judged and others do not think what you do is any good!! Is this true? Almost all of the time, NO! Do we have any evidence to prove our negative thoughts are true? Almost all of the time, NO! Do we have evidence to the contrary? Almost all of the time, YES! Generally this is just a complete crisis of confidence that means we stay hidden and don’t play big or even, don’t play at all. Which is such a huge shame!

Why is it important that we step out of our comfort zones?

Someone out there (or more accurately, lots of someones) wants exactly what you do and what you are. They want that unique combination of who you are and the skills or products you possess to fill a gap they desperately need help with. So rather than saying to yourself “why me?”, perhaps what you should really be saying is “why not me?”. 

In our membership community we often spend time talking about gettingout of our comfort zones. About imposter syndrome, confidence issues and they make us hide rather than get out there. Here are a couple of examples of our members who have recently stepped up:

  • Hannah Smith is otherwise known as The Hambridge Artist. She produces beautiful artwork and is a Not On The High Street partner. In February, Hannah was featured in the magazine Buckinghamshire and Berkshire Life, with a 3 page piece about her background her work. Not only has the article given Hannah fantastic exposure to a new audience, but it was built her confidence and she gained a lot of positive feedback. This is what she said:

Confidence and increase in sales and exposure. Most crucially endorsement. I can shout to the rooftops buy my art, but the minute it’s endorsed by a journalist the customer really trusts that and I’ve had an amazing increase in sales as a result.

Hannah Smith, The Hambridge Artist

Our second example is Tracy Hammond, a Business Services Manager who loves working with owner run businesses to improve their businesses and lives. Tracy was uncertain how to market herself and so was tending to ‘play small’. As a result, people didn’t necessarily get what services she offers and for whom. After working out exactly what it was that made her tick, Tracy re-invented her elevator pitch and went networking, where she received very positive feedback and approaches from people who wanted to work with her. Tracy said:

It was down to my coaching with you both that I got the confidence.  Then having words that resonated with me that gave me the confidence to say what I needed to say without hiding behind the words.  I became a little more bold.

Tracy Hammond

Tips to help you step up and step out

If you’re hiding and and staying firmly in your comfort zone, you know you should really be shouting out your message and shining your light. Here are some tips to help you to step up and step out:

1) Recognise the areas where you feel you’ve been holding yourself back.

To get started, we need to know what we are working with. So, if you were reading the first part of this blog and recognising some of your own traits and barriers, then start by identifying those. What do you do that frustrates you because you know that, if you could just get past it, you would be increasing your chances of success? These are the areas you need to focus on expanding your comfort zone and getting outside it!

2) Pick one small thing each month that will help you grow and step out.

This is where we want to start to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We don’t tend to like change or perceived scary situations. But what we actualy want is to keep flexing our confidence muscle to make it more familiar with those scary situations and get a bit more relaxed each time. So ask yourself – how can you make a bit of progress each week or month? 

3) Start collecting evidence of your successes.

As I mentioned earlier, we don’t often have evidence that our worst fears are true! We usually do have evidence that we can do the things we want to do, and that they are well received. Unfortunately we tend to focus on the negatives or the worries instead! Take some time to look back at positive encouragement, testimonials, words of thanks, and general affirmations to help boost your confidence and self-belief.

4) Be consistent to keep the circle stretched and not let it close back around you.

Keep these practises up. The more you push yourself to keep going and building your confidence, the bigger your comfort zone gets. If you don’t do new things, or you let go of things that you’re starting to get more comfortable with, that zone will shrink. And we don’t want that!! So, if you build up the courage to do that video on social media for instance, don’t stop at one! Set yourself a task of scheduling these in regularly so you get used to it and reap the rewards. Don’t let it slink to the back of the pile again and let it go!

5) Find a supportive tribe.

One of the most helpful things we think you can do is to surround yourself with positive, encouraging people. Not everyone in our lives understands what it takes to build our businesses, but we know if you find the right support network you will get that encouragement you need! If you fancy finding out more about how we help lots of women do just that, take a look at our free one month trial.

Finally, if getting out of your comfort zone is something that you struggle with, why not take the above as a little challenge? Choose something that will take yourself out of your comfort zone, even if it’s just a little bit. Push yourself, and using the points above, give it a go! And, of course, let us know how you get on!