If you feel like you are stuck in a rut, this post is for you! The author, Cheryl Rhody, has an appetite for ambition, a vivid imagination and an enthusiasm for public relations, marketing, digital media and ultimately brand amplification. You can connect with her on Linkedin or follow her on Twitter @CherylHRhody.
Let’s face it. We are creatures of habit and often find ourselves getting quite comfortable in our daily routines. While the security of the predictable can be quite soothing, more often than not we are actually in a rut.
The hardest part in letting go of the proverbial “safety blanket” is to first recognize it as an obstacle to growth and development. These bumps in the road can be as obvious as getting out of a bad relationship or making a major cross-country, career change to those that require smaller leaps of faith such as trying a different restaurant or picking up a new hobby.
No matter how big or small the change, the only thing that matters is that you have to take action and start somewhere! In my personal experience, the more often I take myself out of my “comfort zone” on a daily basis, the easier it gets for me to ultimately make those seemingly dreadful “life-changing” decisions.
Getting started is easier than you think! The recipe for thinking outside of your box is simple: Add a dash of creativity, a hint of curiosity, a pinch of courage and mix well.
Here are a few of my favorite exercises in creativity that help me expand my horizons:
- Try on a new pair of shoes: Take a look at the situation from a variety of unique and diverse perspectives. Try to envision yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would that person act? What choice would they make? By viewing the situation in a different light, you can often spot out choices or solutions you would have normally overlooked as being possibilities.
- Think in reverse: Instead of viewing something from beginning to end, think backwards! Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish? By having an end goal in sight, the puzzle pieces often fall more easily into place.
- Map out a plan of action: You wouldn’t go on a road trip with a map, right? Navigating your way through life shouldn’t be any different! Start by making a list of personal qualities, ambitions, goals, fears, desired characteristics and what makes you ultimately happy. It will be much easier to reach your destination if you know where you are going and what you’re looking for in life.
- Explore new environments: Change your scenery! Go outside, explore a new city, travel a different route — just switch things up! A new backdrop can spark your imagination and provide you with a different perspective.
- Be child-like: Barriers and obstacles often don’t exist to children because they have yet to encounter them. Make it a habit to question things and discover new and even better solutions or facts about things. Think about what potential obstacles stand in your way. Then remove them from the equation. You might just find that they aren’t truly standing in your way after all!
- Try, then try again: The willingness to explore new ideas or ways of thinking not only requires a great deal of courage, but it also involves a dose of acceptance. The fear of failure can be paralyzing. But you can’t fail if you don’t try. Recognizing that you made a mistake is a powerful opportunity for you to growth and to avoid making the same mistake twice. Keep in mind that when you are searching for the answer to a question or the solution for a problem, there is often more than one “correct” outcome. It’s a matter of finding the best fit.
Breaking down your personal barriers to change may appear to be a daunting task. It can be overwhelming and uncomfortable, both mentally and physically. However, by taking control of your life and exposing yourself to the world around you, an environment that breeds success and fulfillment is created. Ultimately, isn’t that better than living in a cardboard container?
Readers, how do you step out of your comfort zone?