5 Questions to Help You Break Through Your Comfort Zone

04/01/2015 10:44 am ET | Updated Jun 01, 2015

I stand on the edge, not knowing if I am shivering from the cold or the fear. There is only one way down from here and I can literally feel my feet and legs shaking in my ski boots. I can feel my heart racing, thumping through my chest. My palms are sweating and the self-talk in my head is buzzing, "who do you think you are?", "I'm not good enough," "You'll never be able to do it." I want to jump but to say I am a little nervous would be an understatement.

I decide to do it....

I jump...


When we talk about being outside our comfort zone we all have different ideas of what this means. For some it is building up the courage to talk to that girl, putting their hand up for that big promotion, speaking in public or deciding to make a life change, or simply telling the truth.

When I think of being outside my comfort zone I think of this...I think of standing at the top of a mountain full of fresh powder, at the top of a run -- maybe it's full of trees or moguls, it always appears incredibly steep and yet I always chose to take the leap.

I have had these feelings of fear many times in my life; going to a new school as a teenager, travelling overseas for the first time, stepping up to grow my business, or the time I got to fly a plane or jump out of one, to when I have dived with sharks or been in an inflatable zodiac boat in the icy Antarctic waters looking for a humpback whale, only to look down and see it's eye ball staring up at us as it glided effortlessly under our boat.

Sometimes it is having the courage to watch my children as they do that ski run ahead of me.

As Brene Brown says "you can't get to courage without walking through vulnerability" and I know that every time I have gone to step out of my comfort zone, I have found my raw self, sitting there feeling vulnerable.

The Cambridge dictionary defines comfort zone as "A situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested."

Don't get me wrong -- one of my favorite things to do is to sit on my lounge with a glass of wine in my hand, watching a movie with my family. I also need this in my life, it is easy, safe and comfortable to be relaxed and surrounded by my loved ones.

Maybe it is a result of turning 40 this year, but I find myself looking inward, curious as to why I keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone? I am not an adrenaline junkie; it is somehow deeper than that. The truth is, that when I step outside of my comfort zone, I am learning new things, living life to the fullest, experiencing something exciting, knowing that when I move past the fear, that is where the magic happens.

5 Questions to Help You Break Through Your Comfort Zone.

1. Am I hesitating on doing this because it is "wrong" or because I have fear?
Sometimes when we get that funny feeling in our stomach it is our instincts, but other times it is nerves. If it is nerves, maybe this is something worth trying.

2. When I am old or on my deathbed, will I look back and wish I had lived life more to the full?
This is a reminder that we should not wait on "tomorrow" or "someday," to do what we desire. Today, in the moment, holds the best and most definitive time to do a thing.

3. What is important about doing this? Why am I doing it?
The reason behind doing something is the ultimate motivator - or sometimes it's the warning bell saying not to do it.

4. How will you feel when you have done this?
Is the reward worth it? If you can imagine feelings of pride and accomplishment maybe it is worth a shot.

5. If you still cannot decide, think of someone you admire and respect. Ask yourself what you admire about that person - what advice do you think they would give you in this situation?
This question sometimes helps me see the forest from the trees -- to remove the cloud of emotion and find the best path forward.

So, next time you find yourself sitting on the edge of a decision with your palms sweating and your knees shaking, I hope you choose to live life to the fullest and to step up and be the best version of yourself.

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Photo credit: Lesley Chisholm