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How to Stretch the Boundaries of Your Comfort Zone: Use the Gift of Beginner’s Mind

“Go out of your comfort zone!”  We hear this phrase a lot, don’t we?  What does it take to push the edge of our personal boundaries to step outside of our comfort zone?   It’s not so simple.  It looks and feels different for each of us so it’s not a “one size fits all” process.  It’s definitely not a destination either.  However, when you are able to stretch out of the comfortable into the uncomfortable, the opportunity to learn new things about yourself is limitless.

Learn About You

Some of the ways you learn about yourself is through the emotions you feel as you are trying something new, something different.  So why is that?  Well, you are taking a risk and moving into unfamiliar territory.  The unknown is scary.  You don’t quite know what will happen, how you will react; feelings of nervousness, apprehension, and fearfulness come to the surface.  When you hold on and move through those emotions, and do that thing you told yourself you couldn’t do, you begin to feel different.  A positive, new energy emerges, confidence and a belief in yourself take root.  Yes, and you may even find yourself asking, “Why did I think I couldn’t do this?”

How do you begin?

You can approach the feeling of taking a risk by placing your focus on, “I’m learning something new and it’s ok if I make a mistake.”  This mindset supports you as you work through the fear that comes up when you move into this uncomfortable space of trying something new.  At the end of the day, happiness is what we are seeking, right?  So what if Happiness was on the other side of fear and you just needed to take that first step?

Beginner’s Mind, An Attitude

What I offer to you is a concept from Zen Buddhism called Shoshin or Beginner’s Mind.  A Beginner’s Mind,  according to Wikepedia, “…refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconception when studying a subject, even when learning about something at a very advanced level, just as a beginner in that subject would.”  Beginner’s Mind is an Attitude.  Why is that important?  Because we can choose to shift and adjust our attitudes based on how we see ourselves and our world.

The minute we say, “I know all this already”, is the minute we shut ourselves down to possibilities.  You may know something on an intellectual level but to live it and connect it with your heart is a different experience.  Use a Beginner’s Mind to embrace curiosity, learning, and opportunity.  Leave judgements and preconception behind.  Wouldn’t this be a great approach to stepping outside your comfort zone – the one that has gotten way too comfy?

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the experts minds there are few”.  – Shunryu Suzuki

What are some areas in your life that you can have an attitude of Beginner’s Mind?  Perhaps you can start looking at areas that interest you but thought were out of reach.  What are some of the questions you have?  How can you use your curiosity to experience those areas and start answering the questions today?

In Courage,

Pam