How to get out of your comfort zone.

People love building walls. We put up borders, fences and comfort zone walls all around us. They define neighborhoods, communities, homes and buildings; we even put up intangible walls we call personal space.

Hunters. Gatherers. Wall Builders- I think it’s third on the list.

So why should we be surprised when we build up our comfort zone walls? More importantly, why do we even have comfort zones in the first place?

Simple. Your comfort zone is a dangerously safe space. And it’s as addicting as crack.

If your life is a computer, your brain is the operating system.

Whether you like it or not, your brain is wired to seek out the path of least resistance. To avoid uncomfortable things like pain, risk and uncertainty. In fact, if you’re on the road toward your goals, it’s highly likely you are at odds with your own brain.

Comfort zones keep you from getting scraped and bruised as you press through toward achievement. They insulate you from risk, rejection, discomfort and pain.

You wake up each day on fire, ready to conquer the world. Rejection rears its ugly head and BAM, you’re back in your shell like a hermit crab, waiting for all the bad guys to go away. Safely bubble wrapped in your walls where it’s comfortable and warm.

“I’ll try again tomorrow.”

And what happens as you pass time in your comfort zone? Your business, your plans, your life…goes nowhere. Today looks just like yesterday. And tomorrow’s looking no different.

The carbon copy life.

Comfort zones create stagnancy because nothing great happens in there. No growth, no stretch marks, no lessons learned. Just a smooth facade of sunshine, flowers and rainbows.

The truth is, discomfort, risk, rejection…they’re all signs you ARE on the right track. But who wants those for companions? The answer…whoever wants to succeed.

So, how do you overcome this nasty addiction?

Simply, you rewire the motherboard:

Develop a crystal clear vision of what life looks like when you achieve your goal. The clearer the better. Connect with it emotionally because emotions live in the same part of your brain as habits and identity.

Next, make that vision part of your daily routine. I like to read my vision statement, along with some other empowering affirmations, aloud to myself every morning.

Use that mental picture as your sounding board to make decisions and operate from that space. For example, “will this move me closer to my vision?” or, “is this a decision a person who has achieved my goal would make?”

Expect the bumps, they are a good thing. They’re good because they are road signs that you’re going in the right direction. If you’re heading to California and the road sign says you have 350 miles to go, you can either say, “350?!! That’s so far!” or you can say, “Excellent, I’m en route to California!”

Take imperfect action every day. Do something, big or small. Be fanatical about taking at least one small step toward your goal before your head hits the pillow. With some momentum, you will build confidence in yourself and reignite your passion.

You’ve only got one life. Make it matter!