11 tested ways to get out of our comfort zone
I’ve run two marathons, completed an Ironman, and I put everything I had into them. My best time was a respectable 3:21 and that was running six days & fifty miles a week with speed work. I kept track of every run and reviewed it the other day; it was intense.
I’ve also done ultramarathons and a Tough Mudder.
We get nowhere until we get out of our comfort zone.
Mental Toughness is not just physical. Most relate mental toughness to physical tasks because we can measure it and it is indeed difficult. However, we all can improve our mental toughness.
We just need to get uncomfortable.
My 4th book on mental toughness was published specifically for parents. I wrote every single morning for 1-2 hours. It is uncomfortable and some days are worse than others. But, my belief is that they don’t give bestsellers away.
1. Want to vs. have to…
If we are not doing what we love to do, what’s the point? Not many people get better at things they don’t enjoy. Our mental toughness is aligned with our passion, perspective, and gratitude. If we dwell on the things that we don’t have, we are operating from a viewpoint of scarcity instead of abundance. Remember, we focus on negatives in the darkroom.
2. Start with the hardest…
One of the PGA Tour players that I worked with taught me tons about mental toughness. Before Scot Stallings won his 1st PGA Tour victory, we were at an event that changed the way I approach life. He had to complete a putting drill in order to leave the course. There was one putt that was unreal and I figured he would save the toughest putt for last. He pointed at the Rasputin of holes and said,“ I’m starting with that one!”
Tracy Thorsell graduated with a degree in electrical engineering from the Naval Academy and speaks five languages. She took Chinese in High-school because it was the toughest.
Too often we start with and only want the easy tasks. Get uncomfortable and build our mental toughness by starting with the hardest task.
We get confidence and get momentum from accomplishing the most difficult first.
3. Sit in a different seat & go a different route…
When I was a University professor, I had no seating arrangements, but people sat in the same seat every time. We seek comfort and we are creatures of habit. That is why we congregate around the same area and drive the same route. Go a different way is a simple way to engage the mind and get out of our comfort zone.
4. Be Honest…
I was once asked if I had seen a certain movie. I actually lied that I had because I wanted to be in on the conversation.
Honesty with others is tough, but honesty with ourselves is way more difficult. Changing for the better is a good thing, however, it requires honest self-assessment. Not many people can be honest because it makes them vulnerable.
5. Connect with others…
Mushrooms and negatives grow in the dark. It takes little mental toughness to isolate. But, our condition changes with the books we read and the people we meet and interact with. Get out of the comfort zone by meeting one new person a day.
6. Suit up & show up…
A boxing coach, Jason Minnick, told me that the boxers who are mentally tough are the ones that show up… after a beating.
The toughest part is indeed showing up. Too often we allow one mess up or mistake to define us. It doesn’t matter how bad we messed up, learn from it, and get back on the path.
7. Don’t complain…
John Wooden said, “Don’t complain, whine or make excuses, your friends won’t need them and your foes won’t believe you.” Life without complaint means responding to situations and people, not reacting.
8. Face the fear & do it anyway…
I wrote NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness because FEAR is the biggest thing keeping us from our goals.
Everything we want in life is on the other side of that fear. The story that we tell ourselves either lifts us up or tears us down. Everyone is afraid, but few addresses it. Get out of the comfort zone and just do it, whatever your “it” is.
9. Trust others…
My friend Keith Tyner took his family on an R.V. trip out west. For every person he encountered and had a conversation, he simply gave them a little book reading light. Do you know how many people struggled with taking that small gift?
I hate trusting others because it means I may get hurt. I hate asking for help because it means I’m stupid.
That’s the story I tell myself that brings me down. The better story is I need to trust others because we can help each other. The odd thing is that no one wants to ask for help, but everyone wants to give it.
10. Pray & pray again…
Get uncomfortable by surrendering the things we cannot control. If prayer doesn’t’ work the first time, then pray again.
11. Trust your gut…
Our gut is our in-born smoke detector. It’s our GPS. However, it’s a tough choice whether we listen to it or not. I am convinced we are right more often than not when we trust our gut. However, we will still be wrong on occasion, we just can’t let our mistakes to dictate how we operate. When we trust our gut, it simply reflects that we are confident.
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology Coach. His company DRB & associates is based in Indianapolis. Some clients have included: University of Notre Dame, Marriott, and Walgreens. Check out the most recent books on Mental Toughness-