3 Important Reasons Women Need to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

Jan 24, 2023
Woman looking off in the distance as she stands near a wooden gate and pasture, thinking about getting out of her comfort zone.

My mother-in-law is planning a trip to Hawaii next month. She’s never been there before and despite the drain on her savings, she’s excited about going.

She’s 81 years old and stepping out of her comfort zone.

I want to be like her when I’m 80.

There are three traits my mother-in-law exhibits: independence, self-confidence, and a sense of joy and fulfillment. I believe she maintains them by regularly moving out of her comfort zone.

Developing those 3 traits are important reasons women of all ages should test the boundaries of their comfort zone.

But it is especially true for us as we get older. This is the time we begin to doubt our abilities, feel we offer less to the world and are too old to chase after dreams.

Why do women have a difficult time leaving their comfort zone?

In this day and age, it may sound surprising to hear a lot of women struggle with leaving their comfort zone. But many women do.

With so many opportunities available to us, and attitudes opening and changing about women’s roles, why do we hesitate at stepping out of our comfort zone?

Fear is the big umbrella that covers a multitude of excuses.

There’s the all-too-common fear of failure. Which is closely related to “what will people think of me?” Example: I need to act my age so I don’t embarrass myself or anyone else.

We feel leaving our comfort zone will take too much effort, time, or money. We may not be entirely happy, but at least we know what we are working with. Example: I hate my job, but it pays the rent.

Sometimes we struggle with making changes because we just don’t understand what it is we need to do differently. We may not be able to even figure out the “why.” As in, why do I need things to change?

Mostly, we fear damaging relationships if we appear too confident, self-centered, or independent. And expanding the size of your comfort zone can affect those things.

I believe this is the most compelling motivation for women to stay within the confines of their comfort zone.

We are raised to understand the importance of being a good wife, mother, daughter, and/or employee.

We’ve learned to put the needs of others before ours. We consider how our actions and words will affect their actions, thoughts, and feelings.

For example, we may subconsciously think that others will feel like failures if we share success. Or we may worry about making others uncomfortable if we state our opinion.

How the people closest to us feel about us is vital to our existence. Unlike men, we are judged quicker and harder if we are not successful. And slightly feared when we are.

But it is so important for women to expand their comfort zones to maintain or improve their quality of life as they age.

Moving outside of your comfort zone builds independence.

There’s no question about it. Developing independence gives women more control over their lives.

Gaining independence may mean stepping out of our comfort as we learn how to take care of ourselves, physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially.

The truth is that our support system (the people willing and able to offer assistance) becomes smaller as we grow older.

We may feel like a burden to those we love. So we hesitate to ask for help even when really need it. Or we allow others to decide what’s best for us based on what’s convenient for them.

But the more independent or self-reliant we become the less likely we are to be at the mercy of others. We can make decisions based on our best interests and basic needs.

We step out of the comfort zone jail. Instead of being restricted by the demands or expectations of others, we become empowered to think and decide for ourselves.

Independence actually helps us become more adaptable. We build our reserve of options and gain more control over the choices we make.

We learn what we can do for ourselves and when we may need help. Resentment and frustration about our real or perceived abilities and options lessen.

The more we do for ourselves, the more we will do for ourselves. That includes stepping out of our comfort zone if we need to.

Gaining more independence helps a woman not only feel more self-sufficient, it builds her self-confidence.

Expanding your comfort zone improves self-confidence

Gaining more independence helps eliminate the fear of unknown situations. It also encourages you to overcome self-limiting beliefs like “I can’t do this.”

Each time we get out of our comfort zone we are facing those fears and beliefs. No matter how successful we are, just doing it builds confidence in our ability to be “uncomfortable.”

Getting more comfortable with being uncomfortable helps us accept we are less than perfect but willing to learn and grow. We see a purpose for trying, and obtain a sense of hope that things can be better.

We become more likely to express our true feelings. And less likely to let others tell us how we should feel or behave.

We learn to tolerate less of the things that offend us. By doing so, we gain self-respect. Gradually, we learn to say “no” or “I disagree” without guilt or fear.

Leaving our comfort zone has the potential to boost our self-confidence. Then we can stop thinking about what we can’t do and turn to thinking more about what we can do.

Expanding our comfort zones creates more independence and builds self-confidence which is important for a woman’s sense of well-being.

But leaving our comfort zone also invites opportunities for more joy and fulfillment.

Find happiness and purpose outside your comfort zone

Because we feel more self-confident and allow ourselves to be more independent, we gain the freedom to pursue our own dreams, goals, and interests.

Leaving our comfort zone provides new experiences that can lead to greater personal growth.

We can develop our creativity or reveal skills and strengths we weren’t aware of.

Stepping out of our comfort zones opens the doors to new perspectives. With each new experience, we have the opportunity to change our attitude, about ourselves, others, and the world around us.

As women, it is important for us to discover or rediscover what we truly love. What activities do we honestly enjoy doing? What people? Places?

For years, we did for others, ignored our needs, let go of our dreams.

But as our children grow and our life roles change, we must take risks and step away from habits and routines that no longer serve a necessary purpose.

Putting the needs of others first causes us to forget who we are as individuals. And when we no longer have those responsibilities to occupy us, we are left wondering, “what now?”

We aren’t even sure that what once lit a fire within us can be rekindled.

We, as women, must find the things that inspire us. We do that by not only discovering what we are capable of (independence and self-confidence), but also by uncovering the thing or things that bring us the most joy and happiness.

Fulfillment comes from engaging in things we are passionate about. And we won’t know for sure what those things are if we get too comfortable with keeping things the same.

We may discover we can live a different way, bringing all our joy, independence, and self-confidence along with us.

How to make stepping outside of your comfort zone a little easier.

If we think in terms of expanding our comfort zone instead of leaving our comfort zone, the whole idea becomes more reasonable and less scary.

For some of us, that means taking baby steps toward trying something new. For others that could mean doing something familiar in a different way.

A support system or buddy system is also a good way to begin. Connecting with like-minded people with similar interests or hobbies can be one way of moving out of our comfort zone.

Accept encouragement from friends and family and ignore their criticism. Be a model of inspiration, not a victim of excuses.

The positive consequences of stepping out of our comfort zone are very interrelated. As one area grows so does another.

So taking that first step, no matter how small will lead to wonderful things in all areas of our lives. 

Things women must consider as we step out of our comfort zones

Women often take on responsibilities automatically, especially when it comes to family. We are reluctant to delegate these tasks. They give us a sense of purpose, value, and importance.

However, an overabundance of obligations leaves us mentally, emotionally, and physically drained.

So sometimes, staying in our comfort zone is necessary to do to avoid overwhelm, exhaustion, and crankiness.

But we shouldn’t hide in there.

It’s important for women to maintain a certain amount of balance in our lives so we can avoid those extreme, and often negative, feelings.

This is why it becomes a “must” to step out of our comfort zone once in a while. It resets the balance between familiar and new, comfortable and challenging, boring and exciting.

It helps a woman feel vibrant and alive inside. It reminds us that we still have value and purpose, especially as we grow older and wonder about our place in the world.

At any age, young or old or in between, gaining independence, building self-confidence, and discovering what brings us joy and fulfillment are important for a woman’s overall happiness and well-being.

Just ask my mother-in-law. She’ll tell ya.

Feel a bit guilty for not taking better care of yourself?

Wish you had more time for it?

The Self-Care Mini-Workbook will help you discover what you are doing or could be doing to enhance your self-care practices? Give it a try for free!

Click here!

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