When should you leave your comfort zone?

3 October 2022

The comfort zone keeps us in well-honed mechanisms… but not necessarily fulfilling ones. So it can sometimes be useful to get out. But how do you know when the time is right? We tell you more.

The comfort zone differs from person to person. It guarantees a situation under control and a low level of fear and anxiety. So the comfort zone is valid? Not quite. Because beyond that, there’s a little-known territory that’s worth exploring from time to time.

A step sideways to escape your comfort zone

The comfort zone represents our habits, what is familiar and reassuring to us. In his book on the subject*, Hanine Mhannd, entrepreneur, lecturer and author specializing in self-improvement and gamification, explains: “The concept of comfort zone (…) refers to a privileged space where our activities and behaviors correspond to a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk. It provides an optimal state of mental security.”

Familiarity means being “under control”, and this is true in all areas: professional, emotional, financial… As author** and hypnosis and sophrology practitioner Chloé Turgis assures us: “It’s perfectly normal and healthy to frequently seek out the known and the familiar”. But why should we abandon this famous comfort zone that encompasses all our routines and knowledge?

Because it’s all a question of dosage, as the specialist explains. Indulging in comfort and security sometimes prevents us from discovering new skills, encountering new opportunities, living new experiences, questioning ourselves and evolving. It also prevents us from being armed to deal with the unexpected and any situation that, despite all our precautions, is beyond our control.

Expand your professional comfort zone rather than give it up

In her book, author Chloé Turgis invites us to question the difference between what is comfortable, familiar and what is truly good for us. “It would be more appropriate to replace the wording “comfort zone” with “zone of habits” or “safety zone”. (…) What is familiar may suit us on one level, but on another level it is not or no longer necessarily a source of well-being for us.”

In this way, constantly returning to deeply rooted mechanisms and reference points can only limit us in the long run. An idea developed by Hanine Mhannd: “The areas of your life in which you feel you’re not making progress are probably rooted in your limiting beliefs (…) Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’ve integrated certain diktats that sabotage your potential for action and limit your power.”

Changing our habits, our way of looking at events, also means opening up to other realities and taking a fresh look at others and ourselves. It also means offering yourself another, more extensive comfort zone. “The choice of words is crucial. (…) getting out of one’s comfort zone suggests nothing very motivating or reassuring. Hence the alternative proposal to look at things in a more positive and interesting way, to extend one’s comfort zone (…) more attractive in the short term and more useful in the long term”, explains Chloé Turgis.

She uses the terms “exploration zone” or “development zone” to refer to “an intermediate zone that will gradually become an initial comfort zone.

How do you expand your comfort zone?

Getting out of your comfort zone at all costs is not the answer. Hanine Mhannd first invites us to introspect: “The most important thing to define is why you want to get out of it.” In other words, why and in what areas do you need to question your operating mechanisms?

The idea is to challenge yourself, without destabilizing your daily routine and losing control. The author reveals asking yourself this question almost every day: “What could you do new or different today to strive for that best version of yourself, or to explore as many of the possibilities life has to offer as possible?”

What’s the goal? Reaching your full potential. To achieve this, he doesn’t hesitate to set himself goals, or even invent an alter ego, a better version of himself. “Your alter ego isn’t someone else, it’s you. But it’s a part of you that you don’t normally allow yourself to be. A well-thought-out alter ego can help you take risks and bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be.”

To do this, we also have to learn to let go of the gaze of others, another limiting fear that can sometimes keep us, in spite of ourselves, in our comfort zone. “To get what you’ve never had, you have to do what you’ve never done,” sums up Hanine Mhannd, who reminds us that children are constantly stepping out of their comfort zones. An opinion shared by Chloé Turgis: “And what if, in the end, the greatest danger was never to risk anything?”

* Sortez de votre zone de confort – Vous allez enfin oser être vous-même, Hanine Mhannd, Marabout Poche
** Etendez votre zone de confort – Ne passez plus à côté de votre vie, Chloé Turgis, Dangles


Find out more?

Need advice on your project? Our experts are at your disposal free of charge.
Contact us

Découvrez la newsletter 100% franchise

Je m'abonne à la newsletter