4 Television Characters to Inspire You to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

Stepping out of your comfort zone isn't easy. Don't be afraid to ask for help.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

Ever feel like you're stuck in a rut? Have the same routine every day? Are you feeling that things seem familiar yet easy, and maybe even a touch boring?

You may be stuck in your comfort zone.

Staying with familiar things in life can be restful, but most of your greatest achievements, dreams and future successes lie outside of familiar territory.

So, during your moments of rest -- for instance while binge watching -- you can also fortify your future. Take some boundary-busting lessons on bravery from these four iconic television characters.

Leslie Knope -- Parks and Recreation

What does thee naïve yet lovable Pawnee council member have to teach you about your comfort zone? While Leslie has several flaws, that just happen to be funnier and more pronounced than the average human being, she has some powerful lessons to demonstrate for us.

First, she sets no limits on her life. Her unabashed optimism may come off as hokey, but realize this woman is on a small town's Parks and Recreation board and has set her sights on being the first female president.

This may sound like an extreme overreach, but the first place to step out of your comfort zone could be in your own mind. What ambitions do you have? What have you committed yourself to? You may be surprised to find you are capable of way more than you think you are.

Deciding you want to be ruler of the free world isn't the goal. The first step is to simply state a goal that's out of your comfort zone -- something grand -- some way of finally expressing all your greatness.

A simple way to get started? Think of where your current limits are and push just one step further. Raise your sales 10 percent. Want to write a novel but you've never written anything longer than a text? Write a great short story first. That's it. Create attainable victories.

Frank Underwood -- House of Cards

Speaking of presidential candidates, how about Kevin Spacey's enigmatic Frank Underwood? Clearly he's already an ambitious and conniving individual.

What does he know about comfort zones? He knows how to stay out of them. Take for example his 2016 Presidential run. When denied backing from his own party what did he do? He moved around this road block by creating a jobs program that really was a way to connect with voters on his own.

Why is this important? One major thing that keeps people stuck in the zone is their fear of failure. But by adopting a mentality that you can work around any setback, by defining your own actions by your own goals, you can increase your ability to break through familiar limitations.

Applied for a new job and didn't hear back? No problem, apply for another, similar job. There's rarely just one out there. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the brains behind Disney Animation's rebirth in the '80s and '90s, and founder of Dreamworks SKG is famous for his early, "if you can't get in the front door, use the back door. If it's locked, go through the window. If that's blocked, try the basement." The man is famously relentless -- and creative -- in attaining his goals.

Setbacks happen. When the going gets tough, the tough get creative.

Walter White -- Breaking Bad

No surprise that the world's favorite meth dealer would be on this list. Clearly Walter was all about stepping out of his comfort zone, in service of his family's future.

Not ready to quit your job and start dealing drugs? Good. But what can you learn from Walt? Walter's big bold moves came after a cancer diagnosis. It was a wake up call. Most people struggle with taking risks because subconsciously, they think things are going to continue onward like "this" forever.

When given a grim diagnosis, Walter figured out a solution to his family's security fast because he had to. The fact is we're all gonna die. Nobody likes to think about it of course, but a bit of "memento mori" can work for you.

Try this grim but effective exercise, often used in goal setting workshops.

Imagine your own funeral. Imagine who's there, what they have to say about you and what you've accomplished with your life. Challenging, yes but it can quickly focus you in on what's most important to you. If you discover that a lot of what you truly desire to achieve is out of your comfort zone, great! Time to take those first steps.

Tony Soprano -- The Sopranos

The man who changed television for all of us was a natural bad ass, and legendary screen mobster/monster. Loveable at times, he could be ruthless, not afraid to kill his own best friends if he had to. He embodied "gangster."

So perhaps you think you don't have anything in common with Uncle Tony? Here's one thing you may. The key to Tony was that, killer though he was, the man was in therapy!

A mob boss seeing a therapist? Unheard of.

The big take away from this -- and what made him fascinating -- is that Tony wasn't afraid to ask for help. To self-reflect. That's a big step out of a mobster's comfort zone and it may be a big step out of yours as well.

So many of us just try tough everything out on our own, thinking we'd be "weak" if we asked for help. And that goes for reaching out to friends as well. Even though we may need a helpful ear, we feel as if we're imposing

Time to cut that out. Stepping out of your comfort zone isn't easy. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Whether it's a therapist, friend, or even a new acquaintance who's doing what you want to be doing, it's an honorable and brave thing to seek out help. It may be uncomfortable, but, as we have seen above - that's often the first step to achieving your next level of self-expression.

Best Selling Author, Emmy-Nominated Producer, Screenwriter and Entrepreneur, Adam Gilad leads a community of over 80,000 men and women on their quest to create love and a bold, inspired life. Having served as a Stanford Humanities Center Graduate Research Fellow and host of National Lampoon Radio, Adam blends a bracing mix of research, humor and global wisdom traditions to help men and women break through the habits blocking their ability to open into love and freedom.

He's a regular contributor to Vixen Daily in the Personal Development and Inspiration section.

Go To Homepage