You want more.
You want better.
You want to expand your capabilities and your achievements.
And so you probably hear a lot about breaking free from your "comfort zone."
It's a popular concept because we all feel a little bit too lazy, a little bit to satisfied, a little bit too afraid to leap out there into the great unknown.
But as motivational speaker Les Brown likes to say, "Where your focus goes, your energy flows. Which is why I recommend focusing on stepping into your courage zone rather than breaking free from your comfort zone.
It's a subtle shift of focus, yet it makes all the difference.
Stepping into your courage loosens the hold of past negative experiences (which haunt you into hiding out in your familiar constrictions). And embracing your strength naturally makes you the positive, more likeable version of yourself you desire to be. And positivity motivates better over time.
Here are five actionable ways you can stepping (leaping, skipping, stumbling or sprinting) into your Courage Zone.
1. Embrace Your Imperfections
Everyone has insecurities and imperfections.
After a shattering divorce, I went on a date with a woman who told me point-blank, "You have flaws." And when she saw I was crestfallen, she added, "and I want you know that's fine, they are small, and we all them."
It's a natural part of being human.
Those who cower in the comfort zone are afraid to admit their flaws or expose them to testing.
People who step into their courage zone is they embrace their imperfections.
They accept they may not do everything correctly the first time they try.
They accept they may do things differently and because of that some people may find that weird or unusual, yet they continue moving forward.
They understand that if they don't "embarrass" themselves everyday, then they're not testing their edges, they are not growing.
And their focus is on the goal at hand, not on protecting their reputation or image.
So what new thing do you want to try?
Is it learning to code, working out consistently and getting in shape, finding the best color for your hair, or even starting a business?
Whatever it is start t by staying focused on the goal, not on how you look on the journey.
And think of how you can admit, embrace and even celebrate your imperfections so you too can start stepping into your courage zone.
2. Practice Self-Honesty
The thing about practicing self-honesty is it's challenging to do.
By being honest with yourself you're facing what makes you feel really discontent with your life. In fact you spend much of your social life masking these very things.
As Carl Sandburg famously wrote in his "A Father to His Son"...
Tell him to be alone often and get at himself
and above all tell himself no lies about himself
whatever the white lies and protective fronts
he may use against other people.
In other words, to enter your Courage Zone, you first need to stand naked in your Self-Honesty Zone. Know your strengths. Know your weaknesses. Know what tempts you. Know your habits of distraction, of over-pleasing, of putting others first.
If you want a hand, go to 5 of your best friends and ask them to list out your 5 top strengths and 5 top areas you need to work on in the context of a particular goal you want to achieve. And be sure to tell them that no matter what they say, you will remain friends and won't hold it against them.
Then don't hold it against them. Their brutal honesty may be the very key that opens the gate to your Courage Zone.
3. Find a Partner
Steve Jobs couldn't have started Apple without Steve Wozniak.
Elon Musk couldn't have created the Tesla cars without a team of designers and engineers. Oh - and financiers.
Why is this?
Because despite our national mythology of "the self made man," no great accomplishment has ever been achieved alone. Business leaders have support teams. Writers have mentors. Artists have teachers.
By finding a partner or mentor or team who wants to grow and step into their courage zone along with you, you'll be more motivated to continue doing so.
You'll have each others backs, have someone to challenge you, to hold you accountable, to offer support.
Finding a comrade you can share stories with, learn from and teach, is a powerful way to launch you - and keep you delving deeper -into your courage zone.
Also, it's usually more fun.
4. Ask Yourself, "How might I grow from..."
The question cowardly people ask is, "What's the worst thing that is going to happen to me if I try something new."
Fear of innovation, exploration or expansion can strangle even the bravest person before he or she steps into new territory.
How can you prevent this from happening?
By asking yourself one simple - new - question: "How might I grow from doing [insert your bold action]?"
What this question does is it focuses your brain on the many potential benefits you'll receive from stepping into your courage zone, rather than on the waiting disasters and costs that the first question raises.
By focusing on the benefits, you'll gain new wells of motivation to continue making progress forward, even when you meet resistance.
Some benefits you'll receive from stepping into your courage zone might include feeling victorious afterwards, discovering more about yourself and your capabilities, welcoming new allies and friends into your life and breaking free from the stasis that has grown boring or constrictive to you.
5. Befriend Risk-Takers
By befriending people who naturally are risk-takers and continuously step into their courage zone, you'll absorb some of their energy. You'll see they don't "die" when they take a risk. You'll witness their exhilaration. And you'll learn from their resourcefulness when they hit blocks.
As you increase your exposure to this type of person, you'll start noticing how much easier and more natural it will be for you to step into your own courage zone.
Their beliefs, thoughts, and mindsets will seep into you until you'll forget how fearful you once were.
Your conversations together will focus on "how" rather than "why not" - and this will embolden you.
Optimism and adventure will become your communal oxygen.
Your ideas of what's possible will expand.
Seek positive adventurous people. And watch what happens.
Adventure and courage will become your very nature.
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.