I recently made a massive change in my life. No, I didn’t decide to stop being a coach, leave my husband, or flee the U.S. and move to Zimbabwe. I refreshed the makeup I’d been wearing for 20 years. Still, this simple act dredged up a boatload of fear and resistance.
The last time I had someone do my colors, I was in my thirties and I’ve stuck with the recommended routine ever since. With my 50th birthday fast approaching, I decided a new decade calls for a new image, so I contacted Rory Lee, one of Miami’s top makeup artists, who had worked her magic on me on during a recent video shoot.
Even though I was eager to breathe new life into my look, as Rory made suggestions I found myself feeling anxious and fearful. As she encouraged me to try different colors, I badly wanted to retreat to the safety of my trusty old makeup bag.
That’s what happens when you exit your comfort zone. Despite the fact that you want something new—you fantasize about it, work for it, tell everyone you are ready for it—when change shows up, emotions get complicated. Unless you know how to navigate these feelings, you can end up drifting off course from your dream.
Here are five simple steps to steer through the choppy waters around your comfort zone:
1. Expect discomfort. When you’re excited about a change, feeling uncomfortable can surprise you. But discomfort is a natural part of the process. Be patient; it takes time for our system to acclimate to different circumstances. It’s akin to moving to a new neighborhood—you’re thrilled to have more space, but in those early weeks driving home feels disorienting and strange. The key is to notice these feelings and move on.
2. Beware the auto-no .To manage the flood of incoming information, our brain categorizes things, resisting ideas that don’t fit. Example: I said I wanted a new look, but when Rory asked me to try a different color eye shadow, I told her I wanted to find a match for my favorite, a sadly discontinued brown. When the auto-no pops up, it can shut down creative solutions, so it’s important to shift the gears of your mind into yes drive.
3. See the funny. Leaving your comfort zone causes you to confront limits you may not realized you have. During our consultation Rory laid out 10 lipsticks in a neat row and said, “You realize these are all basically the same color, don’t you?” No, I hadn’t. Rather than beating myself up for wasting cash, I laughed as I pictured myself lingering at the cosmetics counter carefully selecting some exotic-sounding shade that was really just a variation of the lipstick already in my purse. Maintaining your sense of humor as you maneuver through change is critical since laughter reduces your stress levels; it also provides a balanced perspective that helps you move forward.