Expand Your Comfort Zone Today

Looking back, all the valuable skills I ever learned required a phase of discomfort. The first time you try something new you have no idea what you are doing and that would make anyone uncomfortable.

I remember the first day I did door to door sales. While walking up to the first house that I was going to knock on, I felt like I was going to throw up or die; whichever came first.

But, here I am today. After knocking on countless doors and talking to thousands of people I can do it without breaking a sweat. It’s made me a more outgoing person and has expanded my comfort zone so that I am comfortable in more social situations than ever before.

That’s the way your comfort zone works. You want to stay in it as much as possible, but the only way you can possibly grow as a person is to venture outside of it. Once you’ve spent enough time outside your comfort zone, it grows to include that newly explored territory.

There is an amazing sense of accomplishment in the moment when you conquer something outside your comfort zone.

Leroy and I have been writing articles for 2HelpfulGuys for quite a while, but when we first started we were petrified. Now we are releasing our first book and I’m scared again, I have no idea if it will be received well.

But we know that pushing outside our comfort zone will make us stronger, so we keep pushing.

If you want to take your first steps outside of your comfort zone, here are some things that you can try.

Contact A Celebrity You Admire.

We tend to feel like there is some sort of invisible wall between us and the people we look up. The idea of interacting with them might seem a little far-fetched and make us uncomfortable. If that is the case for you, you have to give it a try.

I tweeted at my favourite author, James Altucher, and not only did he answer back, he followed me!

It might not seem like a very big deal but trust me, when you accomplish something like this you will feel like the whole world is in your reach. Your comfort zone will expand and you will believe no one is too big to contact.

Who knows, maybe one day you end up in a conversation with a CEO that might change your life?

Start Conversations With Strangers.

If there is anything that makes people uncomfortable, it’s striking up a conversation with someone in public. As a society it seems too uncomfortable to even sit beside someone on the bus, let alone have a conversation with them!

So the next time you are in public, step outside that comfort barrier and try talking to someone random.

Do this on a bus, in a mall, at the grocery store or wherever you see people in public. I guarantee that once you do it a few times, your comfort zone will grow and you will be able to do it without a problem.

Force Yourself To Face A Fear.

If there is a one-step method to getting out of your comfort zone, this is it.

Like most people, I used to be afraid of public speaking. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you view it, I was asked to speak at a conference when I was 13.

I was asked to speak about my blood disorder and how it affected me. The very idea of getting up on stage and talking about my personal struggles with hundreds of people seemed like a nightmare to me. But I did it regardless.

I remember my eyes watering up so much that I couldn’t see the page, and my legs felt like rusty machinery that needed to be oiled.

After this experience I realized that I loved being on stage and I started to take drama classes. Now I am a lot more comfortable on stage in front of people. Hopefully I’ll be able to speak in front of a larger crowd one day and expand my comfort zone even further.

Being uncomfortable is well, uncomfortable. So it makes sense that we want to stay inside that zone where we feel at home. We don’t have to be nervous, risk messing up or getting embarrassed. But we also don’t grow.

That is why you need to step outside your comfort zone as often as possible. When you become comfortable with feelings of discomfort, you’ll be able to accomplish anything.

Expand your comfort zone as large as you possibly can and conquer your world.

comfort zone

Looking Confident When You Don’t Feel Confident

Confidence is a hard subject to tackle. It is one of those attributes that always leaves us wanting more.

Even though people have always said that I am a confident and outgoing person, that can quickly fade away when I am put into a situation outside my comfort zone.

No matter how big your comfort zone gets, there is always going to be unexplored territory waiting to test your resilience. When you step outside that boundary, even if you don’t feel confident, you need to show confidence.

That is why I have developed some guidelines that I follow; little confidence hacks that help bring my best self with me even outside my comfort zone.

These tips will help you come off as confident until you expand your comfort zone.
Fake it until you make it!

Whether it is a job interview, a business meeting, talking to the opposite sex or even just trying to make a friend, here are my three confidence hacks.

Smile!

No matter what situation you are in, you should have a smile on your face.
With the obvious exception of a funeral.

I remember being at a group interview a couple of months ago. I could tell that everyone was nervous, as expected, but there was one girl who wore it on her face.

While most people displayed subtle signs of their nerves—Fidgeting, slight stutters, short breath—she was putting on a performance with her expressions. I felt ever grimace, every pound of her heart.

She did not smile one time during the whole interview and it was very clear that she wasn’t good at handling pressure.

Needless to say, she didn’t end up getting the job.

70% of communication is non-verbal, so when you smile you show that you are happy, confident, and attentive. The reverse can show people that you are worried, anxious, unable to handle pressure and a myriad of other qualities you do not want to convey.

Another thing to note is that when you smile, you actually trick your brain into being happier and more relaxed. Your brain says ‘Hey, if I’m smiling I must not be in danger. So things can’t be that bad right?’
Well, it probably doesn’t literally say that.

So even if you are nervous, smile! It will convey to the other party and yourself that you are able to handle this situation.

Eye Contact!

I cannot stress how important this point is. It might seem like something so trivial, but study after study has found that people who maintain higher levels of eye contact are seen as:

  • More powerful and confident
  • More like-able and attractive
  • More emotionally stable
  • More qualified and competent
  • More trustworthy and sincere

When you make eye contact you are conveying all of these messages to people, but not only that, you are also showing that you actually care about the interaction.

Just imagine engaging with someone who makes little to no eye contact with you. What would you think about this person?

You might think they are nervous, over-thinking, or worst of all that they aren’t even paying attention to you.

Whether it’s a speech, a job interview, a date, or a networking situation, more eye contact results in a better interaction.

The other party will see you as more confident and when you look that person in the eyes, you will be facing your nerves head on.

Body Language!

As I said earlier in this article, 70% of communication is non-verbal.

So far we have dealt with how you convey your confidence through your facial expressions and eyes. Now it is time to deal with the rest of the body.

You could write a whole book on body language—my favourite is ‘How to tell what people are thinking’ by Peter Collett—but I will go over some basic guidelines that will help you convey confidence, and trick yourself into feeling confident.

1) Stand up straight.

In most of the animal kingdom there is a strong connection between height and status. In humans there is an overwhelming amount of evidence supporting this.

While you can’t make yourself taller, you can ensure that you are standing tall, not slouching.

This will show that you are at attention, and that you are not submissive.

2) Keep your head up.

If you have your head down you are subconsciously telling those around you that you are submissive.

Keep you head up and face situations head on to convey confidence and competence.

3) Look comfortable.

Another way to seem confident is to look relaxed.

When you look tense you are sending signals to people that you are nervous, worried or afraid. If you look relaxed then people will believe you are in your comfort zone.

Don’t tense your muscles and don’t fidget or touch yourself. Take deep breathes, talk slowly and show that you are comfortable in the situation.

No one is confident all the time. If you never get nervous then you probably aren’t stepping outside your comfort zone often enough.

When you do step outside that boundary, take these tips with you.

I’m confident that you’ll be just fine.

Confidence

 

Pour Out Your Soul, Fill The Void

I’m not going to lie, I’ve been depressed in the past. I’ve looked in the mirror without being able to understand the person looking back at me.

What do you want? What makes you happy? Why do you feel this void inside regardless of how things appear on the outside?

During these slumps I spent most of my time sleeping, eating out of boredom, devouring whole seasons of shows and consuming whatever I could to satisfy the feeling, or lack there of, inside me.
I felt unfulfilled and useless.

I still feel this way sometimes but I’ve learned how to push through it with one simple question that I ask myself every morning.

Do I want to be a consumer, or a producer?

Logically, if you feel an emptiness inside you, you are missing something that will make you feel complete again. I learned that this isn’t the case.

Instead of taking things in I started to pour everything out of myself. I poured out my heart, my emotions, my soul into my writing. It made me feel something that I hadn’t felt in a long time…

Producing pride.

Downward spirals and never ending consumption will lead to guilt. It’s a cycle. You’re empty so you try to distract or satisfy yourself with movies, video games or food but it doesn’t change anything and the more you consume, the more guilty and empty you feel.

Pouring out what you have left in you into something, anything, can make you proud again. You have something to look forward to instead of just passing the time.

It doesn’t have to be art.

You can start a business, volunteer to help build homes for people or even just create deeper connections with the people around you. As long as you are producing something that allows you to look forward and feel like you are useful.

Think of anything you can put into the world today and start on it. Happiness is more about where you are going than where you are now.

I’m not saying it’s wrong to take things in.

You just have to find a balance. Someone who spends all day being creative and working is bound to burn out eventually. That can be just as bad.

I feel that most people are unbalanced right now. As a society we have lost a lot of creativity and self-esteem. We think that we don’t have anything of value to add to the world, but imagine if people tried to live up to their full potential.

Imagine if they stopped trying to fill the void with material possessions, or distract themselves from it with movies, games and Facebook.

Writing in this blog and creating deeper connections with the people around me has helped me so much. I feel like I have something to offer the world again and although I go into slumps sometimes, I can pull myself out much quicker.

Maybe the void is meant to push you forward. I don’t know if I will ever be completely happy, but if I was, would I continue to push on?

I’ll probably never have to find out because the void is a part of me, and for now, I’ll pour out my soul from it.

With love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys

How To Push Through Obstacles

When I moved out of my parents house this year, it was a scary process. My end goal was to live on my own and start to manage my own life, but every step of the way I faced obstacles I didn’t anticipate.

It had to be in our budget, it had to allow pets and it had to be close enough to all three of our work places.

After painstaking efforts to find somewhere that met all the criteria we had to gather all of our information and convince the landlords that we were the best tenants.

Finally we got the place and moved in, I thought it was all sunshine from there.

But boy was I wrong.

We had trouble getting the internet working, paying bills for the first time, figuring out groceries and a hundred other obstacles. To this day at least one house related obstacle pops up per week.

Right now, here at 2HelpfulGuys, we are in the middle of writing a book. I can already imagine the hundreds of hurdles that we are going to have to conquer.

Nothing you do will ever come without an obstacle or two so here are my tips to help you push through them and accomplish your goals.

Obstacles are a part of life.

The first thing that will help you push through these pesky obstacles is realizing that obstacles are unavoidable.

They are going to pop up, you can’t stop it. Even if you anticipate as many obstacles as you can, you are still going to run into a few nasty surprises along the way.

For your own sanity, it’s best that you become friends with obstacles.

Use obstacles to help you improve.

By definition an obstacle will help you improve and grow. If you didn’t need to grow to get past the obstacle, then it wouldn’t be an obstacle. It would just be another walk in the park.

When you realize that every obstacle matures your abilities and your drive, you will begin to become excited to face them.

Relish the opportunity to conquer something. It will only lead to more victories.

Break down your obstacles.

When you first encounter an obstacle it is almost always daunting. When you see a mountain from far away you think to yourself “It must be impossible to climb to the top! Look how high it is!”

But when you get closer you start to see the individual paths you can hike. You see it broken down into details that are easier to conquer one by one.

Do this with every obstacle you face. Break it down into small bite size pieces and start chewing.

Never give up.

Some people say Edison tried up to ten thousand different prototypes for the light bulb. Even though the first nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine didn’t work, he refuse to say that he ever failed.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
-Thomas Edison

This is the way you need to think. Every time you try something that doesn’t work you are getting closer to finding what does work.

I’ve learned that nothing you try will ever work the first time. Or maybe you’re lucky and you can get a hole in one.
I never can.

Learning to be okay with being wrong is the most important skill you will ever gain.

Keep being wrong until you find what is right. Just make sure you don’t give up.

As always, I’ll see you next Friday.

With Love,
Steven Farquharson, 2HelpfulGuys

One Simple Tip to A Better Life

The girl I was with recently said, ‘How are you so confident?’

The truth is, I don’t know. The majority of my life was spent an unconfident mess. There is something wrong with being unconfident.

In my last article, I referred to being confident as absolutely essential to getting a job. In general, I believe that confidence is essential to leading a fulfilled life.

Confidence allows you to decide what you want and when you want it. It allows you to grow as person.

So few people are confident. People are scared or worried of everything. I was scared of failing, scared of embarrassment, and scared of rejection.

But, it was my job to overcome it.

I tried to retrace my journey towards confidence. Here’s what I came up with:

A) Friends

When I was a teenager, my mom wanted to inspect my friends. She made sure that I didn’t associate with ‘bad people.’ At that time it meant, ‘the thugs that drank on park benches.’

She realized that friends DIRECTLY impacted a person. Whether they are positive or negative influences, they eventually rub off on you.

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” – Jim Rohn

If you want to be confident, it starts with your inner circle. I was fortunate enough to stumble into my circle. It consists of extremely confident and positive people. They have had profound effects on my personality.

I urge you to shed the toxic, negative relationships in your life and pursue ones that will impact you positively.

B) Absorb Knowledge

PURSUE IT. I know it sounds simple, but most don’t do it. Learn everything you possibly can. Start by reading or watching ‘how-to’ videos or interviewing people.

Out of competency comes confidence. The more knowledge you possess, the more confident you will be. One of my earlier passions was politics.

I studied everything about government, economics, business, and war. I learned that everything the news was reporting was a complete nonsense. When political debates came up, I was confident in my knowledge.

I explained myself and stood for something. My ideas came from an area of confidence, which were backed by knowledge.

C) Reassure Yourself 

“I, Leroy Milton, will be confident today.”

That is one my affirmations that I recite every morning and night. It reminds me everyday that I have to be confident. This affirmation is like a goal for me.

I have to hit it everyday. I have to make sure that my confidence is tested everyday.

Even my mantra, “Be Bold, Be Free, and Love On,” is a reminder to myself. Being bold is the FIRST STEP, because only then will I be free to love.

D) Jump In

“What’s the worst that can happen?”

I wasn’t ‘taught’ how to swim. I got pushed into the deep-end at the tender age of nine. It was a type of Darwinian trial, but I’m still here and I can swim.

Plus, my dad wasn’t going to let me drown. I’ve realized that most of your ‘worst-case scenarios’ only exist in your head.

A girl slapping me in the face when I ask her out is far-fetched. The girl won’t publicly yell at me when I try to talk to her.

Sometimes, you just have to leap in feet first. Trial and error is the most effective way of learning. You can figure out what works and what doesn’t based on your personality.

There it is. I think that’s all of it. I’m sure there were more factors in my fabled journey to confidence, but nothing as significant as these.

Even though these scenarios only exist in my head, I’m still scared of failing, embarrassment and rejection. But in the end, it doesn’t matter.

Be bold, be free, and love on.