This morning as I surfed television channels while peddling on the elliptical machine, I happened to come across a segment on “Good Morning America” called “I dare you.” Apparently, each of the anchors selected something to try outside of his/her comfort zone. And, since he is afraid of heights, Chris Cuomo was about to jump off the nearly 400 foot high Trump Taj Mahal Hotel in Atlantic City, NJ. And he was about to do it on live television. Even though it seemed like a publicity stunt, I had to admit I was hooked.
You can find out what happened next by reading the story published by ABC News. Meanwhile, we can all learn how to break out of our comfort zones from Cuomo’s experience:
- Get knowledge: Stepping out of a comfort zone is uncomfortable because the situation is filled with unknowns. Increase what’s known and you decrease the discomfort. In this case, Cuomo didn’t just jump off a building – he spent time training with experts. He also prepared by wearing necessary safety gear, and working with the safety crew to make sure his equipment was functioning properly.
- Get support: Between our friends, family, colleagues, and support groups filled with like-minded individuals, none of us ever has to be alone. In this case, Cuomo had a huge swell of support. Not only were his colleagues in the studio and in ABC News cheering him on; he had fans cheering him on at the site. In fact, several minutes before the jump he even took a call from magician David Blaine coaching him on how to feel more relaxed and confident during the 10 seconds of free-fall.
- Be in the moment: The more we put our focus on what we’re doing when we’re doing it – not on worry or fear – the greater the likelihood of a positive outcome. Blaine was quoted in the article as telling Cuomo to “try to breathe nice and easy, stay calm, and stay collected.” Words to live by.
It’s not always easy to recognize that the natural urge to live in our comfort zones is holding us back. However when the reward for taking a risk is great enough, the opportunities are endless. The next time you find yourself making excuses for not doing something because you’re “too tired” or “too busy” ask yourself what’s really standing in your way. Is it lack of knowledge, lack of support, or fear and worry? Use the tips above to do what you need to do to overcome these issues and then…jump!