It’s easy to fall into the trap of comfort and stability. Comfort is part of human nature; people buy soft beds, pillows, and chairs to ensure daily comfort. However, there’s a saying that nothing grows in the comfort zone, so you’ll only stagnate and shrink if you don’t find ways to challenge yourself. Personal and career growth can only happen when you step outside your comfort zone.
Get yourself a road map before embarking on your challenging journey. There are many ways to improve your life with challenges, but you’ll only end up doing a hundred things aimlessly without a guide.
Freelancing and the comfort zone
I have always had problems with public speaking. Not many people know this about me since they see me as someone who is naturally outgoing. I took speech classes back in elementary, but I still experience anxiety when talking to strangers. In 2018, I challenged myself by participating in a Startup Weekend Women Edition, then we got the chance to participate in the Startup Weekend Women Asia Pacific Finals in Bali, Indonesia. I got the opportunity to meet new people and overcome my anxiety.
One of the common reasons why people avoid freelancing is the fear of instability, which is probably one of the hardest things about freelancing. Becoming a freelancer is subscribing to a lifetime of opportunities you create for yourself, which is both scary and exciting at the same time. I’ve probably worked with hundreds of clients in the past 16 years, which is a tiring yet rewarding endeavor.
A quote about freelancing says, “I quit my 9 to 5, so I can work 24/7.” You may waste your time if you don’t remain proactive in your lead generation and client conversion. However, if you play your cards right, you could earn as much or more than you earn now for a fraction of the effort. You must challenge yourself and your boundaries to stay competitive as a freelancer; operating from your comfort zone won’t help you there.
What does it mean to challenge yourself?
I was always the smart kid, and my smartness became my comfort zone. I had pretty cousins, and I didn’t consider myself particularly attractive. Because of that, content creation was the last thing on my mind. When a Visayas-Mindanao marketing agency invited me to the Baicon event, I challenged myself to network with other influencers. I stepped out of my introverted comfort zone and talked to people I usually saw on Youtube.
Challenging yourself means you should accomplish things you usually wouldn’t try. Inhibit your hesitations and fears to grow and develop into a better person. Continuously open your mind, heart, and body to new experiences that will mold your future self.
You may be wondering why challenging yourself is good. The simple explanation is that you can grow and become a better version of yourself daily. You can allow yourself to experience frightening things without traumatic consequences because you’ll be doing them on your terms.
What can I do to challenge myself?
You’ve reached the fun part of figuring out how to push yourself past your limits. You don’t have to do grand 1-hour exercise routines or drastic lifestyle changes like ridding yourself of material possessions. The fundamental goal of challenging yourself is gaining experience and growth.
1. Set and maintain good habits
One of the first things to do for yourself is to form good habits. Start with a tiny change at a time. Something as simple as drinking vitamin C with water immediately after waking up would create a lasting impact when done habitually. Repetition yields great rewards.
Make sure that the habits you build will match your future goals. For example: if you want great skin, you should make a habit of at least washing your face before going to bed, no matter how tired you are.
2. Maintain excellent financial practices
Comfortable things cost a lot of money. Challenge yourself by improving your lifestyle by cooking at home instead of eating out or brewing your coffee instead of buying it from cafes. Look at the various excessive things that you spend your money on.
Get rid of old debts and focus on accumulating wealth for the future. Ensure your income covers all bills, utilities, long-term savings, retirement, and investments. Adjusting your lifestyle according to how much you earn is a significant challenge.
3. Exercise and eat healthily
One of the best things to do for yourself is to work on your physical, emotional, and mental well-being. Your body’s health will impact your overall mood, productivity, and state of mind. You won’t have time to enjoy the fruits of your labor if you’re unhealthy.
If you’re currently in a sedimentary lifestyle, you can kickstart your fitness journey by exercising at least 5 to 15 minutes daily until you get the hang of it. You can start by walking 4,000 steps and slowly attain 10,000 steps over time. Eventually, you’ll be doing more intense workouts.
4. Meet new people
I’ve always pushed myself to go out of my comfort zone. I went to events and promoted products even if I didn’t consider myself an influencer. Over time, I learned how to get out of my shell and talk to people I didn’t know. I believe that these opportunities helped me overcome my shyness and fear of public speaking.
Meeting new people will bring you more insight into other people’s lives, experiences, cultures, thoughts, and perspectives. All these will help you mature into an empathic person with a better understanding and appreciation for life’s different experiences.
Push yourself to go out and socialize every once in a while, and you’ll be surprised about the kind of people you meet. You can learn new things while improving your social skills in unfamiliar settings. Listening to various stories from
5. Do something new
Do something you’ve never tried before, and participate in the activity at least once a month. You will have accomplished 12 new hobbies or adventures in a year if you do it consistently. Any one of them could be your money-maker if you keep an open mind.
As a bonus, you should aim for things you used to be scared of doing as long as you can do them safely. Remember, challenging yourself doesn’t equate to compromising boundaries, safety, or security.
Life is full of challenges, so it’s crucial to build your strength by facing them head-on and succeeding. It would help if you aspired to grow and improve, consistently breaking barriers and contesting your limits; your future self will thank you someday. Being ready for challenges is an essential feature of a successful freelancer.
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