Are you finding it tough to commit to tricks? Or maybe you’re struggling to even bring yourself to try new tricks altogether? You might be stuck in a rut, or what’s otherwise known as a ‘comfort zone’.
What exactly is a ‘Comfort Zone’?
When we are inside the comfort zone, we avoid taking on new challenges or experiences. We only participate in activities that are familiar, making us feel “in control” of our environment, and to avoid the immediate feelings of stress. Anything outside the comfort zone creates uncertainty, and uncertainty often causes an anxiety response.
“The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.” – Judith Bardwick (Danger in the Comfort Zone, 1991)
You might be thinking, “but skating IS risky.” Well, yes and no. There are many times where we know we are capable of a trick, perhaps we’ve done it before or perhaps we have learnt the steps involved and know deep down it can be achieved, but an overwhelming cloud is fogging our thought on how to start to go about it, sometimes self justification sets in “Well, I can already do XYZ – that’s enough for now”.
Why would we want to leave our comfort zone – it’s called the comfort zone for a reason, right?
Because outside of the comfort zone is the courage and learning zone, a place of progression and growth – something we all strive for deep down. Yes, you might already rip hard, but don’t you want to know what it feels like to rip harder? To push yourself and feel all those new trick feels?
How do we break out of the comfort zone?
You’ll be pleased to hear that there are ways in which we can ease ourselves out of our comfort zones, it’s one of our primary methods of coaching at The Skate Retreat… and we are really good at it – Just ask any of our guests! 😜
1. FIND YOUR ZONE OF COURAGE
Sitting just outside our zone of comfort is what’s known as our ‘zone of courage’ This is a place where we try new things. Rather than interpret the feelings of discomfort as an indication that we are doing something wrong, we can train ourselves to interpret those feelings as signs that we are in the right place – the learning zone.
When faced with these feelings we can ask ourselves; “How uncomfortable am I? A little bit or a lot?” If the discomfort is manageable, we can take a deep breath and push ourselves a little more. If not, we can recognize that and take a step back.
2. AVOID THE ZONE OF TERROR
Further out is that dark and overwhelming place called ‘the zone of terror’ and when we venture too far from our courage zone, we quickly veer from the learning zone into the scary one. Hitting the terror zone can cause us to cross the line from scary excitement of ‘I’ve got this!’ to a distressed ‘nope noway I’m not doing that.’ It’s hard, often impossible to learn in this space. The noise in our heads and the pounding in our chests interfere with our ability to process information.
We often need to remind our guests that just because something seems too big and too scary right now – doesn’t mean we have to stop trying the thing, it can help to take a step back and re ground ourselves before moving any further.
3. TAKE IT ONE STEP AT A TIME
The best way to leave your comfort zone is to gradually expand it. Start by committing to small changes, for example; Try a new variation of a trick you can already do, working your way up to bigger and scarier obstacles.
Maybe your goal is learning to drop in. That could seem super overwhelming – but what if we broke it down first?
⁃ Practising dropping from a manual position (wheely) onto all 4 wheels, slamming down and leaning your weight. You would keep doing this until you felt confident with slamming it quickly and shifting your weight without hesitation
⁃ Stand on top of the ramp and visualise yourself dropping in, pretend a board is under you and drop in to appreciate the height
⁃ Try it on flatbanks and then move to small quarter pipes or mini ramps and ask someone to support you.
What can seem terrifying can actually be pretty stress free if we break it down into manageable tasks and move the goalposts slowly.
The bottom line is that skating can be scary and you will need to step out of our comfort zone from time to time, and it shouldn’t be avoided. When we allow ourselves to be uncomfortable, we expand our capacity for discomfort – and when we expand our capacity for discomfort, we are also expanding our capacity to learn. And that’s the main goal, right?
Trying anything out of our daily routine can seem scary, but anything is possible with the right mindset! It will just cost you your resistance. Also, skating is fun… Don’t overthink it!
What have you done to step outside of your comfort zone lately?