How Comfort Zone Challenges Transformed My Life

comfort
One of my clients doing the 'lie down in public' challenge at Queen VIC Market's, Melbourne

A few years ago a mate sent me an email with the subject line: “Hey douche bag- wanna do this comfort zone challenge with me?”

I’d read something recently about comfort zone challenges and how they could transform your life, so I opened it (normally I just delete what he sends me).

He wrote about how he had recently signed up to this course called Comfort Zone Crusher Challenges and described how he had walked through a busy shopping mall with his hands in the air and asked a stranger for a sip of their drink.

“So you in, man?” he asked.  Fuck yeah…let’s do it! was my reply.

Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway

I’d never admit it to my mate but underneath my fearless exterior I was shitting myself. I mean come on, who in their right mind would want to lay down in a busy public spot for 30 seconds, or ask strangers for a sip of their drink?

No one normal, that’s for sure.

Anyway my mate said he felt more confident in social settings after doing these comfort zone challenges, and that he’d stopped giving a fuck. “I walked up to three hot chicks the other day and asked one out for coffee…the other two got jealous i didn’t ask them, so I took them all out and ended up having a four-way,” he bragged.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I reckon he’s full of shit, but in saying that, I did notice him being more ‘out there’ when we went out clubbing.  And the hot girls on the dance floor definitely noticed him, that’s for sure – he picked up every time.

I Could See My Heart Beating

My first challenge was the lie down in a busy public space for 30 seconds. I remember going out that very day to do the challenge and how nervous and afraid I felt – sweat was dripping from my forehand, my palms felt like a cake of soap,  I could see my heart beating, and every muscle in my body felt like it was in rigor-fucking-mortis.

Translation – I thought I was going to die!

As I wandered around the shopping mall, I thought to myself ‘I can’t do this, people are going to think I’m weird…you’re a grown man, you’re going to look stupid. I was ready to go home when two young girls selling some stupid course stopped me.

One was insanely hot so I stayed and chatted to her and ended up getting her number. As we were chatting away I got a brilliant idea – “I’ll sign up to a course, I said to them, if you guys lie down for 30 seconds with me.”

They giggled, looked at each other as if to say ‘is he fucking serious,’ then looked at me like I was an alien, and finally agreed, so I signed up ( I cancelled as soon as I got home).  However, when it came time to follow through on their agreement, they bailed on me.

‘Oh, well, fuck it,’ I said to myself. ‘I’m going to do this anyway.’ As I pumped myself up to do the challenge I got them involved by being my time counter.

Telling People Your Nervous Helps

This made it a little less nerve-wracking because I was no longer doing it solo and they knew what I was going to do – I find talking about your fear, nervousness or anxiety eases the symptoms. I reckon this is because you’re present with how you feel, accepting of how you feel, and authentic with your emotions.

Top Tip: If you’re hands are shaking due to nervousness, rather than fixate on it, make light of it. For example, if I’m talking to a super hot woman and my hand is shaking (yes, I still get nervous around these types of women) I’ll say something like ” Oh no…it’s doing it again…my hand’s taking on a life of its own…quick, save yourself before it starts tearing your clothes off!” She’ll typically laugh and become turned on. If this is too much too soon just say:”See what you do to me.” This is powerful because you’re being honest and vulnerable. High quality women find this incredibly attractive in a man. By the way, I find making light of your fear or nervousness works in any situation with anyone, not just super hot women.

High Voltage

Now, back to the lie down challenge. After hesitating for a few minutes I took a deep breath and… did it. It felt fucking awesome! No-one gave a shit and one guy even said “you look very comfortable down there,” as he walked by.

I remember being on an adrenaline high for the rest of that day, but the day after I had feelings of doom and gloom.  I couldn’t for the life of me work out why.

After all, I had just done something that had made me feel like I was invincible and now, less the 24 hours later, I felt like, well, I don’t really know what it was that I was feeling – a bit ashamed, a bit embarrassed, a bit silly – anything but extremely confident.

I agreed with that little voice in my head and swore I would never do that lie down in public challenge again.

My Beloved Monster And Me

My beloved monster and me
We go everywhere together

Wearing a raincoat that has four sleeves
Gets us through all kinds of weather

She will always be the only thing
That comes between me and the awful sting

That comes from living in a world that’s so damn mean
My beloved monster is tough
If she wants she will disrobe you

But if you lay her down for a kiss
Her little heart it could explode

She will always be the only thing
That comes between me and the awful sting
That comes from living in a world that’s so damn mean

 Eels

The above lyrics by the Eels captures the little voice in our head perfectly. After listening to a Shrink for the Shy Guy podcast episode titled, My Beloved Monster And Me, by Dr. Aziz Gazipura, I realized that it was my inner critic, or beloved monster, that had made me feel negative about doing the lie down challenge ,and about doing any other comfort zone crusher challenges for that matter.

Fuck You Inner Critic

Listening to that podcast episode helped me realize what was going on inside me and that I can overcome the self-doubt and negative talk that was trying to stop me from moving forward and becoming a better man. I took Aziz’s advice and worked on ways to better handle my ‘beloved monster.’  I devoured everything I could on the subject of fear, self doubt, nervousness and social anxiety.

Many good books on the subject exist but the following two helped me the most:

Feel the Fear . . . and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers

The Solution To Social Anxiety: Break Free From The Shyness That Holds You Back by Dr. Aziz Gazipura

Three months later, and with the ability to handle my inner critic, I decided I would do the lie down in public challenge again.

This time I got the my daughter involved because her self-esteem and overall confidence needed a boost and thought this would help her the most. On her birthday we went out to lunch, but beforehand we visited a moderately busy shopping mall and lay down for 30 seconds.

We were both nervous as hell but just did it.

Top Tip: The more you wait or think about doing something, the more nervous and anxious you become, or the more likely you are of talking yourself out of doing it – just jump straight in.

The feeling afterwards was the same as when I had first did it only this time I believed it.

My daughter said she felt a bit embarrassed at first but then like she could do anything. While we were having lunch she confidently asked the owner if they had any jobs going.

Wow, needless to say that impressed the crap out of me.

Where The Magic Happens

As we left the restaurant we gave strangers compliments.  We were unstoppable that day. Over the next few months as we got deep into the course the magic really started to happen. It’s true what they say: the magic happens outside of your comfort zone.

After doing the lie down comfort zone challenge a few more times I had stopped caring what people think of me and my confidence levels had increased.

But I still found it a challenge to talk to strangers, assert myself, handle rejection or go out by myself.

So I enrolled in the full length course Make Yourself Do Anything.  

This course covers both social and desensitization challenges over a six-week time-frame and provides useful techniques on motivation, building courage and overcoming fear.

Here are videos of me doing some of those challenges:

I dedicated my free time to these challenges and completed them in three weeks. Each challenge gave a massive boost to my confidence. Out of all the challenges I found howling like a wolf, and asking an attractive stranger for their phone number on the spot the hardest.

A note: I can easily flirt, banter and ask a woman out once I’ve spoken to her a few times, but I was never confident walking over to her and asking her out on the spot. This is because I was attached to the outcome, and as a result, froze up, or acted weird. Now when see I woman I like I can ask her out without freezing up or acting weird because I’m no longer attached to the outcome. If she says yes, great. If she says no, that’s OK too.

 Taking Comfort Zone Challenges To The Next Level

Apart from asking attractive women for their number on the spot I can:

  • Go out by myself and have a great time and meet new people
  • Assert myself and ask for what I want
  • Handle rejection better and know that this is only feedback not failure; I learn and grow from the experience
  • Stand in front of a large audience and give a speech
  • Go on ‘scary’ amusement park rides, and scale tall buildings in a single bound!
  • Walk up to groups and join in the conversation
  • Travel by myself to different cities
  • Wear a pink G-String at footy training (just kidding)

The two best things to come from doing these challenges are:

  1. Helping my daughter build her confidence and self-esteem
  2. Building on this experience to create a course that takes Comfort Zone Challenges to the next level

“Michael’s Next Level Comfort Zone Challenges helped me overcome social anxiety” – James Fraser, Newfoundland, Canada

If you would like to know more whack your details below and I’ll be in touch.

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A 'perfectly imperfect' man doing all I can to be a better man. When I'm not blogging, I'm kicking ass in Krav Maga class, belting out classic rock tunes on my Slash Les Paul, fine tuning my Italian language and cooking skills, or chilling on the couch watching action movies.. If you liked this post please help me reach more men by hitting the share buttons/telling your friends about my work. And If you would like to know more about me just click on the 'About' tab above or follow me on social media. Grazie!