5 Reasons Freelancers Need to Get Out of Our Comfort Zone

5 Reasons Freelancers Need to Get Out of Our Comfort Zone
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Staying in our comfort zone may make us feel more safe and secure, but we stifle our personal and professional growth when we remain there.

What is a comfort zone?  It’s been defined as a state of behavior that’s low-risk, anxiety-neutral, and enables us to deliver a steady level of performance with little growth.  Many of us stay in our comfort zone, where we feel safe and in control of our surroundings, for far too long.

As freelancers, we can’t afford to get stuck in a comfortable rut if we hope to not only survive but reach our full potential.

Here are five reasons we freelancers need to get out of our comfort zone:

  1. We miss out on big rewards if we don’t take risks.

Many of us are risk-averse, but we miss out on big rewards if we don’t push ourselves to take some risks.  We took a considerable risk by becoming freelancers rather than having one employer, but we shouldn’t stop there.

We need to keep taking risks, however small, to slowly expand our comfort zones and avoid plateauing in our careers.  We can’t succeed in the continuously changing landscape of our industry without being open to risk, and yes, failure.

Changing our routines and trying new things helps us be more comfortable with the unfamiliar.  We can challenge ourselves by setting aside old habits and experiencing something new.

We’ve all heard the saying, “No risk, no reward.”

  1. We miss out on opportunities that can help us progress in our careers.

New opportunities that can advance our careers and help us grow usually come with challenges.  We have to be willing to take on the strange, unfamiliar things that scare us, as well as the things we already know.

We can’t achieve significant goals without moving outside our comfort zone.  Complacency is the obstacle to achievement.

Improving our skills and learning new ones helps us be ready for new opportunities.

For example, a few years ago, I joined a Toastmasters group to improve my public speaking skills.  Many of those who joined the group were terrified of public speaking.

A few months later, most of us had vastly improved our communication skills, and as a result, many people received job promotions and new opportunities that would not otherwise have come their way.

It wasn’t easy for any of us to get out of our comfort zone and tackle public speaking, but the personal and professional payoff was huge.

  1. To find self-actualization.

Self-actualization is the term Abraham Maslow used in his hierarchy of needs pyramid for fulfilling our full potential.  Maslow believed our motivation to reach our full potential comes from a human drive for self-actualization.

Once we have the basic needs of food and shelter and the psychological needs of belonging, intimacy, and esteem, we move up the pyramid to our need for self-fulfillment.

We can’t achieve self-actualization, reaching our full potential, without the willingness to move out of our comfort zone.

  1. To achieve a growth mindset.

Psychologist Carol Dweck uses the term growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset.

A growth mindset means we know we can grow and see setbacks as opportunities.  A growth mindset is particularly beneficial for freelancers, as we experience more than our share of setbacks in our unpredictable industry.

According to Dweck, once we see setbacks as opportunities, our potential becomes unlimited.  A growth mindset expands our possibilities.

We’re going to experience setbacks one way or the other as freelancers, so we might as well see them as the opportunities they are.

Pursuing our creative interests helps move us towards a growth mindset because creativity is about experimentation, learning, and sometimes failing.

It’s not about achieving perfection, and there’s no need to judge ourselves, which sets the stage for growth to occur.

  1. To become more resilient to change.

If there’s one certainty in our industry, it’s change.  Our jobs change, the people we work with change, and our work locations change.

We’re used to those changes, but other, less familiar changes can still be scary.

Slowly venturing out of our comfort zone makes us less fragile and more resilient to change.

We can help ourselves by being open to new perspectives and finding new people, places, and activities that challenge our existing beliefs and expose us to new ideas.

Venturing beyond the familiar makes us more resilient to change.


We’re all capable of expanding our comfort zone into the growth zone, where we can set new goals, live our dreams, and find our purpose.

Being freelancers, we already accept a certain amount of risk and are more resilient than most to change.  We’ve pushed through enough of our fears to forego the security of a steady job and accept the risks that accompany uncertainty for the greater reward of growth and creative fulfillment.

Now we have the opportunity to move even further into a growth mindset where our potential is truly unlimited.


Do one thing every day that scares you.

Eleanor Roosevelt


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