How to Systematically Expand Your Comfort Zone: My Scandalous Australian Story and the Great Life Secret it Unveiled
Today, I’m going to share with you a story I’ve never written about anywhere.
For the last 2 years, I haven’t had the guts to do it…
Even writing about it today still feels outside my comfort zone.
It’s probably going to surprise you, shock you and make you smile, too.
Whatever you reaction is, your perception of me is definitely going to change after you’ve read this…
But it’s a part of my life story and it has shaped the man I am today, so whatever happens, I’m cool with it.
This story made me bolder, more confident, and helped me overcome my shyness in a big way (yes, I used to be shy, especially around new people).
It’s a big reason why public speaking doesn’t scare me, why I’m comfortable in social settings, and why approaching beautiful women is a lot easier than it used to be.
This story will also teach you a powerful lesson.
You’ll discover an unconventional way to build enormous courage, grow your comfort zone way beyond its current size, and become the type of person who can handle any situation, no matter how weird or crazy it is.
All right, here we go…
Living the Australian Dream… Almost
Let us begin this story in February 2011.
I was living in Perth, doing my MBA at the University of Western Australia.
My life was awesome on many levels… School was going well, the weather was fantastic, the beach was magnificent and the Aussies were as friendly as ever.
There was only one thing cramping my style: my job.
I was working as an administrative assistant for a local company, and while I made decent money, it just wasn’t that much fun.
Lots of paperwork, Excel spreadsheets and other admin stuff. Not my cup of tea.
One day, I decided I’d had enough.
I was 24 years old, in perfect health, living in one of the most beautiful cities in the world…
What the hell was I doing wasting my precious time doing boring work?
My intention for my 17 months in Australia was to live life to the fullest, experience as much as possible, and really put myself “out there”.
My job just didn’t fit with this grand plan.
I made up my mind quickly and decided to quit the job.
I still needed to make some money though… so over the next few days, I declared to myself and the Universe that I was going to find a new, better job.
This new job was going to fit 3 criteria:
1) Good money
2) Not a lot of hours
3) A lot of fun
Nothing unreasonable, right? :)
I had no idea how this was going to happen, but I knew it’d work out somehow… as it always does.
The Strange Phone Call that Changed Everything
About 2 weeks later, my phone rang.
I looked down, and it was my buddy James.
The conversation went something like this:
James: “G’day mate!”
Phil: “What’s up James? How are you?”
James: “Ah mate, things are just great. I got a new job and I’m loving it.”
Phil: “Oh that’s awesome, good for you! What’s the new gig?”
James: “Well, you know how in Australia when a woman gets married, her friends throw her a party… it’s called a Hen’s Night.”
Phil: “Yeah sure.”
James: “Well, for my job, I essentially go to Hen’s Nights, serve drinks and food, and make sure the girls are having a good time.”
Phil: “Man, that does sound great!”
James: “Yes is it… Well I should tell you, there’s one more thing… When I go, I have to be in my boxers and wear a bow tie. But that’s no big deal.. It pays great money, it’s just a few hours a week and it’s a ton of fun. ”
Now, you gotta put yourself in my shoes for a second. The Universe had just delivered my job request, except not at all in a way I had envisioned.
At this point, I knew I was at a mini-crossroads in my life.
I had two options:
1) I could tell James I was happy for him and change subjects…
2) I could figure out how to get involved with this crazy job…
***Back to the story***
Phil: “Dude, that sounds awesome. [Takes a deep breath] Hmmmm…. Do you know if they’re looking for more guys? I think I’d like to give this a shot.”
James: “Yeah mate, I’ll put you in touch with my boss. I think you’d be great for this.”
Phil: “All right… Let’s do it.”
I hung up, smiled, and burst out laughing.
Oh man… I had a feeling things were about to get real interesting.
Over the next few days, I got in touch with the boss, sent him a few pictures of myself, and he hired me.
Merely a few days later, I received this text from my new boss:
“G’day Phil! Get ready, you start work this Saturday. Here’s the address, show up at 3pm and wear some nice board shorts. It’s a pool party. Good luck.”
I stared at the text, and realized that this was actually happening…
My First Day on the Job
When I woke up that Saturday morning, the first thought that came through my mind was: “Oh shit, I have to go to my new job this afternoon.”
My mind started spinning and I got super nervous.
And it was still 6 hours away…
I tried to go through my day normally, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
Like I said, by nature I’m pretty shy when it comes to meeting new people so this was WAY outside my comfort zone.
Eventually, it was time to go…
I got in my car and drove off, trying to stay cool and composed.
I got there, parked the car, and met up with the other waiter in front of the house.
Luckily, for our first time, we were paired off with someone else, so I didn’t have to do this all alone.
I could hear the music blasting in the back of the house and the girls laughing.
While this might sound awesome, it only made me more nervous in that moment.
I told my new colleague: “Hey man… I gotta be honest, I’m really nervous about this. Do you think we’re gonna be all right?”
He laughed and told me, “Mate, don’t worry. You’re all good. Just smile, have a good time and it’ll all work out.”
That made me feel better… a little bit.
We started walking toward the back of the house, and I knew there was no turning back.
My Debut as a Topless Waiter
As soon as we walked through the pool gate, I had a vision of paradise.
25 attractive girls in and around a pool, wearing bikinis and having a blast.
Clearly, they had already had a few drinks… and they were really excited to see us. They all started screaming and giggling.
One of them ran over, welcomed us, and put a policeman hat on each of our heads.
This was definitely going to be an interesting afternoon.
We asked what we should do and she told us these sweet words:
“Make sure the girls have a drink in their hand, and a smile on their face.”
Over the next 2 hours, I served drinks to the girls, played games with them and took a few dips in the pool.
Eventually, they told me…
“Phil, we have a big favor to ask you. We’d love to do body shots off you, is that ok?”
I thought about it for a very short second, and agreed. :)
After a few hours of wild times and semi-decadence, I got back in my car and drove home… with a giant smile on my face.
I knew I had just found my job for the rest of my Australian journey.
9 Months of Adventures, Sexiness and Comfort Zone Challenges
After this successful first event, I became a regular and now had a “gig” every Saturday night.
Even though things had gone very well the first time, I was still super nervous every time I headed to a new party.
It was the ultimate uncertainty scenario: I never knew in advance who the girls were, and how they were going to be.
They could be young or old, classy or crazy, fun or just weird…
I never knew what I was getting into. I walked in the door while 20 women stared at me and made excited noises.
Each night, strange/funny situations would invariably arise and I would just have to roll with it.
One of the funniest thing about all this is that I was living a very unlikely triple-life:
MBA student during the day, personal development blogger at night and topless waiter on the weekend. As you can imagine, there was rarely a boring week.
For the record, I was not a stripper, I never got naked (I promised it to my Mom when I told her about my new job…), and I always kept it relatively classy. :)
I have tons of funny stories about what went down during those nights, and if we ever meet I’ll be happy to entertain you with a few.
But funny stuff aside, I learned a very powerful lesson during that period of my life, and I want to share it with you.
The Fastest Path to Expanding Your Comfort Zone
You’ve heard it before: the more we get outside our comfort zone, the more it grows, and the more courageous we become.
But here’s the problem: we are hardwired to avoid getting outside our comfort zone. Our survival instinct makes it extremely hard to voluntarily do things that are uncomfortable.
So how do we navigate around that? Here’s one solution: we have to structure our life in such a way that we consistently do something uncomfortable EVERY WEEK.
We have to schedule it. Make it non-negotiable.
For 9 months, every Saturday, I was nervous as heck on my way to the party. But I couldn’t back down. And as a result, every week my comfort zone grew a little bit.
Nowadays, I do it in a different way. I go salsa/bachata dancing at least twice a week, and even though it’s fun, it’s really challenging for me (that’s a whole other story, for another day).
To make sure I don’t get soft and decide not to go, I have to pay my friend Mariah $20 if I ever miss a class…
So how can YOU systematically increase your comfort zone?
Here are a few recommendations:
1) Sign up for improv classes
2) Sign up for salsa lessons
3) Go volunteering in a soup kitchen
4) If you’re in school, raise your hand at least once in EVERY class
5) Sign up for martial arts classes
6) Join a debate team
7) Become a topless waiter :)
The 2 important things to remember are:
1) It has to be every single week, not just when you feel like it.
2) There has to be a consequence for missing. I recommend giving $20 to one of your friends or charity. You can use Stikk to track it.
While I’ve now retired from topless waitering, I’m still committed to stepping outside my comfort zone every week.
I know without the shadow of a doubt that being able to overcome my fears is a pre-requisite to living my dreams, so I’ve made peace with it.
And I’ve learned something pretty neat… The best, most exhilarating, most memorable times of our life… always happen right on the other side of our fears.
So let me ask you… How are you going to systematically increase your comfort zone? Let me know the comments section below.
Choose Greatness (and Sexiness),