“The plan was to have no plan. That was definitely outside my comfort zone, even just going down to a bus stop and trying to communicate with someone in a language you can’t speak try and get a bus ticket is actually really good for you even though it’s uncomfortable.”
– Sam, on pushing comfort zones through unstructured travel

Sam and Emma talk about how their comfort zones have been shrinking and what they can do to help them grow.

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03:29 What question does Sam ask himself to push himself out of his comfort zone?
05:05 How Sam uses commitment to push his comfort zone
06:38 Why did Sam become a part time police officer?
09:12 How does comfort “close in on you” if you don’t push yourself?
11:47 How do Sam and Emma’s comfort zones differ?
13:00 Discussing Emma’s comfort zone regarding her supper club
17:29 What job does Emma want to work while travelling?
20:37 How does Sam plan to push his comfort zone within Pipehouse Gin?
24:16 Local businesses Emma and Sam are considering starting together
27:03 Hear about Sam and Emma’s upcoming plans to travel again


S: Hello and welcome back to another episode of the lazy entrepreneur I’m your host Sam Priestley and as always I’m joined by my lovely wife Emma say hello Emma
E: Hello
S: Today I want to talk about your comfort zone and more importantly like what you can do to get out of it, what I in particular can do to to push the boundaries and get out of it comfort zone. It is something I very much strongly believe in and think is important for all of us to really push the boundaries but it’s also something that I used to do a lot better and maybe in the last year or so my opinion on it has changed a little bit. Well I used to think that your comfort zone was a bit like like learning the skill the once I’d learnt it and pushed the boundaries a little bit that was it and you got over that. I think for me a big thing was kind of social stuff, being extroverted, going out talking to different people, things like that. Going up to strangers in the street stuff like I spent quite a lot of time pushing my comfort zone. I thought that once you know I’d learn to be an extrovert that was kind of it but then in the last year or so I’ve been living in a very very very comfortable life and haven’t been pushing the boundaries as much and I found kind of those walls have come in a little bit. And that actually I’m probably maybe a bit more anxious, a bit less comfortable with things than I was a few years ago.
E: Well I would agree largely apart from the gin. I would say doing the market stalls and talking to people about your kind of a PR of the brand so talking about yourself, doing interviews, trying to show off in a way is really out of your comfort zone and you’ve had to do that with Pipehouse Gin.
S: Yeah that’s true that’s true and I’m just saying over the last year or so where I’ve been out of my comfort zone, it’s it’s it’s not something I’ve been working up.
E: yeah consciously
S: yeah whereas before I feel I could see myself improving every few months. I’d be a bit more confident and a bit better at certain things a bit better and more comfortable with uncertainty. I mean that start slightly reverse
E: yeah and I think you were very goal orientated as well so you’re aware of your things that were out of your comfort zone and you had ideas and little projects to try and work on those things
S: yeah exactly exactly yeah I think that I would think to myself well I’m not so good I find say cold-calling really really uncomfortable and really far out of my comfort zone so I’d set myself a target to do that or I remember the first time we ever had to fire someone from our business I volunteered to be the person who did that even though it was horrendous it was the last thing I wanted to do
E: yeah
S: And I was probably one of the least suited to doing it. I think part of it was I used to have a bit more of the philosophy of embracing stuff I wasn’t comfortable with and just one kind of like an everyday life it’d be I think to myself is this uncomfortable in like would it improve me to do this to do this unpleasant task and often the answer is yes and I’d go and do that. So yeah something like that where firing someone from a company, even back in my single days going into a nightclub and walking up to strangers and talking to them, that would be something I purposely try and do even though I felt horrendous doing it
E: to be fair, that’s how we met, you came up and talked to me
S: Yeah to be fair I still benefit from it now like when we’re traveling and stuff I’m still I still know he like the mental stuff I go through it to be like okay our goal tonight is to go chat a bunch people okay just go over and I can remember like the little games I play in my mind you know like the strategies till I start chatting to strangers try and get me over that kind of socially awkward uncomfortable bump it’s after you’re actually naturally very good up tell us one thing I’d have liked a little philosophy and probably overthink things a little bit and then the other thing I’d do is try and find sort of bigger long-term stuff I could commit to because you’re the thing so in one sense I’m quite I’m quite lazy and if I can find an easy way out of something I’ll take it but on the other hand I really don’t like letting people down and if I commit something if I wasn’t gonna be somewhere I feel really bad if I’m not so my way of kind of getting over a bit of laziness sometimes and a bit getting over comfort has been to commit to things and that could be stuff like the expert in year challenge I committed to getting up every morning and playing table tennis every day
E: yeah and you told everyone about it it wasn’t something you were doing in secret people were asking you how is it going what are you doing today so you felt obligated to carry on doing it
S: yeah yeah because since we married how many little challenges have I set myself on and given up after like two days because I haven’t really committed to them
E: quite a few
S: yeah okay I’m gonna do this this and this and to be fair like I wrote a blog post about three months ago about like daily habits I wanted to do to try and push myself in certain ways
E: Yeah what was in there?
S: that’s the funny thing I can’t really remember there was um I was doing my daily journal thing yeah well I was recording that yeah I was a phone call every day
E: that was amazing yeah well
S: that’s something that’s an exact example of something which I know is really good for me I know it’s really good for me to actually get on the phone and call someone
E: And everyone loved it
S: Exactly like I remember calling my sister for the first time and she thought that something terribly wrong so I’m not sure I’ve ever called our before if what let’s get but again I kind of just stopped doing it, just let it slip. The other thing I did at one point I became a police officer, a part-time police officer working one day a week trying to deal with conflict and all other sorts of stuff which I found intimidating in civilian life is so much worse as a police officer. If you’re in a boardroom you’re not gonna no one’s going to attack you or anything
E: well they are in a very different
S: very different way yeah I want everyone’s kind of being quite polite where people are straight-up abusive and having to deal with that particular you know yeah in a non-confrontational way and how do you deal with kind of adrenaline and and situations where everything’s going wrong and trying to keep a cool head and still think logically through things and that was really good i went through with that for a few years and It definitely helped a lot of things. Another thing we did was travelling travelling to and that was something that you found particularly difficult really outside your comfort zone where we had no real plans everything was uncertainty we didn’t know what city we were going to be in the next couple of days
E: yeah and everything was a one-way ticket i was used to planning two week holidays and what we were gonna do where we were gonna eat and all that stuff but I couldn’t do any of it because we just had no idea day-to-day we were doing
S: the plan was to have no plan yeah yeah oh that was definitely outside my comfort zone a lot like even just kind of going down to like a bus stop and trying to communicate with someone in a language you can’t speak try and get a bus ticket it’s actually like really good for you even though it’s uncomfortable. I suffer even when I started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu that was very much out of my comfort zone type of thing and I forced myself to compete which I don’t really enjoy find it quite uncomfortable but now it’s something that’s very comfortable cuz I’ve got you know fairly good at it and I just kind of go along when I want to and I don’t really compete and it’s always the same people who are there every time when I was travelling and going to new jujitsu place where I don’t speak the language every couple of weeks – that was outside my comfort zone even thought I was fairly okay at jujitsu, being someone new was quite uncomfortable but going to the same gym four times a week at the moment training with the same people is very comfortable. There’s quite a few things like I think kind of the problem is is that we think that the best life is like a comfortable one and we look at like what you want to be doing what people think of when they think of like retirement or holidays it’s like relaxing on a beach no stress no no worries
E: no commitments
S: yeah or whatever is just really do whatever you want chilled out no nothing you don’t want to do whereas in reality if you live that sort of life your comfort zone closes in on you and becomes it has its downside as you need to be pushing yourself I like to think of it as the difference between chronic chronic stress and like an acute like short-term stress actually short term stress is quite good for you like working out in a gym you’re putting stress on your muscles or doing sort of mental problems or meditation stuff like that or put short term stress on your mind if you want to make it stronger, but long term is very unhealthy is kind of chronic stress where you’ve got kind of this underlying something you can’t we do much about this always playing on your mind and I think maybe in the last year and a half I’ve suffered quite a bit from too much chronic stress and not really any of that like short term yeah stress about a bunch of like business deals and stuff which have been sat in kind of no-man’s land a couple of years and I’ve been on my mind quite a lot
E: yeah extremely stressful
S: I mean stressful but not in a good way whereas the other kind of stressful stuff like going out for a shift in Tower Hamlets as a police officer where you have no idea what’s going to happen. A call comes over that you know someone’s got a knife and your hearts racing then one’s over it’s over and that’s just gotten I don’t really have any of that kind of short-term confidence pushing self-improvement and it’s with because that’s all kind of by design we designed ourselves a very comfortable life
E: yes
S: nice house we got a nice group of friends we live in a very safe civilized area we know a lot of people we don’t need to get out of bed in the morning if you don’t want to we don’t need to do any work during the day if we don’t want. It’s all too comfortable I’ve spoken quite a lot am i I also want to talk to you about your comfort zone because I think that we you probably have a similar problem as me which is exhibiting itself in a very different way in the stuff I find uncomfortable such as whatever cold calling or going around to restaurants to chat someone I never met actually you quite enjoy and that’s very much within your comfort zone
E: yeah
S: whereas other stuff which I’m perhaps a bit more comfortable with such as like the uncertainty like the travelling and not having a plan you find very uncomfortable and I think even though you’ve been doing a lot of stuff over the last year which I would describe as very uncomfortable they’re actually very much within your comfort zone
E: yeah I’ve really enjoyed them enjoyed them
S: I like to talk about your your supper clubs because when you start doing them they were very much outside your comfort zone when I do remember I’ll notice you were for the first like I’d actually I remember how nervous I was for the first
E: Yeah I think you were more nervous than I was because I felt very in control of the situation in that I guess when I was picking the menu people were signing up and paying for it I guess the element of no control was that people might not show up but I didn’t really see that as a reflection on me and I was I was quite confident about my food and I mean yes there’s always an element of being worried that I was going to get bad feedback and people didn’t like my food but that hasn’t happened so I’ve been quite lucky.
S: you do you do worry about negative feedback
E: yeah for your food and I think that’s one of the reasons why so one thing that Emma has had the opportunity to do but hasn’t done would be to turn her supper clubs into a bigger like renter space and take over a restaurant for an evening and turn in with like 30 plus people and there’s many reasons why you haven’t done it which some of them is probably that lack of control like lack of it being in your comfort zone
E: yeah I suppose it’s it’s quite daunting going from cooking for ten to kind of 25 or 30. I don’t have a professional catering background so I’m very much a home cook that’s used to cooking for family and friends
S: yeah yeah you are I knew I think you’re a bit self-conscious of that
E: yeah because there are certain tricks and tips and ways of even things like plating up for more than ten people that I just wouldn’t even though I’ve never seen before, let alone know how to do so that really puts me off
S: yeah I’m not sure yeah so one of the things you like about the supper clubs is that it is in your home and it’s home cooking
E: yeah
S: and you kind of you push a little bit on purposely on not professional aspect of it definitely
E: and also I am in control of it so because of the size of it I can control what we eat I do all the shopping all the prep all the cooking all the serving and all the clearing away whereas when you scale it up I’m gonna have to have staff to help me do some of those things yeah which again is something that is quite out of my comfort zone to manage as a casual worker or friends and family
S: yeah because you said before you don’t want to work in a restaurant you don’t want to you would like to work or have your career to be as a chef in a restaurant
E: yeah
S: you have said before that you wouldn’t mind being like a landlady of a pub or something like that so what is it about what’s the difference between those two things that means one of them when really like food is your thing surely being the chef would be more up your street than the landlady
E: yeah I think it’s just that jump between a home cook and being professional cook on the scale so yeah it’s the I don’t feel like I have the skills to be able to be a professional chef and I see professional chefs catering for more than just a dinner party
S: yeah yeah yeah well maybe that’s something that is worth you pushing the boundaries of slightly maybe not necessary jumping straight into doing a full-on pop-up for loads of people but you know we’ve spoken and actually you’re looking into doing a little joint venture with someone else who you can rely on for those skills
E: yeah working with a professional chef yeah yeah I’m really looking forward to doing something like that
S: yeah I’m hoping that you’re gonna find it’s not as daunting as you think it is well
E: I think the next stage for me is apart from doing this pop-up with the chef where I could obviously learn quite a few of these things so for example how to plate up for 25 but I think the next step is when we go traveling to work in some professional kitchens yeah so like a local cafe in Thailand or yeah I don’t know like amazing pastry chef that works in Bali that was on chef’s table work in his kitchen for a week like that kind of thing
S: but we’re not we’re not we’re talking about going traveling until summer till like July so what’s to stop you talking to someone like the small Holdings who like because of the gin you now actually know quite a lot about the restaurant owners and stuff around here and I’m sure loads of them would be up for you helping out maybe doing one day a week for a month or something or doing a couple of weeks straight as like a bit of work experience
E: yeah haven’t really thought about it yeah because we were talking about you getting some more professional cooking experience either by way of a schooling or sort of volunteering or working in kitchens yeah all doing something like the cordon bleu back when we first went traveling yeah four years ago and we haven’t really got any further than that
E: well we could see the cheapest way to do it was to do it in Mexico yeah so I’m still up to that plan it just needs more Spanish yeah yeah
S: I don’t want to embarrass you any further on this podcast. well I mean what what areas do I have but I really need to push the boundaries on and what can I do about it
E: I mean I have no idea you just wake up one day and you’re like oh I’m gonna do this challenge for the next month yeah well I don’t know where any of this stuff comes from
S: well, this is where I come from, I’m having a chat with you oh I’m just having it with myself yeah I think um I think doing some of the stuff that you’re doing at the moment where you go along to bars and restaurants and stuff and chat to them is something it might be worth me coming along with I want to do myself even though it’s it’s probably not the best use of my time in terms of stuff I could be doing well I want to be writing blog posts whatever I think actually in terms of my comfort zone stuff it would be good
E: I do like half a day well I’ll pick an area and map out I don’t know 10 pubs and restaurants and I’ll do a little driving routes and then I go in and drop off a bottle of our gin like a small sample bottle and try and chat to the manager introduce our gin and then I follow up with a phone call a few days later so you thought to buy it
S: Think that would be good we get a lot of opportunities people often have to do like tastings and stuff yeah and no bars so maybe I should sort of commit to doing a few of them actually talking about our gin to strangers and in public
E: yeah I really want to do that with you
S: yeah I think that could be quite good, I think it’s really good good experience for us and it’s something that we can really utilize having the gin brand yeah yeah we might it was very good at it but that doesn’t really matter for the first few
E: yeah I mean you know talking about gin there’s quite a lot of stuff to do with that I think also something I could do is start marketing my blog again yeah cuz that’s something I stopped doing because I found it really uncomfortable so I’m posting about it on the forums and putting it out there the problem with marketing your stuff like that it’s there’s always gonna be a few people that are quite negative about it which I really didn’t like and so because of that it’s basically been a year well I haven’t done any promotion at all for the blog and just hoped that people will find it naturally the whole if you build it they’ll come and because of that sort of revenue and traffic has dropped over the last year that’s probably something I should do maybe focus on half a day a week or something of really promoting it
E: so that posted on like reddit and quora
S: yeah yeah yeah all the kind of stuff where I used to get traffic but you still have to deal with members of the public it’s quite time-consuming and it can be in the middle of the night as well, you’ve got a once it’s live you’ve got a kind of constantly that’s part of because I get a little bit a little bit neurotic over it like we need every common yeah which isn’t particularly good for me and something I’ve got to learn as opposed to just question it all together it’d be better for me to learn how to deal with
E: yeah yes I think about it a half a day a week rather than a few days of blitzing it and they’re not doing it again for six month
S: I think I’ve another thing I spoke about before is trying to find conferences and stuff to sign up to and maybe talk out maybe I should push that but make it a bit more local so find business events that are happening around or school assemblies or whatever and try and just do some public speaking type stuff with that because that would take that’d be quite easy to get the gig so I could like queue them up and have loads and I wouldn’t have to travel too much
E: yeah
S: um that’s a bit of a problem these days being a bit ill and don’t like the travel yeah because I often get asked to do stuff like school assemblies or um like little talk and networking event things like that so maybe I should start pushing up again especially locally we’ve got lots of contacts around here yeah I could do stuff with maybe also I should be thinking about some sort of local business I can do that’s that’s a short term maybe try and maybe something we could do together we can look to do some sort of event.
E: I know you’ve previously you’ve talked about doing some sort of social event a church
S: yeah I don’t know I don’t know maybe some sort paid event try and actually make a bit of money out of it just something I don’t really have much experience with but that isn’t long-term and push my comfort zone for saying something where it involve going around talking to a few business owners whatever I maybe try and get in a bit of sponsorship for it. there’s a little bit of a coworking community around here but it’s not got any depth to it yeah so there’s a bunch of people who are co-working and it’s not really any depth to it I could do something for them to do yeah there’s loads of I’m sure if I spend a bit time brainstorming like I think of 100 good events that would be worth doing and that people would want to do and have like a plan to do it and maybe then try and make you and actually make a bit of money out of it as opposed to just doing it for fun yeah maybe that’s something I should we should think about doing
E: Yeah I quite like that idea
S: Because you like events anyway that’s from your background it’s very much in your comfort zone is very much outside of my comfort zone yeah and it’s not like starting a whole new business where if we go travelling and stuff we have to leave it behind or whatever it’s something that we can do once and maybe leave it or maybe do something different in the future especially now we’ve got kind of contacts with the press and local business groups and stuff like that I think we could do a bit with that
E: and the cafes where everyone works in
S: cafes wave on works and we know a lot of a bunch of business owners who’ve let us use their space or do a sort of team-up thing with us yeah
E: I quite like that off the cuff that’s quite good idea
S:yeah I think that would be good to help push my comfort zone do something a bit interesting I think something else I should do is start competing at Brazilian jiu-jitsu maybe sign up a few competitions. The problem is they’re all on weekends and my weekends are booked up for months and months in advance there are timetables of competition so I need to be I mean they’re not good excuses I should do that then give me an excuse to lose some weight as well we’ve just come back from an all-inclusive holiday in the Caribbean well I’ve eaten my body weight multiple times a day I’m no longer a feather weight and then of course if we go traveling again this is something we’ve been considering and are probably gonna do is come July we’re probably gonna move out of our house get rid of or sell most of our belongings and go back to being sort of digital nomads and traveling a bit yeah that will definitely definitely help with a bunch of things help push the boundaries a bit of our comfort
E: Remove all of our comfort scary times
S: scary times alright well let’s leave that discussion here for a moment got a bit of food for thought here you go, this is what I think about when you fall asleep I’m a night person and Emma’s a morning person and so when she’s asleep I lay awake thinking about what I can do to get out of my comfort zone or other equally weird wonderful concepts we talked about
E: that’s right
S: I can talk to myself I’m happy I don’t know all right well thanks for listening and if you have any questions that you want me to answer these podcasts please email me at hello at Sam Priestley dot com I’m thinking about maybe adding in a question-and-answer episode once a month or once every two months for I’ll just take all the questions I’ve been asked and just run from they could be on any subject and I’ll do my best and yeah please please leave a good review 5 stars or nothing please on whatever whatever you’re listening to this on thank you and goodbye