You will see all kinds of articles, quotes and advice about “getting outside your comfort zone” and I have certainly written my fair share. Certainly I see that a lot of people “get it” but there are also many who either don’t see the value, or don’t think they should bother.
So … I thought I would try to demystify these references to the comfort zone.
1. The comfort zone is a comfortable place. We are in familiar territory, we do the same kinds of things day in day out. We deal with the same people, using basically the same processes and don’t try to do anything differently.
There are good reasons to be here. It is lower stress. It requires less “thinking”, and creates less errors … because we learn to do the same things over and over again so we get them right!
2. Getting out of the comfort zone is not for everybody. Some people would be very stressed out. They would probably be paralysed by fear or uncertainty if they were forced to change the way they do things.
3. Our world changes around us all the time. The mobile phone was not around when I started my career … so the world forces change on us. It is always better if we can be the ones driving change rather than having it happen to us! That is what happened to dinosaurs and “buggy whip” manufacturers!
5. People that want to have successful careers need to be people willing to make changes … rather than have change happen to them.
6. Change happens as much in our personal lives as it does at work, so a willingness to get outside the comfort zone can be very beneficial in all areas of our lives. Getting out doing new things can result in new skills, meeting new people and open up new opportunities.
7. Change, or a venture outside the comfort zone, does not have to be big. It can start small. As we get comfortable with small changes, then we can try a little more. It is similar to learning to swim … start with short distances in the shallow end of the pool. Ultimately you might swim across the lake, or at a minimum have fun jumping off the dock with your friends!
8. We grow our muscles by working them hard. We increase our knowledge by learning. We grow our life skills by trying new things.
9. A comfortable place is often a great place to be … but sometimes it is just boring. Change brings some hassles, but the rewards can be many!
10. I would sooner get to the end of my life and regret the things I did, rather than the things I never tried.
“Twenty years from now you will more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain
Kevin Dee is CEO of Eagle (a Professional Staffing Company)
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