The comfort zone is like the two inches of water it takes to drown! Scary, I know. But oh so cozy while you’re there. But progress comes when you learn to step out of your comfort zone.
I have had my fair share of experience with drowning in the shallow pool (aka the comfort zone).
My bad marriage took every ounce of energy I had just to keep my head above the water.
Not exactly the comfort zone, but it took everything I had so there was nothing left to learn, there was nothing left for taking on new challenges. I was just in survival mode.
And you could see that in my life too. Everything around me sat dormant and still. I refused to take on anything new or challenging at work. My parenting was atrocious because I was angry and impatient and tired ALL the time! My friends didn’t hear from me often. And honestly, they were probably okay with that because I wasn’t a joy to be around through that season of life.
But That’s exactly the kind of stuff that will kill your aspirations and dull your light.
Our comfort zone can be described as our experiences, skills, and personality that makes us good with certain situations and certain people.
When we live only within this comfort zone then we never expand the types of situations we can handle or the types of people we can comfortably work with.
There’s ZERO growth in the comfort zone.
Growth only comes when you step out of your comfort zone.
On the flip side, we don’t want to jump into the middle of the ocean either. The further outside the comfort zone, the higher the likelihood you can drown there as well.
The sweet spot is to step outside of your comfort zone far enough that you’re uncomfortable and required to learn new things but you only stumble or slow down a bit.
For example, if you struggle to speak in front of others then it’s usually a bad idea to jump right into presenting to an auditorium full of 1,000 people. But a small step would be to talk to a group of 10 people about something you’re an expert in.
Over time you increase the types of situations you can handle and the types of people you can successfully work with.
Over time you will notice that conversations outside your expertise become easier, your decisions pull from a wider set of data, your team feels they can connect with you, and your voice and impact thrive.
One simple way to step outside your current comfort zone is to look at all of your connections and sources of information.
- Are you reading authors who are different from you?
2. Are you listening to podcasts that cover things you’re not familiar with?
3. Are your connections diverse so that you’re constantly getting a lens into others’ lived experiences.
Remember, it does take energy every time we step outside of our comfort zone. And life has seasons where sometimes the healthiest thing to do is to hang out in your comfort zone for a little bit. That’s life and we have to be kind to ourselves in those seasons. But do be intentional about where, why and how you’re stretching outside of your comfort zone.
As leaders we do not have the luxury of living in our comfort zone if we want our organizations to thrive.
Wondering where to get the energy to step out of your comfort zone?
- It’s really important that you have a support system in place to re-energize you, give you encouragement and help you see clearly the opportunities that are worth stepping outside the comfort one and where maybe you just need to delegate.
- Working too much is a sure way to have nothing left to give
- Know what activities energize you and scatter them through your day
How do you consistently step out of your comfort zone and what benefit do you notice?