“It’s only after you’ve stepped outside your comfort zone that you begin to change, grow, and transform.”― Roy T. Bennett
It is natural to reach a level of comfort in our workplace. There is a familiarity and a rhythm to what we do. Every day we know what to expect, who we will work with, and the personalities of our co-workers. Even when the work we do does not stimulate us, does not challenge us, we accept that and settle in.
Throughout life, there will be opportunities that become available to us, but we hesitate. We are not comfortable with change. We may be scared and feel we are not qualified. We want to take advantage of the option, but all we think about is the possibility of failing. Change can be stressful and cause anxiety.
What happens when life throws you a curve, either good or bad? Maybe your company downsizes or moves to another state, or out of the country. You might lose your job, or decide to quit because you don’t want to move.
All of those things will require change and will throw you out of your comfort zone. What would you do if you receive a promotion? There is also the possibility that you make the decision, consciously or unconsciously, to push yourself to improve and move forward, knowing that it may be a while until you find a comfort zone of your own making.
Change can be scary, and, yes, it can cause stress. However, having worked for many years working under a low level of self-induced stress by continually pushing myself to do better, I think it can be a good and productive way to work.
We each have a choice every day when we start our day. Will we settle in and do just what is required of us, or will we do more?
When there was a change in my life, I went back to work. I would be raising two young children on my own. I took an entry-level job in a field I had worked in before and never thought I would work in again. I did not have a college education, so I was starting at the bottom. It did not take me long to realize that I not only wanted but needed more. That was my choice, and I pushed myself forward every day.
There was no comfort zone. I worked most of the time with a certain level of stress; like a low hum. Sometimes it was more of a roar.
As a result, I was always pushing the boundaries, and that became normal to me. I was more productive, and I always looked for new things to learn. I guess you could say I was ambitious. Although, I never thought of it that way; that thought just popped into my head.
Change became more comfortable, and I was able to adapt more quickly. I became more creative in the way I did my work, and I learned to question and look for better, more efficient ways to complete my assignments.
Deciding to work outside of a comfort zone worked for me and I was successful as a result. Do I consider myself lucky or special? No, why would I? In my mind, it was all about pushing myself and going the extra mile.
So how can you leave your comfort zone, and what steps can you take?
First, of course, is deciding to go for it. There are all sorts of scenarios and reason, and everyone’s will be different in some way.
Think of it as a reset, or a reboot, Compare it to your computer system that requires a periodic update. In this case, you are doing an update on your comfort zone.
When you do an update on your computer, you find that some of your programs run differently. That is what you need to do too.
Start making changes. They do not have to be big, change your life in one day, changes. Start small, and keep adjusting, adding more changes. Don’t stop if something does not work or it feels uncomfortable. That is how you learn, and you will grow from all your experiences, both good and bad.
Take it slow. It does not have to happen overnight. Think about what you either have to change, or want to change, and determine what makes you uncomfortable. What makes you afraid? Analyze and determine if you can break it down into steps. Then take one step at a time.
Depending on the type of person you are, or what your work environment is like, there are two approaches you can take. Based on the situation you find yourself in, you can, of course, use both
If you work in a fast-paced environment, you may be used to making quick decisions, and that is what you are comfortable doing. What if you slow it down and take a step back. Look at what is happening, take a breath, a moment, and think. Instead of making a snap decision, you will be making an educated decision. It will feel uncomfortable because it is not what is usually done.
On the other hand, you may be comfortable taking your time making decisions. You may like to analyze and look at all the options. Sometimes we may hesitate and take an extra day to make a decision. Take a risk and make a snap decision. Trust your judgment. You may like it, and there may be a benefit because you will learn to trust yourself and be more confident as a result.
Trying new things can be stressful, but in the long run, it can be beneficial. When you learn new skills and have new experiences, you become more interesting and have a broader perspective, not only for your work but of yourself.
Continue pushing yourself in all aspects of your life, not just at work. There is so much to do and so much to learn. Life is short, but it is full of possibilities, no matter who you are, or how young or how old. Don’t live a life half full; do as much as you can and don’t get too comfortable.
“Coming out of your comfort zone is tough in the beginning, chaotic in the middle, and awesome in the end…because in the end, it shows you a whole new world.”– Manoj Arora
As always, thank you for reading my blog. Make yourself uncomfortable today.