What is your comfort zone? Our comfort zones are where we feel the most at home. These activities and behaviors fit a routine and pattern with minimal risk. However, when we step out of our comfort zone, we take risks, which leads to stress and anxiety.
The risk of the unknown is where we grow, learn and develop in ways we never thought possible.
At work, we can get in a rut, wake up at the same time, head to work, do what is needed, and then go home, only to repeat this pattern daily. Staying in our comfort zones results in consistent, steady performance – while stepping out of our comfort zone into a new and challenging task can create opportunities for optimal performance. Comfort Zone helps you embrace risk and make changes that lead to personal and professional growth.
Being slightly uncomfortable, whether by choice or not, can push us to achieve goals we never thought possible. Take a moment to reflect on when you moved outside your comfort zone. Then, looking back, how did you grow from that experience?
I think of a time when I was pushed out of my comfort zone. It was scary, and I was unsure of my future and how I would provide for my family as a single mother at that time. One of the people who pushed me out of my comfort zone said, “Cheryl, you are like a cat with nine lives… you will land on your feet” At that time, I was hurt and confused by his comment. Five years later, I could see that he was right. Was the road easy? Heavens no! The opportunities and growth have been rewarding.
Challenging yourself can help you perform at your peak. There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. I often think of the young infant learning to crawl and then walk. There is fumbling and many falls, yet they keep getting up repeatedly. As a young teenager, I was inspired by an 80-year-old woman who took one college or community education class a semester. She loved to learn and take any course that interested her. What an impact she made on my young life about the value of lifelong learning and leaving comfort zones.
As we age, our comfort zones tend to shrink we are less likely to take risks – when we open ourselves up to great fulfillment. Of course, there are times and seasons to stay in our comfort zones, but for optimal growth, we need to challenge ourselves to step outside of our comfort zone.
|Ways to step out of your comfort zone||Benefits|
|Challenge yourself – be curious||Leads to performing at your peak|
|Take Risks||Promotes growth|
|Trying new things – Ask for new tasks||Increases your creativity|
|Take Small Steps||Small wins lead to big results|
By Cheryl Viola, Executive Director & CEO, MBA