Stepping Outside Of Your Comfort Zone by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

Everyone likes to feel good about what he or she is doing, which means doing things we know we are capable and competent in completing. In business, as well as in your personal life, staying in this comfort zone can be tempting, but it is also very limiting.

Think of your comfort zone as your own private bubble. In this bubble you know you are successful, you have positive experiences, and you use behaviors and familiar patterns with a proven positive result. It is a place of security, safety, and familiarity that is important and necessary for anyone.

However, by avoiding new situations and by limiting yourself to staying inside that protective and safe bubble, you miss opportunities. It is only through challenges, conflicts, and even anxiety and stressful situations that change and growth occurs. Learning to step outside of your comfort zone is a skill that you can develop to create the opportunity for this type of growth.

Face Your Fears

The reason that people like to stay in their secure, safe bubble is usually due to fear. This fear is often linked to concerns about failure, the unknown, change, conflict or fear of looking like perhaps they are not 100% in control.

The first step in moving out of your comfort zone is to take a closer look at what you fear or what is holding you back. By facing the fear and acknowledging it is limiting your potential to take advantage of an opportunity, you can then develop effective options to address the fear and still try something new.

Taking Risks

Everyone has a different level of comfort in taking risks. Some people are highly risk avoidant while others are seemingly willing to take risks, and sometimes the risks may outweigh the possible rewards. Balance is always important, but settling for the status quo never creates growth, improves skills, or allows for the actualization of potential.

The key is to see potential changes not as risks or benefits, but as opportunities and experiences. It is impossible for anyone in business to have achieved their current level of success without failure. Each of these failures created knowledge and experience that was then leveraged in the future to create an opportunity for growth.

By taking risks, you don’t have to make uninformed decisions. Access talented people to help you, seek the advice of people you respect and trust and look for possibilities and opportunities to test out your options and to experience something new. This process is instrumental in growing your comfort zone and also in reinforcing the potential for growth you have within you.