Our comfort zone is a place of routines, low risk and low stress, and provides an important sense of security and stability in an adult life full of responsibilities. Unfortunately, our comfort zone is also often a place of low achievement in which we spend years stagnating in our professional and personal lives, often bound by fear.
There is an abundance of proof that humans achieve their maximum potential when they challenge themselves by stepping out of their comfort zone. Success comes to those who risk, and those who grow. Just ask Richard Branson.
The key is in finding the balance, between comfort and risk.
There is no need to turn your entire life on its head in a fit of desperation to achieve success or break out of a current rut. All that is required is that you change things up a bit, extending your comfort zone ever wider to allow more people, experiences and opportunities into your life.
Here are some tips to break out of your comfort zone, both professionally and personally. I have included both, for our professional and private selves are inextricable, and where we find new dynamism in one aspect of our lives, we find a new dynamism in the other.
1. Extend your circle.
Sign up to a course, go to a lecture, and join online communities. Meet up with colleagues and peers at conferences and events wherever possible- it’s through expanding your circle that the opportunities will come. Take a real interest in the people that you meet; by talking to others, their different lives and jobs will enable you to gain a new perspective on your own. We are often bound by others’ expectations, by meeting new people we allow different parts of ourselves to emerge.
2. Find people to emulate.
Make friends with the success stories, read autobiographies- be inspired by those who have achieved greatness in something- find out how they did it. You will increasingly realise your excuses are not as valid as you may think.
3. Do new things.
Go to a new café. Order something different on the menu. Sign up to a new sport or go to a public lecture. Book a holiday in a destination you have never considered before. Wake up earlier. Walk a different way to work. Go to a restaurant or see a movie on your own. Turn the television off, get off facebook and use the time to do something else. Remove your digital crutch.
4. Do one big thing that you are scared of.
You know what it is, that thing that has held you back and made you feel slightly inadequate. Learn to dance. Apply for that promotion. Move to a new country. Write that book. Put something of yourself in the public domain- a You Tube clip, a piece of writing, a comment on a news article. Try something you’ve never been naturally talented at. You may be right, you may never be great at it, but at least you won’t be followed by that sense of avoiding difficult things that so often darkens our lives. Discuss your ideas, find people to argue with; the internet is not short of those.
If you want to make significant changes in your professional life, these people are trained to help with the strategy to achieve. Even taking that first step will fill you with an energy and a sense of possibility. Follow through.
Until next time,