Don’t step outside your comfort zone

Railway lines - changing direction. Christopher Beddies Unsplash image
Image by Christopher Beddies – Unsplash

Have you ever wondered whether stepping out of your comfort zone is a good idea? Michael Wood, an accomplished, results-driven marketing executive with >25 years’ c-level experience shares his views on this subject.

Disorder image
Image by Jakayla Toney – Unsplash

If the stability, familiarity, and security of your personal ecosystem, i.e. your comfort zone, are what allow you to perform at your best and, if ‘the magic only happens’ if you move out of your comfort zone, then the magic will only happen when you change your ecosystem to be unstable, unfamiliar, and insecure, i.e. be in a situation that does not allow you to perform at your best. ‘Stepping out’ of your comfort zone strongly implies that you are leaving your enablers ‘behind’ and venturing into a new zone where fear and instability are the paths to growth.

In my view, this is not correct, healthy, or realistic and smacks of a paradox. It does not make sense. It is like saying that in order to grow you need to stop using English as your business language and start using German, and you can’t speak German. Verstehst du was ich sage?

Therefore, moving out of your comfort zone does not seem like a good idea. But we all tend to agree that in order to grow, we need to address the fear of the unknown, acquire new skills, and set new goals. If you want to grow then your growth process, and all that comes with it, will surely be more effective if it takes place within your personal ecosystem, i.e. your comfort zone.

So, what do you do?

COVID-19 has shown us that things, normally considered fixed, robust, and reliable, can quickly change, and that unforeseeable change is inevitable and also, that we are capable of meaningful adaptation. This should then apply to your comfort zone’s framework too.

My hypothesis, and what works for me, is to intentionally and purposefully enhance and enrich your comfort zone framework to better align your ecosystem with your desired growth. Instead of stepping out of your comfort zone into the fear zone, then into the learning zone, and finally to the growth zone, ‘upgrade’ the parameters of your established comfort zone so to speak.

Self-awareness is key. If you want to grow – understand, embrace, and purposefully include useful, growth-focused realities and actions that will foster your intended growth, within your comfort zone. For example:

  • I am comfortable setting growth goals for …
  • I am comfortable addressing my lack of confidence by …
  • I am comfortable not finding excuses based on …
  • I am comfortable dealing with challenges and problems through …
  • I am comfortable acquiring the necessary skills including …
  • I will do this while feeling safe and in control.

I will make my growth zone comfortable

Through constant evaluation of your comfort (growth) zone’s parameters, remaining flexible and cultivating adaptability, you will most likely grow effectively and safely, without ‘stepping out’ of your comfort zone.

Happy “comfortable” growing!

Authored by Michael Wood (not a SAFREA member)

Michael is an accomplished, results-driven marketing executive with >25 years’ c-level experience including owning an agency for 15 years. Michael has deep B2B experience in communication, positioning, content, branding, and strategy across several verticals. This insight, and a balanced and foundational post-graduate education complement, allows Michael to add value through campaign design, and strong messaging across multiple mediums. Simply put, he tells the right stories, to the right people, using the appropriate channels, at the right time. Michael has a keen interest in the convergence of technology.

Proofread and copyedited by Delilah Nosworthy (SAFREA member)

If you would like to read more of Delilah’s articles click here.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Safrea or its members.


2 Responses

  1. This is one time that I can say “Ich verstehe vollkommen. Und ich sage auch, Genau.”
    I change my comfort zone often. Sometimes it is necessary to get into someone else’s comfort zone, not only for business but for empathy.
    Excuse me – – – rushing off to create magic. Thank you.

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