Learning to Live Outside Your Comfort Zone
The special thing about the new year is the opportunity it offers us to reset and restart with new plans and goals for our work and personal lives. It is in this spirit of renewal for 2017, that I want to challenge you to take a step outside of your own comfort zone and attempt to expand your experience to a new and higher level.
When it comes to work, just as in our everyday life, there are a multitude of opportunities for stepping outside of our comfort zone and thereby to advance in our growth as employees as well as individuals. These opportunities generally come in one or more of the following ways:
- Developing new or underutilized talents
- Developing into a better communicator
- Dealing with a difficult or intimidating circumstance
- Taking on new or first-time challenges
- Allowing yourself to be pushed/stretched into unfamiliar areas
- Adjusting to changing circumstances
- Recognizing opportunities – “open doors”
- Making difficult choices
- Admitting and learning from mistakes
- Focusing on the development and helping of others rather than ourselves
- Learning to work effectively as a team and not just solely as a group of individuals
In both work and in your personal life, the willingness and courage to step outside of your comfort zone enables you to learn that gaining new experiences expands and shapes you as a person as well as a team member. In a deep and personal way, it also offers you the opportunity to see yourself in a new light, to better understand who you are and understand how you respond to challenges.
In reality, most people are reluctant to step outside of their comfort zones due to a fear of failure, a fear of embarrassment, or a fear of being, well, uncomfortable. However, with these normal human fears in mind, I challenge you with this question: Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? Yes, it is easier to relax in the arms of the average - easier but not better - easier but not more significant - easier but not more fulfilling. We cannot live in fear and reach our true potential as people. We learn best from the things we actually experience. As people and as team members, we have the capability to do more than we think we can – truly, there is more to you than you suppose!
People are naturally hesitant to accept change. However, change happens all the time. In a larger sense, change is what makes life interesting. In the face of change, we find that we are not in control of many things. However, we can and should realize the main thing we still have total control over is our response to change and challenge. It has been said, “The remarkable thing is, we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day;” “Success is not final, failure is not fatal; it is the courage to continue that counts;” and lastly, “Life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it.” Our response is our own decision.
It is true that because we are human, we are all uneven performers from time to time. That is why determination and daily reminders are so important - we must learn to refocus ourselves on a regular basis to stay on track with our goals and our personal growth.
So, today, I challenge you to set your sights on a higher objective, an empowering attitude, a nobler solution to problems or challenges you face. Don’t let fear hold you back from what you really want to accomplish and in doing so, you may find that living outside of your comfort zone is really a very exciting place to be.