Culture and Coaching

What’s beyond your comfort zone?

August 7th, 2017 | Posted by Elizabeth Walker in Career strategy | Coaching | Leadership

You’ve worked hard and been focused and made great choices. Maybe you’re an expert at the top of your game and you’re doing what it takes to stay there. Well done. Now what? Could it be time to try something new?

Stepping outside of your comfort zone can be richly rewarding. And you don’t have to go far or spend a lot to reap the benefits. No matter how accomplished you already are, the limits of your comfort zone are clearly visible when you look for them, and, just like those objects in your car’s mirror, they’re closer than they appear.

If you think you’re ready to test the boundaries, the fun part is choosing what you’ll do. Look for something that requires practice to reach even a low level of mastery. Something in which you are certain to experience some failures. Something that will test your resolve and that matters enough to you that you will keep trying. That’s where the value is.

OK, that sounds like some work. You’re cruising, why would you want to put yourself back on the starting line? Here are just three of the rewards:

  1. Resilience. In successful people, resilience can be like a set of muscles that have weakened from lack of use. Trying something new, failing, and finding what you need to persevere – all of this builds those muscles and keeps you fresh for whatever heavy-lifting may be ahead.
  2. Compassion. If you know – if you deeply know – how it feels to be a beginner, your compassion will surely increase for those less capable than you in your field of expertise. If you’re a leader or manager of people, heightened compassion is invaluable for helping others do their best.
  3. Expansion. When you try something new, your world expands. You may gain new skills, meet new people, visit new places, see the world from new perspectives. When you move out of your comfort zone, even a little ways, you make your life richer.

Take a look at the boundaries of your comfort zone now. If they are static or have been closing in, it’s time to stretch them. Commit to try something new. Get even more out of the experience by journaling about it. Ask yourself: How does it feel to be a beginner? What makes you want to quit? What are you finding in yourself that keeps you going? Notice the patterns and trends as you go along.

Sure, it’s uncomfortable – it’s out of your comfort zone! That’s what makes it worthwhile.

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