“Come on, step out of your comfort zone!” How many times have you heard this phrase uttered to you throughout your life? It’s probably safe to assume that nearly every person has heard this phrase at one point in time. Our comfort zone, the area in which we feel comfortable engaging with, being present in, and operating within its confines. Comfort zones are good! They provide a sense of peace, a sense of safety, and a sense of confidence because we always know what we can expect inside our comfort zones. More often than not, it’s easy to sink into our comfort zones when we’re feeling uneasy and then grow accustomed to that sense of peace and safety so that we never want to leave.
As a self-confessed introvert, my comfort zone is a peaceful evening spent tending to my garden or losing myself in a thriller with a good cup of coffee.
While our comfort zones can sometimes provide us with some much-needed relief from today’s bustling world, it can often hold us back – especially when it comes to our careers.
Here are 3 ways your comfort zone is holding you back in your professional ambitions:
Let’s face it, networking can definitely be awkward. Talking to people you don’t know and advocating for yourself certainly sit outside of your comfort zone. However, in today’s ultra-competitive job market, networking is par for the course. Expanding your network of peers and superiors is only going to help you down the line in your career. Not only will a connection on LinkedIn allow your network to keep up with the work that you’re doing, it can serve as an excellent tool for recruitment. Don’t miss out on your next big professional opportunity simply because networking is outside of your comfort zone!
Grab a coffee with a colleague you admire or seek out local group events of professionals within your field (search Meetup and Linkedin Groups to find events in your neighbourhood).
Change is most definitely outside of most people’s comfort zone. However, in many companies, rapid and frequent change is just business as usual. While it is sure to throw some of us for a loop, refusing to accept and embrace change can leave you on the sidelines spectating while the starting lineup scores the winning point. Change paves the way for creativity and innovation and gives everyone the opportunity to reinvent themselves and what they do. Change presents the opportunity to contribute in new ways that may not have been there before. This is the time to showcase what else you can do to help your company succeed!
Nobody wants to fail. We are programmed to fear failure and shy away from situations where success seems unlikely. Similar to being afraid of change, being afraid to fail will keep you completely encompassed by your comfort zone. You’ll only focus on what you know how to do, not what you want to do. This type of reclusive mindset can often make it easy for bosses, higher-ups, and superiors to simply pass over you when considering employees for new projects, tasks, or even promotions. Don’t be afraid to fail, because failure paves the way for improvement and growth.
In the words of the late Susan Jeffers:
“Feel the fear and do it anyway!”
You don’t have to be a risk taker, but you should be confident in yourself to know that if you do fail, you’ll learn from it and grow from it. Employers want to see you willing to try something new to know that you’re motivated and passionate in your professional endeavours.
Don’t let networking, change, or the fear of failure hold you back in your career. You have the power to transcend the boundaries of familiarity and comfort, even if it’s just for a few moments. Don’t see it as a challenge, but as an opportunity. One you have control to seize.
Welcome to the start of your growth journey.