What have you been holding back from doing at work because it makes you feel scared or vulnerable? What are you avoiding because you know it’s a challenge? Are you feeling that you’re stuck in your comfort zone?
We are all very familiar with the term ‘comfort zone’ but what exactly is it and what part does it play in developing and sustaining your career confidence? There is actually some science behind the term. Your comfort zone is a behavioural space where what you do and how you do it fits into a pattern and a routine that minimizes stress and risk. It’s safe and provides you with a state of mental security. In this state you get regular happiness, low anxiety and reduced stress which can create a steady level of performance at work. It’s comfortable!!
There is a BUT though, because to be at your best and deliver maximum performance you need a state of relative anxiety. This is a state where your stress levels are slightly higher than normal, known as Optimal Anxiety, and it can be found just outside your comfort zone! It is important to remember that you are not looking for high stress as this can damage performance, you are looking for enough challenge for it to be enjoyable but not where it’s going to be keeping you awake at night!
Benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone
The reason it’s hard to push yourself out of your comfort zone is that it is our natural tendency to seek an anxiety neutral, comfortable place but there are huge benefits to stepping out. You will:
So lots of great reasons to just do it! Make a list of all the things you would like to do at work. It’s ok to start slowly and take small steps, remember each comfort zone you master takes you to another. making it manageable, and looking for Optimal Anxiety is the key to pushing through the zone. Finally, enjoy the experience – don’t let fear hold you back!
Originally published at www.careertree.org.uk