We all love our comfort zone. It is the place where our expertise and success are plentiful. Our confidence and ego are fueled by relatively easy wins, and as long as we operate within our comfort zone, there is little risk of failure and embarrassment. There is no shame in our tendencies. Work is achieved quickly and consistently, and because of our level of skill within the comfort zone, our clients are generally satisfied with the delivered service or product. Many successful business models have been build on the comfort zone concept.
While there is a lot to be appreciated about our comfort zones, we quickly forget that this zone, as we experience it today, did not exist upon our emergence from the womb. One of the earliest risky ventures that we took on was to transition from crawling to walking. This effort was fraught with danger and failure. The risk of our growing legs giving out beneath us and planting our precious baby faces into the hardwood flooring was real. Yet, taking on this risk was a must for our mobility, which was rich with a lifetime of rewards. So, we persisted, and our comfort zones were expanded. Later, we learned to read, write, and perform arithmetic; many times to our frustration and contrary to our desire to run around in the playground, teasing us within view of our school desks. There is great discomfort in operating outside of our comfort zone, but we must boldly step out so that we may learn and grow.
As we expand our experiences, skills, and confidence, we discover that our work and life become more enjoyable. The expanding breadth and diversity of our comfort zone provide opportunities to operate in a variety of projects, settings, and industries. An engineer can also be a stand-up comedian. A graphic designer can be a website developer. A security guard can be a jazz pianist. A factory worker can be an executive coach. A well-stretched comfort zone busts the type-casting that we all experience in society.
When we find ourselves inclined to respond to a new opportunity with “well… I’ve never done that before”, append that uncertainty with an optimistic. “but I am looking forward to the opportunity to learn and expand my comfort zone!”