Guide to step out of comfort zone
One of the most widespread issues nowadays is to be stuck in a daily routine, which leads us to follow a pattern both in our personal life and professional career. Right there is where, out of necessity, we seek shelter and protection, drawn by the warmth of our comfort zone.
Apathy and boredom, however, can eventually affect us if we repeat, over and over, the very same habits and behaviour at work. Hence, accepting that we have accommodated ourselves, that we are afraid of making mistakes, of what others might think or simply of the unknown, are some of the reasons that lead us to seek refuge in that safe and manageable place.
We could define “comfort zone” as a place in which we privilege our self-knowledge, since we’re aware of our strengths as professionals and, in addition, we know how to put them into practice. But we’re also aware of those areas in which we are not proficient enough due to lack of training or experience, hence making it difficult for us to show our best version. Nevertheless, there are other areas out of the reach of our consciousness, such as hidden strengths (what we don’t know that we know) and blind spots (what we don’t know that we don’t know) that should be enhanced in order to explore new paths.
A lack of goals inside the company can make us feel stuck, even lost. When routine turns into something chronic, demotivation leads us to indolence, slackness and frustration. We may even mistake apathy with fatigue and lack of ambition. And all that builds a barrier which prevents us from making progress and becoming the remarkable professional we aspire to be.
For that to happen, it’s essential to identify our mental blocks, those that turn us into a deactivated, bored and unenthusiastic individual; an apathetic state of mind triggered by lack of expectations and development opportunities, which prevents us from accomplishing new career goals. Being aware of those limitations beforehand will predispose us to change, so that we exploit our strengths and overcome or weaknesses.
How to step outside your professional comfort zone?
First of all, we must be aware that in order to evolve we must be consistent in our actions and not become obsessed with the idea of leaving our professional comfort zone behind, since it can be a long-term, deliberate and gradual process.
The first step is to imagine what goals we want to achieve and to establish objectives, either simple or complex (all of them will entail sacrifice and effort), and set a deadline to accomplish them. For this purpose, we must make specific decisions, ranging from something as simple as changing our attitude, adopting healthy habits, modifying our daily route or making some kind of change in the decoration of our office until we ask for a promotion.
It’s imperative not to delay the “Zero moment” when initiating these challenges, as unimportant as they may seem, since they could become a hindrance and a cause of dissatisfaction otherwise. Besides, it is advisable to bring these goals to completion before setting new ones ahead.
In order to accomplish our goals, we’ll have to take some risks. Challenges entail making decisions with a certain degree of uncertainty, and expecting to take a step forward and be sure that everything’s going to be all right is simply impossible. For that reason, it is essential to evaluate the advantages this change is going to provide, given that the most important thing is to work on something we enjoy… and stepping outside that comfort zone may not always be the best option.
To seek improvement steadily, enthusiastically and willingly is another way to distance from laziness and stagnation. It’s indispensable to assimilate new knowledge every day and to challenge ourselves in order to develop our professional restlessness. Delving into the knowledge of a particular field through training courses, learning a new language or starting new degree studies can be good options in order to step outside professional comfort zone. Thus, we will acquire new skills while reconciling work and training.
In that sense, building a professional network and attending conventions related to our sector would be useful not only to be up to date, but also to meet people and create future collaborative partnerships. Embracing the professional use of social media, devoting to the positioning of our personal brand, and sharing highly relevant information are some other options available if you’re looking for a change. Also, writing our own professional blog and establishing ourselves as experts in our field will compel us to update our knowledge continuously, while building up a community of followers.
Another key to springboard our career is to adopt a proactive attitude in order to bring our ideas to the table during work meetings, avoiding at all times playing a role of invisibility and remaining silent. The purpose is that our opinions are taken into account, in order to stay dynamic, active and to keep us always on our toes.
Likewise, external motivation can be obtained through company´s leadership. Nowadays, getting employees out of their comfort zones is becoming one of the most effective practices for these professionals capable of managing their expertise skilfully in order to help their employees develop new talents.
Finally, another effective method that might help us advance in our career is corporate coaching, a technique that might be a source of opportunity to redirect our career and fine-tune those goals we’d like to achieve. This way, we’ll obtain a clearer perspective so as to plan ahead and progress towards achieving our professional aspirations.
In conclusion, taking a step forward to go outside our comfort zone will make us take control of our life and be open to new experiences. Eventually, by making our own decisions and taking risks, we’ll be proud of striving for what we wanted to accomplish. Along with that, we’ll develop as individuals, and we’ll be able to advance further in our professional career.
Sources: Fortune, Forbes, El Economista