Break Out of Your Comfort Zone at Work to Grow

Break Out of Your Comfort Zone at Work to Grow
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To Grow, Break Out of Your Comfort Zone at Work
If you want to develop your special talents to propel you upward in your work career, you need to break out of your comfort zone at work.

What is the Comfort Zone?
Most people love their comfort zone. It is where we feel at ease and in control. There is minimal anxiety or stress. We relax in the familiarity of the setting and of what is asked of us.  We feel mentally and emotionally secure.

What is Wrong with the Comfort Zone?
The problem with staying in your comfort zone is that your learning and performance never significantly changes or improves. In a business setting or in a high performance culture, that can be problematic — not only for you but also for your team and the company as a whole.   To succeed, most people and companies need to keep learning and improving.

Workplace complacency is the enemy of growth, development, and higher performance.

To Break Out of Your Comfort Zone is Not About “Doing More”
It’s not just about “doing more stuff.” Breaking out of your comfort zone can mean finding ways to be more productive and be smarter about the way you work. It can mean that you become less afraid of taking risks, more comfortable encountering change, and trying to do things you wouldn’t normally do. It can mean that you are more open to new ideas and creative thinking.

Healthy Stress
According to Psychology Today, too much stress is personally and culturally toxic, but a little performance pressure can make you stronger. One recent study showed that people’s peripheral vision drops from 180 degrees to 30 degrees during times of stress.  It sure seems like a similar drop in people’s ability to think clearly occurs during stress.

While everyone needs some amount of psychological safety and some absence of interpersonal fear to experiment, collaborate, and innovate, if you truly aspire to achieving personal and professional growth, you need to get used to stretching just beyond the boundaries of your comfortable patterns and routines. A little bit of “healthy” stress can be a catalyst for learning.

The enemy to overcome is our fear of failure. If we are in its grip, we don’t even try potential new ways of doing things. We are stuck. What we need to recognize is that there is no real learning without some difficulty and some fumbling.

There will be missteps. But the cost of not trying is too dear. If you want to keep learning and growing, you have to risk failure.

Reasons to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone
Here are two reasons to break out of your comfort zone and stretch yourself:

  • Greater Creativity
    Trying new things inspires you to be more creative and opens you up to new experiences. Recent research by Christine Lee, David Therriault, and Tracy Linderholm published in applied Cognitive Psychology Journal found, for example, that students who dared to leave their familiar campus to study abroad scored higher on two different tests of creativity than those who stayed stateside.
  • Better Aging
    Have you noticed that as most people age their comfort zones get smaller and smaller? A study conducted in 2013 showed that learning new and challenging skills can help us stay mentally astute as we age.

The Bottom Line
The trick is to find a happy medium between pushing hard enough to try new things but not so much that you are overwhelmed by the stress and anxiety. Be brave and expand your zone. You will be glad you did.

To learn more about how to increase learning and career development, download 7 Principles of Effective Training You Can Apply Today

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