The strangest idea I’ve ever heard is that you need to come out of your comfort zone to grow in your career. So what happens here? Break out of the comfort zone to grow in your career and make more money so that you could lead a ‘comfortable’ life!
I’ve got acrophobia or the fear of heights. I’m totally uncomfortable at heights. My friends often ask me to break out my comfort zone and try something like sky diving. Why should I do it, if I’m perfectly happy without it?
Expand the Comfort Zone
I think comfort zone is more elastic than rigid. We should rather ‘expand’ or ‘stretch’ the comfort zone than breaking out of it. Expanding the comfort zone is about becoming familiar with what is desirable but currently unfamiliar. If something is not desirable, I don’t think you should ‘break’ your comfort zone to get it.
If you take my example, I always wanted to be good public speaker. But I was not comfortable speaking on stage. I was scared to death with the thought of being on stage. Later I became a member of Toastmasters International and through regular practice I stretched my comfort zone to include speaking on stage in my zone. Now I’m pretty comfortable while performing on stage (though I can’t say the same about my audience!).
Beware of the Comfort Zone Shrinkage
Expanding the comfort zone is not very difficult, if you take a progressive approach. However, keeping it in the expanded state is difficult. It’s like your muscles. If you skip your workout for a month, your muscles will start shrinking. You need to stay active in the zone to prevent it from shrinking.
Recently took a one year sabbatical from speaking on stage. Yesterday, I pushed myself into speaking again by participating in my Toastmasters Club Humorous Speech contest. I was extremely nervous since my comfort zone shrank over the last one year. Somehow, I managed to pull it off and finished as 1st runner-up.
Start Expanding the Comfort Zone
Theoretically it’s very simple. First make a list of 10 things that you love to do but you feel you are incapable of doing or you are afraid of doing. Sort it in the order of difficulty and start from the easiest one.
Statistically, most people could do 75% of things which they feel they are incapable of. Even if the statistics is not completely accurate, you will definitely be able to do 50% of the things. Just try making the list and you will be surprised by the pace at which your comfort zone expands.
So.. don’t wait.. just start expanding..