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Those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty will be those who will reap the biggest rewards.
Throughout our careers we must continually evaluate whether we are letting our fear of failure or losing face keep us from taking action. Are we willing to make choices that will move us forward and make the impact we want? We have to decide:
- Do I keep doing what’s always been done, or challenge old expectations and try new approaches to problems?
- Do I seek new challenges or just manage those I already have?
- Do I risk being exposed and vulnerable, or act to protect my pride?
- Do I ask for what I really want, or just for what I think others want to give me?
- Do I “toot my horn” to ensure others know what I’m capable of, or just hope my efforts will be noticed?
- Do I speak my mind and maybe ruffle feathers or bite my lip myself to avoid criticism?
Remaining challenged and staying out of your comfort zone isn’t easy. When you step too far out in business, you risk making costly mistakes.
If you’re spending all your time in your comfort zone you’re probably feeling less inspired, more tired, and unsure of how work that you used to love is now simply uninspiring. Try avoiding the comfort-zone blahs or the risks associated with going too far out with these challenges:
10 Ways to Avoid Your Comfort Zone
1. Your daily challenges are linked to your overall goals – what you do everyday should get you a step further professionally, and move your company further as well.
2. Be the creator of the challenge – you aren’t doing this because someone else has dictated it. Try to remain in control within the challenge and assert your independence as the initiator of change.
3. The challenge influences your unique genius or natural talents – if not, then rethink the ownership if this particular challenge–and find a better fit within your company or your job responsibilities.
4. You enjoy the challenge – being mentally switched on is the best way to succeed.
5. You’re excited to push your abilities to overcome this challenge – it’s not an easy challenge, but the thought of conquering it is energizing. It’s a comfortable uneasiness because you don’t know how you are going to succeed, but you know figuring it out will be a blast. And you know if you fail, it’s OK.
6. You don’t let this challenge take over your life – you’re able to focus on it, step away, and then come back without it affecting your ability to sleep, socialize, or have some downtime.
7. Your stress levels are manageable, despite the challenge – you aren’t feeling overly anxious about the process or the outcome of the challenge–which, in turn, makes success more likely.
8. Others respond to your energy for this challenge and show interest and support – your team, partners, or colleagues are motivated by your enthusiasm. You can tell because they share that with you or offer to help you succeed with what you are doing.
9. You make positive and incremental progress with the challenge – you see regular indications of progress in spite of the disappointments.
10. You have moments in which you are super-energized, to the point where you feel like you are buzzing – we all have those moments when we are so aligned with our work that we feel like we are on a high. Challenge junkies lives for these, and if you are experiencing these, then you know you are pushing the limits of possibility–and are on the right track.
In order to compete in today’s world there is little security in playing it safe. Being willing to give up the familiarity of the known and embrace the discomfort that comes from being outside your comfort zone is increasingly crucial to your success in work and life.