BREAKING OUT THE COMFORT ZONE
"All growth starts at the end of your comfort zone”.
WHAT IS THE COMFORT ZONE?
The phrase “comfort zone” is widely used in our daily life. Its origin dates back to 1991, being coined by Judith Bardwick in her work “Danger in the Comfort Zone: From Boardroom to Mailroom – How to Break the Entitlement Habit that’s Killing American Business”:
“The comfort zone is a behavioural state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk”.
WHY LEAVE THE COMFORT ZONE?
The comfort zone is a psychological state, a sort of self-imposed border, in which individuals feel safe, and in full control of who they are and what they are doing. However, keeping within the boundaries of what is safe and known can be a limit, preventing us from reaching our full potential, in terms of productivity, performance, and objectives to be achieved. As long as we stick to our beliefs and certainties, without looking for new opportunities, new projects, or new connections we risk failing to improve both on a working and personal level.
New things appear as risks and leaps in the dark, often associated with fear of failure and anxiety. Failure frequently leads to a sense of inadequacy and criticism that affect self-esteem and general well-being. Individuals respond to these feelings in different ways, either meeting the challenge, hiding, running away, or being paralyzed. Challenging ourselves to leave the “safe haven” can help us acquire new skills and face our own insecurities that affect our personal and professional growth and our general well-being. Leading to positive outcomes across life domains, where failure becomes part of the journey. However, making the first move isn’t always easy.
HOW TO STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE?
Here below you can find some tips to follow, to make the first move out of your comfort zone:
See things with alternative perspectives: turn obstacles and negative feedback into objectives in order to see them from a positive perspective.
Start small: every step forward is progress. Be patient and do not overdo.
Get creative and do things differently: start changing your routine, try new restaurants, read books of different genres, or visit new places.
Accept insecurity and failure, and find the lesson: fear of the unknown, fear of failure can be overcome, try to consider the failure as a first attempt in learning.
Life is full of opportunities to step outside the comfort zone, you should be receptive and jump into new experiences to see what you are capable of.
By Sofia Moroni
White, Alasdair. From Comfort Zone to Performance Management. N.p.: White & MacLean, 2009
Forbes Coaches Council. 13 mental tricks to get yourself out of your comfort zone. https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2018/04/17/13-mental-tricks-to-get-yourself-out-of-your-comfort-zone/?sh=7ed682865ec4. Accessed on 28/09/2022
Itani, O. How to get out of your comfort zone and fully step forward into your growth zone: 10 steps to follow. https://www.omaritani.com/blog/comfort-zone Accessed on 28/09/2022