Some people refer to the tasks and activities with which you’re most familiar and with which you feel most comfortable as your “comfort zone.” During your career, you may encounter situations when it’s important to get out of your comfort zone and take risks. Understanding how to do so and why it can be beneficial may help you try new things, have new experiences and develop new skills.
In this article, we define a comfort zone, explain the benefits of getting out of your comfort zone, list eight ways to do so and provide examples for guidance.
What is a comfort zone?
A comfort zone entails low-stress situations or places where you feel at ease or safe. Staying within your comfort zone is appealing because it avoids risk. While seeking unfamiliar experiences may be more challenging, it also allows for the following:
Opportunities for both professional and personal growth
Benefits of getting out of your comfort zone
Although staying in your comfort zone can provide consistency, venturing out of it may help improve your job performance. Here’s why getting out of your comfort zone can be beneficial:
It increases your productivity. When you decide to take on a new challenge or try a different approach to something familiar, you can create conditions for improving productivity. This may help you may get a better understanding of your true potential, feel confident in handling more responsibilities and deliver better results.
It improves your ability to adapt. New experiences can help you become better at dealing with the unfamiliar. You may stay composed and focused when a new challenge presents itself and improve your decision-making abilities in these situations.
It promotes growth. Regardless of the outcome, you may expand your experience, knowledge and skills when you leave your comfort zone. This can lead to professional and personal growth.
How to get out of your comfort zone
The following steps can help prepare you for unfamiliar situations and get you out of your comfort zone:
1. Discover more about potential challenges
The more you know about a new challenge or situation, the less scary it may seem. After collecting enough information, you may have clearer expectations and better knowledge as you prepare to handle the task. Here are some ways to learn more about an upcoming event or challenge:
Seek out articles online.
Read books about the topic.
Talk to subject experts.
2. Devise a plan
Next, create an action plan to expand your boundaries. Start by identifying the major obstacles you may encounter with this new challenge and what you can do to overcome them. Then, write down each step you can take to get out of your comfort zone, starting with the easiest task. You can also create benchmarks or small goals to track your progress.
3. Take small steps
Taking small steps outside your comfort zone allows you to slowly familiarize yourself with a new situation. This strategy can help you gain the confidence you need to achieve your goal. Dividing your main goal into smaller, more manageable tasks can also help it feel more manageable.
4. Find accountability partners
Declaring your intention to get out of your comfort zone can help you gain the support you need to stick to your plan. Tell your family members and friends about your goal. If work-related and appropriate, tell your manager or a professional mentor. This can keep you accountable to others and make you more likely to complete tasks.
5. Stay positive
As you try to leave your comfort zone, you may encounter negative feelings that prevent you from achieving your goal. While you can prepare yourself to face unfavorable situations, try to stay positive and convince yourself you can handle any negative outcomes. See negative situations as opportunities to learn how to break free from your comfort zone.
6. Think creativity
Incorporating creativity can help you think about a challenge in a new way. This might help you get out of your comfort zone and discover new ways of performing familiar tasks. In this way, creative thinking may help you discover new and better possibilities for familiar procedures that you may not have explored otherwise.
7. Challenge your existing beliefs
While it may feel unfamiliar to challenge your existing beliefs, doing so can be a great way to get out of your comfort zone and see the world from someone else’s point of view. Surrounding yourself with individuals who have different life experiences can be an excellent way to learn about new beliefs and value systems. You might discover ways to improve your mindset, which can lead you to change your actions.
8. Keep expanding your comfort zone
It’s important to challenge yourself to overcome more fears. Identify other situations or tasks that make you nervous and follow our advice above to try to overcome these, as well. Confronting your insecurities one at a time may improve your ability to feel comfortable in more difficult situations.
Examples of getting out of your comfort zone at work
Here are some examples of individuals implementing tactics while getting out of their comfort zone:
Martha is considering applying for a marketing management position in her company. While this is an exciting opportunity, it’s also a very new experience. To prepare, she divides the application process into manageable steps. First, she finds out the role requirements. Then, she tries to meet those requirements, one by one.
Martha also gets nervous when giving presentations. To prepare for this challenging aspect of the role, she learns about what sort of work goes into a successful presentation by talking to other managers at her company. She finds out:
How they approach presentations
What preparations they do the day before
How they gain confidence
Amy has a fear of cold-calling customers to sell her company’s products. She creates a plan to present her sales pitch to friends and acquaintances first to practice. She then slowly progresses to calling the toughest prospects. When she does, she occasionally interacts with challenging customers. Instead of becoming frustrated, she tries to find out the reason behind their negative behavior and focus on helping them solve their problems. She’s professional and takes these situations as opportunities to learn how to become a more effective sales representative.
While asking for a raise is outside of Ben’s comfort zone, he feels he deserves one. He tells his family members and friends that he plans to do it by the end of the year. They offer encouragement and then ask about the outcome when the year is over.
I hope you find this article helpful.