Cheesy and yes, that phrase also conjures up images of uncomfortable team building activities, building canoes or orienteering and the like. But it doesn’t have to be!
As much as we hear it, we still don’t like to do it – that’s why it is called a comfort zone. But how do we know what we are capable of or what potentially incredible things are out there for us unless we step over that squishy, cosy line?
I am an advocate for it which makes people assume that I like doing it. Not really. I like what I discover or learn from it but just like everyone else, I get freaking uncomfortable. The difference is, I really try to force myself into that discomfort when I believe that I will learn something from it.
Sure, I find some pretty creative ways to avoid some situations but I know the difference between them.
Here is my handy guide;
1) Super comfortable : like my PJs, I would not get out of these to get dressed unless I really had to. Comfort is king and in my world PJs are sitting on the Iron Throne. Because surely, if you are sitting on an iron throne you need a mad cosy get up.
2) Familiar : still comfortable and I hang in this zone daily. Sure, I’ve had to get dressed but I know the etiquette and I’m pretty happy. I am happier that I get to go home and put my PJs back on though.
3) Meh : again, I know the drill. I know what’s expected but here I feel like I am ‘on’. This is a portion of what is needed at work. I know what it is and I know how to do it, it’s just not my favourite. I generally am wearing make up at this point.
4) Oh, okay. So you want me to do that / Hmm, maybe I should try that : Here is where I start getting a little uncomfortable. It’s not too mental but something that I have not done before or not all that good at. But I can see the advantage. Like a fancy new pair of shoes. I may be a bit wobbly but they look amazing. I will either fall off them (oh well, not like I haven’t fallen over before) or I will master walking in super cool heels. Risk v reward is a pretty easy choice.
5) Erm, I get it but… really? : getting fairly uncomfortable at the point. I understand the concept of what is being requested but I am really weighing up the pros and cons. Sure, bungie jumping looks fun and is once in a lifetime but will I enjoy it more than I hate it? Is the discomfort worth the experience?
6) Say what?! : I have no idea what you are asking of me and I really need to look into this before making a decision. Similar to shark diving or wearing double denim.
If you tend to spend most of your time hanging out in zones 1 to 4 you probably aren’t challenging yourself too much. You might occasionally try a new sandwich filler but that isn’t going to rock your world.
Regular trips to zones 5, 6 and 7 will open you up to so many more new experiences. Your confidence will grow, you will learn more (including about yourself) and you may uncover some incredible gems.
I would suggest passing on zone 8, high risk with low reward is not my bag.
You will find the more you venture into the higher zones the happier you are visiting there. What used to be a ‘6’ for you, suddenly becomes a ‘4’ as opportunities open up to you. Here my friend, is where you start to level up.
Getting out of your comfort zone is exactly what it says it is. You will be uncomfortable, awkward or scared. But who has achieved greatness or discovered something incredible whilst in their iron throne PJs sipping tea? Get out there! Weigh up the risk to you, get a bit itchy and be great!