10 reasons why leaving your comfort zone is good for your careeron 18 September 2020 for Graduates
When was the last time you did something that scared you? Do you remember what it felt like before and after? Often we need to step out of our comfort zone in order to grow and learn. That’s why it’s so important, even early in your career, to go beyond the safe and familiar so that we can push our boundaries and build our confidence.
Maybe it was that first day at university. Maybe it was spending a year abroad. Or maybe it was walking into a party where you hardly knew anyone. You were probably nervous at first, maybe even scared, with doomsday scenarios playing out in your mind. What if you couldn’t keep up with the classes and failed? What if you got lost in this strange country, or were robbed and murdered in a back alley somewhere? What if you found yourself standing in a corner of the party, feeling sad and alone?
We’ve all been there. But if you have the courage to push through the fear and do it anyway, you usually come out the other side feeling more confident and happy to have had the experience. As author and journalist Mary Schmich said in her famous Wear Sunscreen graduation speech: Do one thing every day that scares you. Each new experience of accomplishment will be one more stone that will pave the way to your success.
10 REASONS TO STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE
#1 TO BROADEN YOUR HORIZONS
“The magic happens outside your comfort zone”. It’s a cliché because it’s true. While your comfort zone is safe and cosy, there is no growth or learning to be found there. If you value personal growth and want to learn new things, you have to dare to venture out of your safe zone. But make sure you don’t overshoot and end up in your panic zone, because that will be counterproductive to your growth and development.
#2 TO BUILD YOUR CONFIDENCE
Every step out of your comfort zone is a small victory. Over time, these victories add up and show you that you are capable of more than you think. This will boost your confidence and help you to be less afraid of trying new things in the future. After all, you’ve proven that you can rely on your ability to think on your feet.
#3 TO ENHANCE YOUR CREATIVITY
When you’re in your comfort zone, you can get results without really thinking about it. You can work on autopilot. Stepping out of your comfort zone, however, forces you to be creative and think things through. When faced with unfamiliar challenges, you can no longer rely on your ‘muscle memory’ or your usual playbook. This opens up new ways of looking at things and can also give you a fresh perspective on your day-to-day tasks, helping you to identify areas for improvement.
#4 TO BECOME MORE STRESS RESISTANT
In manageable doses, stress can be a superpower that fuels your peak performance. Too much stress, however, can cause anxiety and negatively impact your performance. In other words, it’s all about finding the right balance. If you allow yourself to experience the stress and fear of stepping out of your comfort zone, you’ll realise that you can achieve goals you thought were impossible. Once you have experienced that your fear passes, you will be more confident and better able to navigate stressful situations in the future.
#5 TO FAIL FASTER
You’ve probably heard the phrase “fail fast, succeed faster” – especially if you’re familiar with the agile framework. The idea is that the faster you fail, the faster you learn a lesson and can adjust your approach to get to your desired outcome faster. By stepping out of your comfort zone, you’re allowing yourself to take the risk of failing, which increases your learning. This is a quality that is highly valued in the corporate world.
#6 TO FUTURE-PROOF YOUR CAREER
If there’s one thing we’ve learnt from the Covid pandemic and the precarious state of the economy, it’s that things can change in the blink of an eye and that we should always be prepared to adapt. Stepping out of your comfort zone by learning new skills or trying different roles keeps you relevant and adaptable, while being open to upskilling and re-skilling allows you to pivot when necessary.
#7 TO REVEAL HIDDEN TALENTS
You can’t know your true abilities until you’ve had to use them. That’s why stepping out of your comfort zone can reveal strengths you didn’t know you had and reveal hidden talents. For example, if you never pick up a guitar, you’ll never know if you’re a gifted player. Likewise, this self-discovery can be a game changer in your career.
#8 TO LEARN MORE, FASTER
Being immersed in the unfamiliar accelerates your learning curve. What’s more, learning in an unfamiliar environment also helps you retain knowledge for longer. That’s why at Exellys we work with Outward Bound to gain a deeper understanding of ourselves and our team, as well as learning the art of feedback through outdoor activities.
#9 TO STRENGTHEN WORK RELATIONSHIPS
Working together on challenging projects and learning experiences that take you out of your comfort zone can create stronger bonds between colleagues. This is a key aspect of our work with Outward Bound. Nothing builds team spirit like a shared experience, especially if it’s uncomfortable or even scary.
#10 TO STAND OUT FOR MANAGEMENT
If you’re not afraid to step out of your comfort zone, you’re showing a willingness to adapt and go the extra mile, which is a trait employers love to see. What’s more, the growth and learning that comes from leaving your safe place will also make you a more valuable employee. So stepping out of your comfort zone is likely to help your chances when it’s time to ask for a pay rise or be considered for a promotion.
By leaving your cosy and familiar comfort zone, you’re letting go of self-limiting behaviours and allowing yourself to learn and grow to your full potential. It can be scary, but beyond the fear lie tangible and valuable rewards. And you don’t have to do it alone: at Exellys you can always rely on your coach to be your anchor, so you’re never adrift. In short, don’t rob yourself of the opportunity to grow!
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