Key Point: To find out more about yourself and really develop, you have to get out of your comfort zone. I recently had an annual reflection with one of my direct reports and asked her what was gratifying about the past year. With a smile on her face she talked about having to take on a new role. She was very comfortable in her previous job. She had been doing it for years and was loved and respected by all. And she admitted the new assignment was “scary.” It was in a different part of the business with unique clients, and definitely challenging. In fact, she was taking over temporarily for a strong leader who was eventually returning. Essentially she was leaving a secure spot for an uncertain future. Yes the shift was not easy and yet I saw this person grow in confidence and ability as the year progressed. A recent blog by Ash Read on the same topic refers to two experts from Psychology Today.
“We live in a society where comfort has become a value and a life goal. But comfort reduces our motivation for introducing important transformations in our lives. Sadly, being comfortable often prohibits us from chasing our dreams. Many of us are like lions in the zoo: well-fed but sit around passively stuck in a reactive rut…Take a look at your life today, if you are enjoying a shelter of comfort, break through it and go outside where life awaits.”
“New things or a new way of thinking is often frightening. But if you think about it, most of the things we fear don’t actually come to pass. What’s more, we’re often unable to anticipate the good things that do occur as a result of our trying something new.”
Perhaps to a fault, I can vouch for the joy and adventure of this way of living and thinking. Please accept the following as fact and definitely not boasting. I’ve given everything I’ve had in contributing and in bringing value to others through the following: I played University football, been a teacher, went to grad school, negotiated collective agreements with the tough building trades, ran my own consulting business for 10 years, studied Deming Prize winning companies in Japan, worked directly for the chairman of a Fortune 50 company, was VP of Operations for a National Hockey League team, CEO of a cash burning unprofitable software company, SVP of a 400 person sales team without ever being a formal sales person, COO of a publicly traded internet technology company, lost almost everything in a “sure bet technology startup,” eight years as the CEO of a privately held international mobile technology company, and now the Chief People Officer of one of the best companies in the world. I’ve run the NYC marathon, biked several gran fondos, and lived in three countries. And most importantly, I’ve been married for 43 years to a woman who obviously has no fear, and is supportive beyond belief. We have three glorious kids and two “perfect grandchildren,” (hoping for more). All of this has given me the courage and hopefully credible insight for authoring two books and this blog. And I promise to be just loading up for even more exciting things ahead!! My comfort zone is out of the comfort zone!
Our lives have been filled with the many ups and downs all people go through. Trust me, the above is not an endorsement for a painless, comfortable, error free life. And it is certainly not recommended as a blue print for you or anyone else. However, I can vouch for the unbelievable personal learning, gratification and joy of living life to the very fullest. I can honestly tell you that there is almost no environment (other than life threatening) that I am fearful of. Yes, I get butterflies in my stomach when I’m faced with new situations or even high risk familiar ones. And of course I worry a little (maybe too much) about people I love every day. I can also tell you with experience and conviction that jumping out of your comfort zone is almost always worth it. Whenever my life ends I will be sorry for mistakes made and people I’ve hurt. However, I will have have zero regrets about not living life to the very fullest. I’m going to squeeze every ounce out of giving to others through what life has to offer.
- Get out of your comfort zone and look forward to the outcome whatever happens.
- Think big and take small steps. Not everyone can or should take big leaps. Have a big vision for yourself. If you can run, 5k/3 miles, add a mile or klick on every month. Once you run 10, running 15 will be in sight and then if you want, you will run a marathon. It’s the same with anyone or anything.
- As you well know by now, the Readers Digest version of my philosophy embodied in The Character Triangle is: Do it Now, Be Kind and Give More. To live to that mantra you HAVE to step out of the comfort zone. Get out!
Out of the Comfort Zone in The Triangle,
One Millennial View: As we in the U.S. celebrate this Memorial Day Weekend, we all get to enjoy our barbeques, day off, and at the very least, less traffic because so few sacrifice so much for our freedom. I can’t imagine a more “step out of the comfort” zone than the military. I’m so thankful for the men and women serving. We’re all free and able to operate on a daily basis because of their selfless efforts. Thanks to them, we can imagine what’s discussed up above.
Edited and published by Garrett Rubis