Success doesn’t always come from doing what other people can’t – it sometimes comes from doing what other people won’t.
We often hear about the importance of trying new things, getting away from the ordinary, experiencing something different. Never approaching or being afraid of change limits what we can accomplish. This time spent living in our comfort zones stops us from advancing, both personally and professionally.
So why do we hesitate to step outside our comfort zones? I don’t think I’m alone when I admit that I prefer to play it safe and stick to what makes me feel protected. In my comfort zone there are no surprises and few difficulties. In my comfort zone, failure really isn’t an option.
What I continue to learn, though, is that stepping beyond this feeling of assurance means embracing change. If I refuse to change, I’ll get left behind.
So how can we step outside of our comfort zones? You have to put yourself in a situation that’s unconventional, and you need to develop the confidence to know you can achieve anything with the right effort. This can be done in various ways. For me, it was a recent SEO staff training.
I was asked to train the Bohlsen Group team on search engine optimization. Admittedly, I initially knew very little beyond my ability to carry on a basic conversation on the subject. I knew that any advanced questions would leave me stuttering and backtracking.
So I took to background research – SEO guides, Power Point presentations and YouTube videos to gain a much broader understanding. I’m not an expert, but my grasp of SEO is now much greater than before. Win.
Except – understanding the basics was just the first step. I still had to present to our entire staff and field questions that I had to answer. Relaying all that I had learned to my colleagues? My hesitation to step outside the comfort zone was front and center.
Looking back, I now see that this training wasn’t just for the staff – it was a self-training in developing my confidence in my own abilities. I learned something new, and because of it, was simultaneously forced to advance.
When we force ourselves to in a new direction we’re almost always surprised with what we accomplish. It might be awkward at first. It might be difficult or embarrassing. But success in so many realms happens when we take risks and face our fears, not from playing it safe. Embrace what you don’t know and use it to better yourself.
Are you ready to ditch your comfort zone?