How to Go Beyond Your Comfort Zone to Grow Personally & Professionally

(An Interview with Maria Angelova (learn more about Maria at the end of the full article)

Part 3 of ???

Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Let’s start with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. What does “getting outside of your comfort zone” mean?

A comfort zone is similar to sitting in your favorite chair and staring at a screen. To get outside of your comfort zone, you need to challenge yourself and your beliefs. You need to appreciate your losses as learning opportunities. You need to respect that others will be there for you in your life to help you step outside the boundaries of your comfort zone. Getting outside of your comfort zone helps you to learn and growth. The opportunities out there are amazing.

Can you help articulate a few reasons why it is important to get out of your comfort zone?

Nothing good ever happens in your comfort zone. It’s like three steps backward and one step forward, at best. When I got to speak internationally in Cancun, we spent one afternoon doing some teambuilding. One of the two stops was where participants could jump into a cave with a pond at the bottom. Having a fear of heights and claustrophobia, I decided not to participate. Over 90% of the people did, including many I respected. On the bus ride to the second stop I was beating myself up for not stepping out of my comfort zone. Try something new. I was in Cancun for crying out loud. At the next stop there was an open-air pond with five jumping stations at different heights. Well, I made a decision to jump from the middle level, about twenty-five feet. It was an incredible feeling from the moment I climbed onto the platform until I set foot on hard ground again. It impacted me so much that I shared it as part of my keynote, replacing what I had expected to talk about. I still look back on that as a loss followed by a huge win and step out of my comfort zone.

Is it possible to grow without leaving your comfort zone? Can you explain what you mean?

I don’t believe it is possible to grow without leaving your comfort zone. As part of a professional speaking class, I was enrolled in (you can never learn enough), we had to either perform at a comedy club or do a comedy bit on Facebook Live. Where I currently live, there are no comedy clubs. At that point in my life, I was not a Facebook aficionado. My only choice to get out of my comfort zone was do a Facebook Live, though. I told a story about shopping with my Mom. She is 93. Part way through I hit my headphone/microphone cord and soon learned people couldn’t hear me. I just plowed through and later posted the punchline. Wasn’t pretty or fun, but now Facebook Live’s and social media in general are no issue. That’s one small example of growth for me and my business. Without leaving my comfort zone, it never would have happened.…to be continued…

Published by Todd Kuckkahn

I'm on a mission to revolutionize company culture and leadership.

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