Everyone experiences being in their comfort zone, one in which they function with relative ease and familiarity.
At times life can be overbearing due stress and anxieties in our daily lives, whether these are due to work, family pressures and/or responsibilities, even peer pressure and social influences.
How we deal with anxiety differs from person to person and one way out of this would be to choose to lead an easier-sailing life, and to start to adopt ways to make life less complicated and challenging and therefore trouble-free! While this choice may sound good, there is inherently a risk that if we took this too literally every time, we could find ourselves avoiding confrontations in life and therefore hinder our potential personal development and even career progress. Subsequently, we end up looking to keep control of events which surround us and create a safer space and, as a result, we find ourselves doing the same routine, day-in, day-out so we feel at ease and end up being in what is called the ‘comfort zone’. The ‘trickle-down’ effect of this is we end up avoiding things which are challenging our limits and what we perceive as a hardship and hence fail to reach our full potential. By fooling ourselves into thinking we are content with the status quo and spending more time than necessary being in the comfort zone make it increasingly difficult to break free!
The ‘comfort zone’ is actually an imaginary area that is used metaphorically to describe a psychological state, in which an individual lives and feels ‘perceived’ happiness, comfort, and satisfaction and therefore resists breaking free. For example, a person who has been in the same job for 10 years would resist the temptation to move into a new role because it is more challenging, even if this new job were to bring greater rewards and further personal development.
However, the reality is most people get generally bored of living in a stagnant state, and want to break-free but don’t know how to. In contrast, we will find that striving for ‘Growth and development’ are traits of successful people ; these people make concerted efforts to get out of their comfort zone in search of what we call the ‘growth zone’ in order to be able to reach their full potential.
There are strong reasons we should face-up to the challenges and leave our comfort zone:
Not taking initiatives or challenging ourselves enough can have negative impact on our lives in the long-run. The reason is by choosing to stay the comfort zone, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to face-up to our fears, and subsequently hinder our own personal development. In short, avoiding becoming addicted to our comfort zone gives us the opportunity to achieve our goals and realize our dreams
We need to look beyond the banality of daily life to explore our passion. Do we question ourselves if we are genuinely happy in our work? This calls for us to explore our hobbies and challenge ourselves to find something that we are passionate about , and where we could see ourselves in future. Remember the old saying “if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life!”.
OK, so we are feeling okay, but what is it like to feel great? There is something exciting about stepping beyond our norm and aim for more ambitious goals. We may find it hard at first but overtime this will become progressively easier! Remember, nothing worth having comes easy!
Getting out of our comfort zone presents opportunities to meet new people from different walks of life. This will have a knock-on effect and could well provide us with chances to explore new directions, learn or improve a variety of skills such as effective communication and team-working, which will in turn drive our own personal development.
To truly break out of the comfort zone, we need to know which triggers you need to push to break free. As you gradually move towards the growth zone, we will go through phases of learning, self-discovery and personal growth. The more we do this, the more courage and determination will we have to continue on this journey to reach the growth zone. Once we are there, we find we have acquired new skills and are a step closer to reach our goals.
The same principles apply for Leadership, which can be learnt and honed over time. It’s a skill that people develop and fine-tune through experiences individually, with others and in facing up to challenges. As leaders interact with people and teams, they begin to understand how different people will react to different leadership styles and will be able to adopt the right style to suit different situation and get the most out of their teams.
Leaders develop by being hands-on and by sharing their knowledge and experience with others and working together to meet challenges. As leaders develop, their sense of self-awareness grows and they begin to understand capabilities better and hence, work on their areas of development in order to able to reach growth zone and become more effective and exemplary leaders
Adopting these suggestions will help us go through a journey self-discovery, increase our desire for greater success, enhance our knowledge and inevitably our leadership skills.
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