To all high achievers and A-Players,
How comfortable are you in your career? Is it the kind of comfort that still challenges you in a good way or the kind of comfort that let you cruise through your day without having to think, grow and put too much effort in your work? If it’s the latter, it might explain why you do not feel motivated lately in your work or you might feel in a “career rut”.
The “comfort zone” is not the best place to be when career development is important for you. Sure, it is comfortable, familiar, and free of uncertainty, but won’t help you grow professionally. When you stick to what feels easy and familiar, there isn’t much willingness to reach new levels of performance, new levels of learnings or develop new skills and this is when you might feel as if you are stuck in your career. If you are at that point in your career, it is time to consider stepping out of your comfort zone because doing so could lead too multiple advantages for your career. Here’s a few:
Often, you might not be able to see the opportunities around you when you stay in your safe zone. You might not take the time to network, explore or open your eyes to what is out there because you do not feel motivated to do so. But trust us, there are a lot of opportunities around you and as soon as you step out of the zone you will see them.
Being open to new learnings will help you grow as a professional because continuous learning is a must if you want to stay on top of your game. Stepping out of your comfort zone will help you see what learnings are necessary to reach new heights.
The mindset you have when you are too comfortable in what you do is often linked to a fixed mindset where you fear failure. When you intentionally step out of your comfort zone, it will help you switch to a growth mindset where you will feel positively about development and find opportunity to learn and grow even if you are faced with failure.
By stepping out of your comfort zone, you will find new motivation. You will be able to set new goals that will inevitably help you grow as a professional.
Don’t get us wrong, it sounds as if it is easier said than done, right? To help you, here are some tips to get you out of your comfort zone toward the place where great things can happen.
1. Start Small
When we say step out of your comfort zone, we do not mean throwing everything away and starting over without fear or caution. We mean taking small steps toward a new goal. Baby steps will be way less intimidating. So start where you are. Don’t compare yourself with others. Often the first step is the hardest, so take a minute and reflect on what is missing and what you need to do to get there. If your goal is to get a new job because you are no longer motivated, the first step could be to write down what must be included in your next job that is not there now. Then it could be to update your resume to reflect your most recent accomplishments. Starting small will ease you through the process until you feel ready for bigger steps.
2. Challenge Yourself
Find a way to challenge yourself in the job that you currently have. Try to do things differently in your daily routine. It could be to reach out to a connection on LinkedIn to catch up or it could be as simple as changing the order of your daily tasks. Even small changes will help feel as if you are challenging yourself.
3. Expand Your Skillset and Knowledge
This doesn’t have to include formal training (but it could if this is what you are aiming for). It could be as simple as listening to a podcast on your way to work, reading a blog or participating in a webinar. For example, Udemy.com is a great website to expand your skills and knowledge at an affordable price.
Expanding your professional skills will help with your self-confidence and (of course) with seeking new opportunities.
4. Learn to Get Comfortable with the Uncomfortable
Have you ever had a great pair of slippers, probably very old but very comfortable? Then when you knew it was time for a new pair you tried them on and it didn’t feel as comfortable as the old ones but as time went by you realized that the new pair is even better than the old one? The same thing will happen when you get out of your comfort zone. But the difference will be that now that you are out and going towards the growth zone you will notice that when you get too comfortable it will be time to step out again and buy that new pair (and you will be ok with that).
5. See Failure as an Opportunity to Grow
Failure can be scary, but it can also be a great way to learn. Think about it, when you don’t make any mistakes because you are in a job that you know like the back of your hand, how can you learn? Like we said earlier, going toward a growth mindset will help you feel positively about development and find opportunity to learn and grow even if we are faced with failure.
So go ahead and take that step. You'll see the magic happen!