The winter doldrums are upon us here in the Northeastern United States.
Show of hands… When it’s COLD and dreary outside, who jumps out of bed and is raring to go? I suspect a few of you are still eager to get moving. However, many of us would really prefer to snuggle deeper into our warm comfy beds when the dreaded alarm goes off.
Does this lack of eagerness to get moving on a cold winters’ day mean your life is lazy? Before you get defensive, please take a good hard look at what I’m really asking you. I’m not suggesting that you are a lazy person – I imagine that you’re not and if you’re like the rest of us, you are constantly in the mode of ‘doing’. Here’s what I’m really asking: Are you too comfortable?
Personally, I find when I am too comfortable in some aspect of my life, it can make me lazy. As I write this, I’m realizing this was one of the things that happened years ago in my former career in Information Technology (IT). My last position was an IT Auditor. I’ll spare you the details, however, it’s safe to say that there were certain types of audits I could practically do in my sleep. I had become a bit of an expert in one type of auditing, but along with this status came a comfort zone. The work was easy. If I didn’t know the answer to a question, I knew where to find it. I was compensated well for the work I did. And, I was working for a company that was very well respected.
Sounds good, huh? To be honest with you, I know that in this situation I DID get too comfortable. And, at times, I know I was not doing my best work. Do you have a situation you know is too comfortable? Maybe it’s happening to you right now…
Here are a few clues to determine if you’re too comfortable:
- You’re bored.
- Sometimes you get sloppy and make some silly mistakes.
- The work is easy.
- You’re coasting.
- You’re an expert in something, but you’re not continuing to learn about the topic.
As you look at this list of clues, do you see yourself? As you begin to recognize yourself, are you starting to come up with excuses or ‘yeah buts’ as to why you want to stay in your comfort zone? It wouldn’t surprise me… It is very cozy and nice in your comfort zone. Your comfort zone is a safe haven. Who wouldn’t want to stay there?
I would like to suggest that your comfort zone can:
- keep you stuck
- prevent you from doing what you really want to do
- stop you from being the BEST YOU!
There are lots of things you can do to venture outside of your comfort zone. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
Try something new
This can be something simple such as taking a new route to work or experimenting with a new dish at the Chinese restaurant. Or, it can be something you’ve always wanted to do, such as taking a painting class or learning how to horseback ride.
For example, when you meet someone new, don’t focus on telling him/her all about you. Instead, find out as much as you can about this new person. Here are some possible questions:
- What do they do for a living?
- How do they spend their free time?
- Where did they grow up?
- What’s their favorite topic to talk about?
After the discussion, think about anything that was of interest to you. You may even decide to do some additional research. For example, maybe the person you just met is a Nuclear Medical Technologist. Having no idea what a Nuclear Medical Technologist does, you do some research to find out more about this field.
As you look at where you are currently in your comfort zone, what would be a real stretch for you? In my previous auditing role, I decided my stretch would be to finally figure out ‘what I wanted to be when I grew up’. And, stretch I did…right into starting my Better Than Ever Coaching business! I love the career I chose! It’s true that some components of my career utilize my natural talents; however, I’m not coasting, I’m not bored and I’m constantly learning something new! I’m even working with a very unique way to do what I currently do (I’ll be sharing more about this soon).
Your stretch doesn’t have to be as dramatic as mine. For example, perhaps, you don’t usually speak up at meetings. A stretch for you, then, could be to make at least one comment in each meeting you attend for the next week. In this situation, a big stretch might be signing up to do a presentation for your team.
Breaking out of my comfort zone is usually both exhilarating and scary. This powerful combination is usually just what I need to catapult me out of my comfort zone and into something new and exciting!
Are you ready to break out of your comfort zone?