Among the most common pieces of advice for getting ahead in life is being able to step outside of your comfort zone. In its simplicity, this advice offers you the opportunity for personal and professional growth in helping exceed your expectations. Stepping outside of your comfort zone is also an easy anecdote to repeat to yourself, somewhat like a mantra. Getting outside your comfort zone could mean changing careers, moving, or making new friends. However, the “comfort zone” is also a philosophy that can quickly become misinterpreted.
The idea of failing forward and getting comfortable in the uncomfortable is excellent. However, it can also create intense guilt when or if you decline an opportunity. Becoming misguided to think that you should always say “yes” can soon have you doing things you don't care about or are uninspired about doing, which could lead to burnout. You should always consider whether stepping out of your comfort zone is the best option. Further, when should you step outside of your comfort zone? Let's take a look at how and when you can gauge when an opportunity calls for you to step out of your comfort zone and when you should exercise more caution.
Preparing for Stepping Out
Your level of discomfort relies on how well you prepare, meaning you'll want to be thoughtful in ensuring that you have the time and energy required. For example, if you take on a project at work that you know nothing about, you have not set yourself up for the right conditions to succeed, nor have you increased your odds for success. It is essential to evaluate each new venture before committing by asking yourself some simple questions:
- Have you prepared enough?
- Is it the right time?
You might want to embark on this new venture. However, the timing might not be correct.
Evaluate your other priorities and responsibilities and assess how you handle them. Being overzealous might hinder you from devoting time and effort to any particular task. Ultimately, if you do not have the time to prepare and follow through, it might not be worth moving forward at the time. However, If you can handle your priorities and tasks and are not feeling challenged, it could be the right time to take the next step. Remember to avoid saying “yes” and committing to something for the sake; being outside of your comfort zone and just being uncomfortable are two different things that create two different kinds of anxiety, stress, and self-perception.
Measure Your Discomfort Tolerance by Stretching It
The idea of a comfort zone is a subjective concept. Various factors such as your personality and tolerance to stress determine the nuances of how your comfort zone works and reacts to the choices you make. For example, if you are more of an introvert, you might find the idea of networking intimidating. However, if you are more extroverted, you might be excited about growing your network.
Additionally, your view of stretching your comfort before it becomes panic also differs between you and another individual. The key is understanding how you work. Since you cannot change your sweet spot, you, therefore, need to know yourself. Are you naturally motivated -- meaning can you get a lot done without much prompting -- or do you need help from others to energize you?
The best way to find out is to practice self-awareness and experiment with how you operate. Set up conditions for success and learning. Allow ample time to prepare by anticipating questions from peers and making sure that whatever venture you're pursuing, you have knowledge and opportunity for expertise. The process will, in turn, help you find where the challenges might lie within your comfort zone and therefore help you gain a little more elasticity within yourself. Think about when you stretch something a little beyond its capacity; it never returns to its original form. However, if you stretch that same object too far, it will tear or snap.
If Stretched Too Far
A great indicator that you have stretched yourself too far is living in a constant state of stress and fear. Living under these conditions can create unpleasant consequences. Such stress states could result from starting a business too soon, taking a premature promotion at work, or filling your day to the brim with extracurricular activities supposed to support growth but overbook your day. Perhaps acting outside of your comfort zone takes putting your own spin on things, so you don't have to suppress who you are. For example, an introvert might benefit from one-on-one interactions to start.
While there is no set way, knowing who you are and remembering who you are will increase your odds for success. When you can succeed, you can take bigger chances -- you develop a sense of self-efficacy at an organic pace. Ultimately, knowing when to identify your reluctance as fearful or not fearful is the goal of waiting or moving forward with the particular pursuit.
Seeking discomfort and stretching yourself will force you to face difficult challenges, which can be great for your professional and personal life. However, at times during these processes, you might feel prone to anxiety and exhaustion. At START UP RECOVERY, we believe that the best success happens when you can step outside of your comfort zone and reach your full potential. However, we also believe that achieving one's full potential requires balance and support throughout the process, not to deter yourself or create fear in yourself and your future. At START UP, we will provide a comfortable setting for you to connect with others and find inspiration to take the calculated risks required to move forward in your life and recovery. To further help find out who you are and what your capable of, reach out to START UP RECOVERY today by calling us at 310-773-3809. Remember, your journey begins and continues with taking the next step toward recovery, health, and success.