Why you don’t need to leave your comfort zone
As you know, “all self-improvement books boil down to the fact that a person from Miami advises a person in Magadan to get out of their comfort zone” — a popular and moderately fair anecdote. Tips for getting out of your comfort zone are given by everyone who is not lazy. And there’s a reason for that, actually.
The ability to force yourself out of your comfort zone is one of the main factors of personal growth. it determines the evolution of your career and the achievement of your personal and professional goals. No one disputes this thesis.
But even people quite themselves “from Miami” sometimes advise to be more careful about the advice of their own kind, regardless of whether you grab the stars from the sky over Silicon valley or work as a courier in Taganrog.Let’s ask simple questions.Is getting out of your comfort zone always a prerequisite for success? Are there situations when it makes sense to stay exactly where you are, even if it is Magadan?
The author of a whole bunch of influential American publications, businessman, writer and scientist Andy Molinsky also took care of these questions.He talked about it with a lot of different people over the course of a year and came to a clear conclusion: the answer to the question ” is it Worth staying in the comfort zone sometimes?» is ” Yes!”.
And here’s why
First, we don’t always need to make decisive leaps forward, we don’t always need to perform in front of an unfamiliar audience or urgently grab our luck by the tail.Second, while realizing this, it is very important to ask yourself a few key questions that will allow you to assess the situation and understand whether our decision to stay in the comfort zone is a manifestation of emotions or just a reasonable and appropriate choice.
Am I prepared well enough?
When you are going to go beyond your comfort zone in an important and even, perhaps, decisive situation for you, the chance of success should be quite high.If you are going to make some kind of program statement in front of important people, or give a welcome speech, or finally call a valuable but very difficult client, you must be sure that you will do a good job with this task. You must be sure, for example, that you will not start mumbling or being boring.Of course, you can never be fully prepared to do something you’ve never done, but you also don’t have to mess it up.
Let’s say you are a mid-level Manager or specialist and you have to speak at an important meeting and defend your point of view on an issue that you consider important, and your point of view differs from the majority opinion.
— Have you studied the situation enough and got acquainted with the opinions of possible opponents?
— Do you know exactly what strategy will be successful in this case?
— Did you learn well enough from colleagues who managed to achieve their goals? Have you managed to understand the secret of their successful strategy?
— Have you tried “on cats”, that is, have you tried to rehearse a possible situation not in “combat” conditions? Did your strategy and tactics work?
The ability to get out of your comfort zone without harming yourself is also a skill that needs to be trained.
Therefore, if you answer “no” to most of the above questions, you have not prepared well enough, and leaving your comfort zone is likely to turn into a leap into the unknown with an unpredictable ending, rather than a useful exercise in career and personal growth.
This means that it makes sense to wait with sharp movements until you are actually ready for them.
Why do you even need to do this?
Our life is full of situations that are extremely far from the comfort zone in its broadest sense. But does it really matter?
Not all of us need to jump with a parachute, turn off the computer for the weekend, climb mount Everest and spend our holidays fighting mosquitoes in the Karelian forests. Similarly, we don’t all need to torment ourselves with public speaking or practice cold sales.
Consider the same situation: you need to maintain the same point of view and enlist the support of several decision-makers. You are thinking of performing at a large meeting where a lot of people gather, but you do not have enough experience of such performances and are nervous.
“Well, nothing that stomach cramps, but “pump” oratorical skills and practice to get out of the comfort zone, ” – you think.
Why do you even need to raise your question, no matter how important it is from your point of view, in front of a large audience at a large meeting?
Maybe it is much easier, more comfortable and, most importantly, more effective to discuss it with all interested parties in a familiar environment where you feel confident and will not lose the thread of the conversation?
A solution that is outside of your comfort zone is usually not the only solution that leads to success.
Of course, it is important to understand the difference between common sense and trying to find a valid excuse for your indecision.
For example, you would actually be better off performing in front of a large audience and killing all the birds with one stone. Let’s say you don’t have enough experience in public speaking, but you have a great reputation in the company and your opinion has weight, it will be listened to.
But you decided not to — once, then twice, then ten times…
And each time they explained it to themselves that public speaking is not your Forte and it is easier to solve issues in private conversations with one another.
With each repetition, you were less and less honest with yourself. And deprived themselves of a good opportunity to go to the next stage.
Therefore, when you ask yourself whether you are ready and need to get out of your comfort zone, answer as honestly as possible.
Is it time?
This is an equally important question. You may be quite ready to take the plunge, but this really isn’t the right time.Let’s say you realize that your current position has exhausted itself, the company can no longer provide you with career growth, and it’s time to move on.But look at the market carefully. Study the supply and demand for expensive, highly qualified personnel, and observe the fate of businesses that yesterday seemed eternal, but today simply disappeared.
Read the statistics on Russian (and not only) startups and compare all this with your current situation.Yes, personal effectiveness experts like to repeat that a crisis is always a new opportunity. But are you ready to stay out of business at all?”It’s hard to get out of your comfort zone, and there are good reasons for that,” says Andy Molinsky, ” because it’s usually the place where we feel most natural and secure. And very often it is the comfort zone that allows us to do our job best.”Stepping out of your comfort zone just for the sake of doing something bold, or when you’re completely unprepared for it, or when it’s inappropriate, is often just a way to add stress to our already stressful lives.After all, often the comfort zone is exactly the place where you should stay right here and now.