“Growth happens when you’re stretched. Growth happens when you’re pushed. Growth happens when you’re forced to overcome challenges, obstacles and self-doubt. If you aren’t uncomfortable, you aren’t growing.” – Jeff Haden
One of my favorite definitions is from the Cambridge dictionary: “a situation in which you feel comfortable and in which your ability and determination are not being tested”
I’ll just repeat this part again “..in which your ability and determination are not being tested”. To me this sounds super scary, it sounds like repetition, like boredom, like monotony, like a downtime. Of course this might also come with comfort, relaxation, less worry and a everyday routine, but what is live worse living without daily little challenges, without being nervous, without the scariness of not knowing how everything works out? At this point there are two kind of people, the once that say I am happy where I am, I achieved what I wanted to and the kind of person that panics and start searching for new things immediately.
This article covers why growths starts out of you comfort zone and how to get there.
6 Reasons why growth starts out of your comfort zone:
- With comfort comes repetition, repeating what we do every day without rethinking kills creativity
- Without challenging our inner self we never know how far we can go and what we are capable of achieving
- Becoming to comfortable will stop our curiosity, instead of taking risks we will stay where we are
- Being in a comfortable situation leads to excuses why we can not change to other/ new/ bigger opportunities and nothing is worse that having regrets after making excuses
- Discomfort will be always better to handle if we create it ourselves than if someone else is putting us in discomfort
- Comfort and Stagnation in career or in life are strongly related to each other which can lead to unhappiness
Before I mention examples how you can trigger discomfort yourself, I would like to use parts of Bill Eckstroms “Growth Rings” methodology here on how discomfort can occur to focus on the necessity to step out of our comfort zones ourselves.
- It is forced upon you
- Someone can help you get there
- Trigger it yourself
The first situation is probably the scariest one, something happens that we are not prepared for and throws us completely out of our daily routines. This could be anything, loosing our job, natural catastrophes, being stood up by someone we trusted and relied on, anything that is unforeseen. The second is a very lucky circumstance that not many of us are in, a coach/ mentor/ manager that forces us to take the next step and move into discomfort o embrace it. The third is all in our hands, to trigger the discomfort in our lives on a regular basis and embrace the complexity and growth that comes with it, making discomfort a habit.
6 Ways to trigger discomfort ourselves:
- Start small, do something every month you would usually not do (travel alone, try a new sport, etc.)
- Review if your job is intellectually challenging you, if not find ways to create this challenge either within or outside your job
- Don’t overthink about new situations, take the challenge and grow with it
- Don’t make excuses for yourself, question if you really have no time for this extra task or to take over more responsibility or if it is just yourself making excuses why you should not
- Start questioning why you do things the way you do them and find new ways
- When you have different options to take, be sure you take the best one in the long-term and not the easiest one
In summary – I have learned over the last months that nobody but ourselves are responsible for our challenges, growths and widen our comfort zones. A fulfilled life, a great career, great experiences are all related to this and to our individual story to tell.
“…we must experience the wilderness to be taught what can not be otherwise known.” Dr. Serene Jones