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Why stepping outside your comfort zone is the key to growth

By: Grant King - IndustrySearch Writer
08 October, 2015

Well, you could start by asking one of the most successful businesspeople in the world today, Richard Branson. He believes that far too many businesses aren't prepared to take calculated risks to progress and grow. And it's true.

We know what's worked in the past, be it spectacularly or not. The tried and true allows us to sleep at night. Routine and familiarity are our friends. Risk is our enemy and our potential nightmare. So why should we step out of our comfort zone and tackle risky business head on?

It is the key to growth

And that's both personally and professionally. Think about it, if you walk at a dawdle, you won't get fitter. Power walk and your heart rate climbs out of its comfort zone. It has to work harder, so it gets fitter, stronger. Work within your strengths and your career will be 'working weak after working weak.'

Where's the job satisfaction in that?

Bungy jump your way to job satisfaction

When was the last time you had a rush of adrenaline? Was it before an exciting date? Or before a meeting and you had to make a speech? Maybe you get that rush on weekends turning out for your local sports team. Or maybe you equate an adrenaline rush with butterflies and avoid such feelings like the plague.

Confronting unchartered territory can be daunting. We fear the unknown; we fear failure. We know what we're good at and what works for us and we put those behaviour patterns on repeat both at home and at work.

Think about your staff

Who are your star performers in the office? Often they're people who've been in the same job longer than you can remember and who have never once broached the subject of a promotion. The packers in your warehouse who can now pack perfectly with their eyes closed and who harbour no aspirations of stepping up to warehouse manager.

These are people happily entrenched in their comfort zones.They could also be the people with the most potential for growth if you take the time to dangle a few carrots. Promotion might not even be in their vocabulary unless you put it there.

Exceed to succeed

Push yourself and your staff to achieve more, to set slightly higher goals each week; small attainable challenges that once reached create a thirst for more. Exceed your own expectations; surprise yourself with a small win. Take a few calculated risks with a tolerable worst case scenario. Success can be quite addictive.

Be something

'To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.' This fairly blunt statement was either made by Aristotle or Hubbard, or maybe Winston Churchill – he was never short of a good quote. Whatever its origins, it does get to the heart of the comfort zone dilemma and its inherent pursuit of the ordinary.

Average, mediocre, underwhelming – they're not words any of us want to be remembered by. So drag yourself kicking and screaming out of that comfort zone, challenge yourself to do bigger, better things and be something.

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