Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

By, 11/12/2015

It’s said to the point of cliché: Step outside your comfort zone and try something new! Despite how tired the advice may seem, that doesn’t negate its wisdom. Opening yourself up to something out of your normal routine can unlock opportunities and enhance your professional development.

What exactly does “stepping outside your comfort zone” really mean? It’s not as simple as doing something you dislike or had bad experiences with in the past. Rather, view it more as a way to challenge yourself and grow particular skillsets you’d like to develop further.

For example, I recently took a public speaking course offered at work. Though I had some prior experience with speaking in front of a crowd, I hadn’t used that particular skill in several years. Here was an opportunity to practice in an intimate, supportive environment, and despite some initial hesitations, I decided to take the class. On the first day, I struggled mightily. However, this turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it forced me to take the time to practice regularly. By the end of the class, I improved significantly. Everyone can find something he or she wants to make better—sometimes, it just takes a little self-reflection and the opportunity to spur action.