Estimated reading time: 3 minutes and 36 seconds
As we move into the new year, most of us will take time to reflect on the previous year. We think through our accomplishments, take inventory of ongoing goals, and review our plans to achieve objectives moving forward. But too often during this process, without even realizing, we succumb to our comfort zone. According to Lifehacker, the comfort zone is described as “a behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimizes stress and risk.” As humans, we are wired to seek out experiences that we understand and which feel familiar. But what if we made a conscious effort to take more manageable risks? With the new year in full swing, here are a few reasons why we should all consider stepping outside of our comfort zone more often.
1. Embracing Challenges Can Heighten Performance
Stepping out of our norm forces us adapt to new challenges. So instead of comfortably staying in the realms of what’s familiar, more often than not, we rise to the occasion by exploring and developing new skillsets. These new skills help us to improve our performance at work, contribute more effectively to a business and better serve our clients. In fact, physiologists have found that when we push our boundaries into the realms of “optimal anxiety", we’re able to strive to achieve bigger goals, work smarter and hit our stride faster. So whether it’s a project at work, or a new hobby, 2017 can be the year that we all challenge ourselves to try something new, and make it a habit for heightened performance.
2. Switching Things Up Is Often Rewarding
Following the same routine for too long can eventually lead to diminishing returns. Sometimes, it takes something completely out of left field to wake us to new experiences and ways of being. But sometimes, it all comes down to challenging our own mindsets. When we take the time to examine new perspectives and are open to approaching situations in new ways, we become more aware of our environments and how we maneuver within them. A decision that is out of our norm can also teach us more about ourselves. It can be as simple as committing to plan that big trip that’s been on our must-see list for too long, or as unnerving as making a business decision that feels risky but right at the same time. Whatever it is, challenging our own perspectives can lead to progressive growth and grand rewards.
3. Fear of Failure Can Be a Tool for Growth
As children and young adults, most of us were likely more resilient to risks. For many of us, it was easier to take risks, even regardless of consequences or what others would say. Sometimes it worked out well and sometimes it didn’t; but each experience probably helped us grow and become stronger individuals. As we progress through our careers or grow our businesses, fear of failure can often get in our way. This fear makes us more risk adverse, and in turn holds us back from far-reaching accomplishments. In his book ‘Self-Renewal’, John Gardner wrote, "We pay a heavy price for fear of failure… you must keep on risking failure, all your life. It is as simple as that." It’s true; though it’s often a tough pill to swallow, facing our fears and taking more risks is important as we continue on our professional paths. If we can accept that failure is a tool for growth, nothing can hold us back from making 2017 a smashing success.
Moving Out of The Comfort Zone in 2017
Every year is an opportunity for growing and learning, both professionally and personally. But it’s easy to fall into a routine that is comfortable and to settle for the familiar. As we take the time to reflect on our goals for this year, it’s important to consider the many ways in which we can step out of our comfort zone. When we take time to appreciate challenges, to explore new perspectives and to face more fears head on, we’re able to become better versions of ourselves and realize our fullest potential. If you are looking for some more inspiration, check out Mark Zuckerberg’s Challenge, and feel free to leave any tips you'd like to share in the comment section on our LinkedIn page.
Happy New Year!
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