“You need to get out of your comfort zone,” is a well-known cliché. But this often misses the point. Another approach is to focus on a person expanding their comfort zone.
It also depends on what somebody means by ‘comfort zone’. One person said, for example:
“I only recruit people who feel comfortable doing their best and who feel uncomfortable not doing their best.”
So what does somebody actually mean when they say that a person needs to ‘get out of their comfort zone’? They may mean the person needs:
"To work harder, stretch themselves and do everything possible to deliver success."
Another definition of the comfort zone is for the person:
"To put themselves in the place where they feel stimulated, stretch themselves and continually aim to deliver success."
The mountaineer stretches themselves by climbing more difficult mountains. They follow the principles they know work and then expand their comfort zone.
The mountaineer might feel uncomfortable, however, if asked to stay indoors for 3 months and teach dancing lessons.
Certainly they would be out of their comfort zone. But it debatable how much it would help them to develop.
Peak performers feel comfortable continually improving. They feel uncomfortable not developing. Such people often take three steps towards fulfilling their potential.
They start by building on their strengths.
They select a specific project which involves them focusing on stimulation, stretch and success.
They perform superb work and, in the process, expand their comfort zone.
Stimulation, Stretch and Success
Imagine that you want to follow these steps in your own way. What are the stimulating activities where you love to stretch yourself and achieve success?
Sometimes you feel tense: but it is a positive tension, not a negative tension. You will feel more comfortable doing these things than not doing them.
Some writers report that: “Writing is painful, but not as painful as not writing.” A lifeboat crew feels in danger on the high seas. But they feel even more uncomfortable sitting on the shore, unable to help sailors caught in a storm.
Imagine you choose to focus on a particular stimulating activity. How can you stretch yourself? You may choose, for example:
To clarify a specific stretch goal.
To clarify the benefits of achieving the goal.
To clarify whether you are really serious about achieving the goal.
Let’s imagine that you choose to commit to the task. It may then be important:
To focus on the key strategies you can follow to achieve success.
To sweat, perform solid work and then add something special.
To do whatever is required to achieve the picture of success.
Try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to focus on the following steps.
Imagine that you reach the goal. It will then be time to rest and reflect. You will clarify:
The specific things you did well and how you can more of these in the future.
The things you can do better in the future and how.
You can then keep doing stimulating things, stretching yourself and expanding your comfort zone.