Get out of the comfort zone to grow

The Comfort Zone gets you nowhere

By Lindsey Elias, Marketing Content Manager on May 3, 2018 11:00:00 AM

Get uncomfortable to achieve growth and success.

The comfort zone is an easy place to be. It's...well,comfortable. When it becomes our safe space, though, what we may not realize is that being so comfortable is actually stunting our growth. Especially within the professional world, the benefits of stepping outside of your comfort zone can be many, and staying put can hold you back.

If your day-to-day work habits have become tried-and-true routines, and you've become a master of all that you do, that means one thing: it's time to push yourself, to learn new things and to continue to grow your abilities. Not only can this break you out of boredom and make your days more exciting, but it will also make you a more valued member of your team.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone means more than just continually pushing yourself to grow, however. Making yourself uncomfortable has actually been shown to promote personal development. According to a Forbes article entitled Why Feeling Uncomfortable Is The Key To Success, "Routines may make you feel at ease and in control, but what a routine really does is dull your sensitivities." The article goes on to state: "If you don't get out of your comfort zone, you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis."

DISCOMFORT FOSTERS GROWTH

"Get out of your comfort zone." It's common advice from savvy business professionals and life coaches everywhere, and it's supported by science. Studies have repeatedly indicated that obtaining new information and taking in new experiences are critical elements for brain growth. They showcase some pretty motivating findings: 

  • According to Neuron, adding new, novelty information in between information that test participants were already familiar with enhanced their learning--even their processing of the familiar items. 
  • Being uncomfortable has been shown to activate a unique region of the brain that is only able to be activated when you have new experiences. 
  • Babies experience incredibly rapid brain growth due in large part to all of the new experiences that they are constantly absorbing. 
  • According to The Mission, Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, a psychologist and author of "Better Than Perfect," stated that people who regularly seek out fresh experiences tend to be both more creative and emotionally resilient.
  • People who actively expand their experiences and learn are shown to consistently build dense networks of brain cell connections. Scientists have termed this "cognitive reserve."
  • Tasks that challenge your brain the most have been shown to have the largest positive impact on your brain's health.

EMBRACING DISCOMFORT

No matter your age or achievements, you can push yourself to experience new things, get out of your comfort zone and learn more. According to Bebrainfit.com, "brain information travels up to an impressive 268 miles per hour. This is faster than Formula 1 race cars..." Your brain is both ready and able to grow. In fact, continually pushing it to learn new things will fight brain disease and keep it healthy.

There's just one other important piece to getting the most out of uncomfortable and new situations: managing your stress surrounding them, and learning to confidently embrace the discomfort. According to Inc., the ideal zone for learning and growth lies somewhere between your comfort zone and your zone of destructive anxiety. Although anxiety can help improve learning, being overwhelmed by it can hurt your performance (destructive anxiety). The key is to tap into what Russian developmental psychologist Lev Vygotsky called the Zone of Proximal Development. This is a place where you are able to use problem solving and experience new things while working to be at peace with your discomfort and managing your stress and anxiety. 

Here's some good news: the more you place yourself into situations that cause you discomfort and push you to learn new things, the better you will become at handling your stress surrounding them. With some dedicated effort, stepping into a room full of new people can start to feel more like an amazing opportunity than something scary or overwhelming. In addition, seeking to consistently understand new perspectives from new people can become your new norm. However you go about it, forming the habit of actively working to step outside of your comfort zone is an incredible key to personal and professional growth and success. 

How do you make a habit of stepping outside of your comfort zone? Has it helped you to grow professionally? Share with us below and subscribe to our blog today!

 

Topics: Business

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