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  • Reach Out of Your Comfort Zone For Breakthroughs!

    “It’s not our failures that determine our future success, but how we explain them to ourselves.”

    —Dr Martin Seligman, the founder of Positive Psychology

    A great way to expedite your personal and professional growth process, is to adopt strategies to get out of your comfort zone. Marge Warrell ‘s recent Forbes article Why Getting Comfortable With Discomfort Is Crucial to Success sums it up well.  She says that playing it safe inhibits growth and that the common thread among leaders is that they all are willing to embrace change and risk the discomfort of failure. People who are more driven by what inspires them than what scares them challenge assumptions and push the boundaries of possibility.  They don’t allow the fear of failure to hold them back.

    Being willing to take a risk and try something new allows you to accomplish more in life.   As John F. Kennedy once said, “Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished with a guarantee of success.” Nothing ever will be.

    In order to break out of your routine and reach a new plateau you need to step out of your comfort zone. Experts say that making a move from a position that has become routine is critical to furthering a career.  Even tackling a new project within the same company can help.  When trying to reinvent yourself, change can mean anything from taking on new responsibilities to switching departments. Stretching yourself at work (assuming new responsibilities or a new role) or in your personal life takes gumption but the pay off can lead to your becoming more competent, confident and add depth to your personality.

    Here are some ways to step out of your comfort zone that can help you reach a new plateau:

    1. Acknowledge that getting out of your comfort zone is good for you
    2. Pick an activity or role that is uncomfortable but has value e.g. Training for a marathon or traveling to a foreign country and volunteering there
    3. Identify new skills:  constantly look at how your helping the organization improve
    4. Get Involved: participate in the companies community activities
    5. Make time for career research:  Set aside time to explore new paths that will challenge you
    6. Un-plug a tech gadget
    7. Find a role model who overcame big hurdles to do what you want to do
    8. Get intentionally lost and try to find your way back using maps.  Do it when you’ve got some extra time, Roizen says
    9. Write a book, a blog or create a podcast on your area of expertise
    10.  Take an Improv class or ceramics class

    Whenever you assume a new role or challenge yourself to overcome a fear, may it be in sport, social or travel you may experience initially some discomfort.  Embrace the discomfort.  The struggle that ensues is where the growth process begins and eventually gives birth to new capacities and greater fulfillment.

    Here are more ways you can challenge yourself to break out of your comfort zone.  There isn’t one right choice but each one could afford a breakthrough in finding new talent and new abilities that you otherwise couldn’t access.

    1. Volunteer…Give!
    2.  Climb a mountain
    3.  Travel to a foreign country and try to exclusively get around in a foreign language
    4.  Become a mentor

    Focus on acknowledging the value of breaking out of your comfort zone, push through your fear and lean into the experience. Don’t over-think it. Jump in with both feet. Once you’ve taken the risk and tried the new experience, be sure to celebrate the victory and express appreciation to those who helped make it happen.  This will increase your joy and develop a new pattern for trying other new things that could lead to positive growth.

    Lastly, pause to reflect:  process your experience.  What did you do well?  What would you do differently next time?  What did you learn that could help you in your next challenge? Too often we let our mistakes and setbacks define us. Be sure to avoid focusing on the areas that didn’t go as well and concentrate on what you learned from becoming open to new experiences. The end result is that you will appreciate how capable you are of making a change in your life and becoming what you want to become.

    The only limits there are, are the ones we put on ourselves.*. *We are always getting ready to live, but never living.* ~Ralph Waldo Emerson~.

    Beth Kuhel, M.B.A., C.E.I.P., Executive Leadership and Career transition coach, writes about leadership strategies, career advancement and improving the workplace for Forbes, Huffington Post, Personal Branding blog and has been featured in Business Insider, Entrepreneur magazine, Tiny Pulse, U.S. News & World Report. Beth’s weekly career CJN career column was sponsored by Weatherhead School of Management.

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