Pushing Your Comfort Zone

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.

How do you grow professionally? Gain better skills, get a new job, or just find time to think? How do you push past your comfort zone?

New Year’s Day is right around the corner. At this time many people, myself included, make resolutions toward positive behavioral changes.

A classic example is saying you’ll hit the gym three times a week, which only lasts the first two weeks of January. Another is saying you’ll finally clean out that cluttered closet, only to be distracted by the next shiny object scrolling past your Facebook feed.

Because Life Happens

Does this sound familiar? “Life” happens and your resolutions fall by the wayside. Kids get sick, you twist an ankle, or the weather puts a damper on traveling to that big conference. We can plan all we want, but the stuff we don’t know about yet is what usually derails our best intentions. And that stuff never goes away.

Plans are very important – we just have to expect to change them along the way. In other words, taking action and managing change are two sides of the same coin. It’s the managing change part and staying the course that gets us across the finish line.

So instead of making empty New Year’s resolutions, why not find something that will push your comfort zone starting now? What’s the one thing you could do right now that will move the needle for you professionally? Is it learning a new skill? Or asking for a raise? Or maybe even doing something completely different?

What and Why

What is it and why is it important to you? Finding your “why” is the secret sauce to pushing your comfort zone. “Why” is the magic motivator. You may even already know why something is important to you, but there’s a certain “what” that’s holding you back. The only way to remove those pesky “what” roadblocks is to identify them. And that usually means pushing past your comfort zone.

It’s easy to get caught in a rut over time and accept the status quo. Humans are wired for routine. Like other animals, we naturally want to conserve energy and only spring into action when absolutely necessary. Conserving energy is one thing, but complacency is dangerous. You don’t need to accept things as they are if you know you can do better.

Be Prepared

For example, before you go marching into your boss’ office demanding a raise, make sure you have clearly documented how you have added value to the company over the last year. What’s your professional ROI in the eyes of your employer? How have you made their life easier? Did you really make their life easier? Besides keeping you from quitting, how will they benefit from paying you more next year?

Or, if you’ve decided to look for a new job, have you really gone as far as you can in your current role? Are there any other opportunities you may have overlooked? Is there someone you can talk to? If it is time to find your next gig, are you ready? Do you have everything in order? What’s your plan and when will you start?

Your Best Year Yet

To make it your best year yet, what’s the most important thing you need to accomplish in 2020? How will you push past your comfort zone to make it happen?

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