Is the comfort zone really comfortable?

Author Tapan Rayaguru, Career Coach at Sunstone Business School.

Of all the workplace jargon, one that is hard to get is the ‘comfort zone’ concept – “get out of your comfort zone” or several variations of it sound familiar?

How do you know if you are in your ‘comfort zone’ and if getting out of it is good for your future or not.

Start by asking yourself a few questions:

  1. How long have you been in your current role without much change?
  2. Have you always been rated highly by your manager and your team in this role?
  3. When did you fail last in this role?
  4. Could you do the same tasks in this role with less time than you do now if the situation so demanded?
  5. Do you have any ‘anxiety’ at all (not ‘worry’) as to your likely success in the current role?

The directional answer to these questions should very well indicate if indeed you are in your comfort zone.

“So what if I am in my comfort zone?” you ask. Well… if you stay too long in there it may get too uncomfortable for your career growth, as you are likely to settle down to a role at that level of responsibility and never even attempt to grow.

Getting out of your comfort zone has several benefits:

  1. As you take on a responsibility that you may never have done before, your learning about businesses grows tremendously. You are required to deliver different results, work with new/different people, pick up new skills, elevate the levels at which you are required to communicate/network/motivate etc.
  2. The learning value from initial failures that you may experience should never be underestimated and the confidence that each success brings just keeps on feeding and takes you on a positive spiral.
  3. Your grow as a professional and learning/doing more/doing better become habits that feed your success
  4. The translation of the sense of learning and achievement starts to permeate to your personal life and absolute magic could happen there as well. For the non-believers, I urge them to reflect the last time they were truly happy personally and correlate that to what their professional/academic achievements were and soon they will turn believers!

So are you ready to get out of your ‘comfort zone’ and try something new today? Those that complain lack of opportunities are probably not fully committed to getting out of the ‘comfort zone’ yet.

Here are a few simple ways that should be possible for everyone:

  1. Walk up to your manager and say word for word “I feel I am falling into my comfort zone and would like to try an additional responsibility. I will continue to do what I do today but try me for something more. Let me help you with something that is on your plate and is not getting done because you don’t have the time for it”. For as long as I have been a manager, I would love this statement coming from any of my team members. If at first you do not succeed, try again, because that only shows you are committed and serious about ‘not falling into your comfort zone’. Again for the skeptic in you, please try before you say it does not work!
  2. Try and pick up a new life skill – how about trying to run 10K, how about getting that to under an hour, how about learning to play that guitar, a foreign language may be!
  3. Try and pick up a new professional skill – how about learning ‘accounting’, how about ‘business analytics’, how about an advanced degree in something that complements your current competencies and helps your long-term career.

Now… are you convinced enough to get off your ‘comfort zone’?

Sunstone Business School provides a one year part-time online PGPM program for mid-career Technology professionals, helping them transition to entrepreneurial & business roles.

Visit below link to know more about Sunstone’s PGPM program.