On Tuesday night, my daughter stepped out of her comfort zone to represent her school in a public speaking competition. She was nervous, anxious and I’m very proud of her.
She didn’t win but I reckon she was top 5. Biased, moi? Well I am her mother.
Last year I was looking for a challenge … something physical. I entered the Marathon Hike on the South Downs. I didn’t apply immediately because it sounded pretty daunting. I was scared and nervous. The moment just before I clicked ‘Submit’ – that’s what Farrah Storr describes as a BMD – ‘brief moment of discomfort’.
I’m so glad I finally plucked up the courage to enter. I loved the training (even in the pouring rain and those stifling hot days in May last year). I felt an incredible sense of pride and achievement on the day I walked 18 miles non-stop. I’d never done that before.
This year, I want to try again (I didn’t start the Marathon Hike last year because it was only 3 days after my breast cancer surgery). I already had the confidence that I could do the training and complete the hike on the day, so I entered without a second thought. In fact I was waiting for the dates to be announced. My comfort zone had expanded.
Not only is stepping out of your comfort zone really good for your hiking confidence, it can really boost your career. And here’s why.
1 – You learn things about yourself
When you step up and try something you’ve never done before, you learn things about yourself. How else are you going to find out about those skills and talents you’ve never used before?
2 – You get a sense of achievement
There’s nothing like the post adrenaline buzz to feel amazing that YOU DID IT. That is such a good feeling. It’s a real confidence boost to know that you achieved something scary.
3 – It gets easier every time …
A bit like learning to ride the bike, the more often you step up out of your comfort zone, the less scary and the easier it becomes. When you expand your comfort zone in one area of your life, you expand it in all areas of your life. “If I can tackle that tricky rocky descent on the mountain bike, I can most definitely handle that difficult client”.
4 – It’s exciting
Sure you’ll get that “oh my goodness, why did I say I’d do it” moment but when you do step through the discomfort, it’s exciting. It raises your stress levels which can boost your productivity. By the way, for most of us ‘fear’ and ‘excitement’ physically feel the same. Feeling nervous? Tell yourself “I‘m so excited”. You’ll get through it.
5 – It boosts your creativity
Step out of your comfort zone and it opens your ideas to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It gives you a new perspective.
6 – It gets you noticed
Now you might think “I don’t want to get noticed” however if you want more progress and success in your career, then you need to get noticed. Being noticed for stepping out of your comfort zone can elevate you from being ‘just another co-worker’ to somebody with true leadership potential.
7 – It gives you confidence
Knowing that you have felt the fear and done it anyway boosts your confidence. This is confidence that you can’t buy. Confidence is attractive and will boost your career prospects.
When did you last step outside your comfort zone? What did you gain from it? How did you feel once you’d done it? I’d love to hear from you.