Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

  • 24

Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone

Working hard is very important. What you work hard on is even more important.

One thing we all need to realise is that we all work for ourselves, we do not work for anyone else. That includes YOU. You only work WITH others, this is also including your boss. Throughout my career, I have worked with few great bosses, some average bosses, and a lot more bad bosses.

As I grew in my career, I always felt the need to ask for more responsibility. A lot of my bosses were reluctant to give too much responsibility away because they were insecure, but I kept asking anyway. I wanted to be “out of my comfort zone” so I could test myself and work on developing myself. The only way I felt I could develop was by challenging myself as much as possible, in anything I did.

I tried to vary my roles as much as possible, so I could keep challenging myself and so I wouldn’t feel stagnant. I have this fear that if I don’t challenge myself as much as possible, both in the workplace and in my personal life, then I’m not learning anymore. I hate the feeling of being bored in life, so the best way is to get out of my comfort zone as much as I can. For example, when I worked in Scotland, I was there for three and half years and I must admit the job I was doing did get boring in the end because I wasn’t challenging myself enough. So since then, I have vowed to try not to let myself get bored and just drift around in life. I have vowed to challenge myself.

Change is discussed a lot in the workplace, and how important it is to embrace it. The reason I say that is because change makes everyone uncomfortable at first. So, it is very important that we work on being comfortable with being uncomfortable. When we do this, we are learning and getting better. This is what personal growth really is. By walking into the unknown we are challenging ourselves. When we challenge ourselves we improve.

When I worked in Liverpool for the railway, I was offered the project engineer role. It was a new position within the company and a few other people applied for it. I didn’t have many years’ of railway experience, but I did have nine years of engineering experience. I had also done a lot of good work since I had the meeting with my mentor and made the necessary improvements. I was offered the job and this made a few of the people unhappy. The reason they were unhappy was, some of them who applied had been at the company for a lot longer than I had.

I had worked in the automotive industry as an engineer, the heating industry as an engineer and joined the rail industry about three years earlier. So, I had experience of other industries which I believed to be an asset, as I could look at things from a different perspective. But, a lot of people in the engineering industry seem to get angry and upset when a person with fewer years’ experience is offered the job that they wanted. 

Some of the other candidates had more than fifteen years’ experience working at the same company, and doing the same job. They hadn’t applied for anything before because they were comfortable in the job they had. In other words they were “inside their comfort zone”. So, thinking about it, they really only had six months to a year experience. But they were repeating the same job many times for fifteen years. So, who had the most experience really?

Apart from me, nobody had any experience of project engineering. I got that experience through my graduate training and some of the projects that I was already working on. The other candidates had worked on the shop floor as part of the maintenance teams, and it was very rare that they would be asked to lead any projects. Maybe this was something for the managers to think about. Or, maybe the guys who applied for the role should have asked for more responsibility. They should have been recommending new ideas, solutions, and projects. If they did that then they could have led these ideas, turned them into projects, and gained the experience required.

I like to challenge myself and move “out of my comfort zone”. That is exactly what I was doing by applying for and being offered the project engineer role. I received training on how to use project planning tools that I had never used, and other essential courses that the job required. Most of all, I built relationships with other people within the organisation that helped me to increase my influence further.

This website is entitled “Highly Effective Leader.” Most of what we will discuss is directed to your life as a team member, and a leader of teams in the workplace. However, the principles I am sharing can be practiced in any part of your life. Whether that’s at home, with your friends or in any social activities that you are part of.

You can “get out of your comfort zone” anywhere, not just at work. So, with that in mind, where else can you challenge yourself? How are you going to challenge yourself? When are you going to challenge yourself? What will you do to challenge yourself? How are you going to make yourself more valuable at home and at work?

I want you to challenge yourself at home, as much as you will at work. The reason for this is, this is how you will get ahead quicker, as opposed to others who only try to grow at work. It is probably something you haven’t thought about doing before.

 Challenging yourself and “getting out of your comfort zone” at home is just as important. A way to challenge myself both at home and at work was to start this website, and help others.

I mentioned earlier that a lot of my bosses were reluctant to give away too much responsibility because they were insecure. Well, challenging yourself is how you learn more about yourself. By you knowing yourself better, this will make you more secure and less insecure.

You can be the most accomplished person in the world, but the most insecure person too. Work on yourself, know yourself, and make yourself more secure

Personal growth doesn’t happen when you’re in a comfortable state. When you’re uncomfortable, that is when personal growth happens. To grow, we need to work on ourselves, push ourselves, and challenge ourselves. We cannot grow by accident or by waiting for things to happen. We need to make things happen for ourselves. That is the only way YOU will grow.

Does your company offer you opportunities to grow (e.g. courses, mentoring, or change)? If they do, are you taking them up on their offers? If you are then keep taking them. If you are not, then you are losing out and not growing, which is the worst thing you can do. If you are still waiting for your company to offer you these opportunities, then you are missing out too. You need to find these opportunities for yourself. Create the opportunities to change by recommending new projects or processes, as we discussed earlier.

Challenge yourself every day.

Always remember, trust is the foundation of leadership. Does your boss and other bosses within the organisation trust you? I ask this because a way to challenge yourself is to apply for higher roles. If the boss doesn’t trust you, then you won’t get the job. If they do trust you then there is a high possibility that will get the job. Building trust is not easy, and is a challenge. We will discuss building trust on many occasions throughout my future posts.

Do you know where you want to be in 5 years? If not, then you are already there.

When I first heard that statement, it really hit home. That was about 13 years ago, and I took personal growth extremely serious. I encourage you to really think about it too. Do your best to work out where you want to be in the next 5 years. When you know that, you can plan towards it, and work on yourself to strive towards that 5 year target.

Change and Challenge. Do you walk towards them with not knowing what will happen? Or, do you walk away from them and remain the same?

All the best,

Tom


24 Comments

EcoCatherine

January 27, 2020 at 3:02 pm

I completely agree with you about being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable. It reminds me of a story I was once told about every success story that has a sequence of failure stories but what enabled them to succeed was their own ability to pick themself up after a failure. Their drive to succeed.

    Tom

    January 27, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Hi Catherine,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Having the drive and the desire to succeed, and learning from your failures and moving on is the only way to succeed.

    We just have to stay persistent, have patience and not give up.

    Hope this post has helped.

    Tom

Andrea Gatti

January 27, 2020 at 3:43 pm

Thanks for sharing your experience and being open.
What would you suggest to someone who is willing to grow but doesn’t have the opportunity? What would you recommend is the best way to approach a leader who is not willing to give space to you?
Thanks for your help.
I wish you the best.
Andy

    Tom

    January 27, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    Hi Andrea,

    Thank you for your comment, and great question.

    When it comes to opportunity, we cannot wait for opportunity to happen. We must go out and find opportunity, and the best way to do that is by creating opportunity for ourselves. Do not wait for someone else to provide you with it.

    The best way to approach an unwilling leader is to not approach him/her at all. If they are not providing you with any space to grow, then you need to figure out how to create space for yourself to grow. If you do not want to follow this leader, then don’t follow because you have to.

    All the best and if you need any further help then just ask.

    Tom

Luc Dermul

January 27, 2020 at 5:12 pm

Hi,

Thanks for sharing this very interesting article. I am active in the social sector and one of the pet peeves of my boss was ” It is easy to perform when you are in your comfort zone but are you willing to take the step outside of your comfort zone?” Well that question kept following me since then (in a good way) and when my boss went on retirement I surprised him by repeating his question and adding that I was going to step out of my comfort zone by singing a song for him ( I had some guidance on that part to not scare away the cats in the neighborhood :P) Well to keep it short : the feeling was great and since then i try to challenge myself regularly.

Kindest,

Luc

    Tom

    January 27, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    Hi Luc,

    What a great story. There are a lot of leaders out there who tell you to “get out of your comfort zone”, but they don’t really mean it. So, what happens is you just remain inside your comfort zone.

    The story of you singing a song to your boss is definitely one way of doing it.

    Keep challenging yourself, and be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

    All the best,

    Tom

Geri

January 29, 2020 at 9:38 pm

Great post! This can be an eye opener for many people. It’s all about taking the initiative to challenge and develop yourself in all possible ways. You are so right about not only doing this in your career but doing this in every day life. What I find hard to believe is how people constantly have so much to say about their jobs but still they do nothing about it. It’s really all about mindset and taking action.

    Tom

    January 30, 2020 at 9:17 am

    Hi Geri,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Really pleased you found this post valuable. Mindset and taking action is definitely what is all about when it comes to anything in life.

    If you know that you should do something that will help you or help others to improve, then you should do it, even if you can’t be bothered. It is the people who do the things they should when they don’t want to who pull through, and I know that is you.

    Keep up the great work and all the best,

    Tom

karli parker

February 9, 2020 at 4:58 pm

This was such an informative and motivational post! If it was not for stepping out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be doing what I am currently doing, which I found is actually my passion! I think back to other times in my life, and if I didn’t step out of my comfort zone, I wouldn’t be with my soul mate right now after 11 years being single! This is great advice and I am going to send this to my 23 year old daughter who is feeling a bit stuck lately. True change and growth comes from learning new things and in turn can make us truly happy. I wish I would’ve known this when I was younger, but better late than never. Awesome article!

    Tom

    February 9, 2020 at 6:02 pm

    Hey Karli,

    Thanks for your comment. I’m so pleased you found the article valuable.

    Thank you for sharing a bit about yourself too. Well done on stepping out of your comfort zone in following your passion, and meeting your soul mate.

    I hope your daughter can find some good advice too, and I hope she starts to get unstuck.

    Thanks again and all the best,

    Tom

Sebastian

February 9, 2020 at 5:05 pm

Hi Tom,
I enjoy reading your post!
I agree with you that in order to grow in life (I mean progress), we need to get out of our comfort zone. We become uncomfortable with any change, but change is always an opportunity to learn new things, it is an opportunity for us to discover our weaknesses and strengths, to increase our self-confidence and to grow. That’s how I see this life.
Accepting the challenge is accepting to grow, is accepting to develop!
Thank you for this informative and helpful post!

    Tom

    February 9, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    Hi Sebastian,

    Thank you for your comment.

    You have a great outlook on life, a lot similar to how I see things too.

    We do need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. That is definitely how we grow.

    Keep growing and progressing my friend, all the best to you.

    Tom

Adam

February 9, 2020 at 5:34 pm

Hi Tom! I couldn’t agree more with this message. Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is the only way to grow and develop in life I think! Otherwise you’ll just be stuck. I have a question for you tho, you write:

“You can be the most accomplished person in the world, but the most insecure person too. Work on yourself, know yourself, and make yourself more secure.”

Do you think that, if you keep pushing the boundaries, will you get more secure over time, or always stay insecure because you’re always pushing yourself into uncomfortable territory?

Thank you

    Tom

    February 9, 2020 at 6:10 pm

    Hi Adam,

    Thanks for your comment and question.

    You will get more secure, the more you know yourself. There are lots of different ways to work on yourself, and each one requires focus. The uncomfortable territory will not make you more secure or insecure, it will enable you to grow in the area that you are working on.

    If you want to become a more secure person, then you need to work on your insecurities. You need to figure out why you’re insecure in the first place, then work from there to overcome whatever it is that is making you insecure.

    Hope this helps.

    All the best,

    Tom

Aurelia

February 9, 2020 at 7:03 pm

I really love this post. I have been struggling for a long time trying to work on myself and make myself a better person all around. There have been so many times where I just felt stuck and that I wasn’t going anywhere. I have been working really hard to get myself to better places and I agree 100% with this article. If you want to get ahead and do something with your life you have to get out there an try new things. Being in new situations is uncomfortable but the benefits far out weigh anything else. It is great to read an informative and inspiring article like this. I look forward to more, thank you!

    Tom

    February 10, 2020 at 3:48 pm

    Hi Aurelia,

    Thank you for your comment. I’m so pleased that you found it valuable and inspiring.

    Thank you for being open and honest about when you felt stuck, and it’s great that you are working hard on yourself. That is what it’s all about.

    Being comfortable with being uncomfortable is not easy at all, but if we want to grow and improve then it is something we must come to terms with.

    Please do revisit my site anytime, I have new articles up every week.

    All the best,

    Tom

Laori Abraham

February 9, 2020 at 7:19 pm

You sound so awesome and wonderful, your message really help the mind and help to focus on how to grow, you’re wonderful with the great taught, I truly appreciate your motivation zeal advise, your post will help a lot of mind for right direction and to discover the real freedom to mind, Thanks and best regards.

    Tom

    February 10, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Hi Laori,

    Thank you for your amazing comment, and kind words. I really appreciate it.

    I’m so pleased you found the article valuable, and helping others with my message is what I have set out to do.

    Thanks again, and all the best.

    Tom

Tara

February 10, 2020 at 3:10 am

I am in a management position at my job and even though I am I strive all the time to learn more and become better. I think personal development never end and is important. It also helps me to stay focused with trying to help grow the people who I lead.

Loved this post and agree so much. Thank you.

    Tom

    February 10, 2020 at 3:56 pm

    Hi Tara,

    Thank you for your comment, and I’m really happy that you found the article valuable.

    It’s great that you are continuously working on yourself and learning new things every day. Especially in your leadership.

    Keep me updated on how your learning is going, and if I can help at all then please get in touch.

    All the best,

    Tom

Maggie

February 10, 2020 at 5:36 am

Hi Tom

What a lovely and motivational article. I totally I agree with you about stepping outside the comfort zone even though it feels uncomfortable. You remind me of a toddler when they first learn how to walk. If a toddler can step outside their comfort zone so can we. Who told them to do so? I guess it’s a natural instinct which we tend to lose when we grow older and find ourselves stuck in the comfort zones. Animals too they don’t stay forever in one place they keep migrating to a better place with more greener pastures. Such is part of life. We are constantly progressing forward or else we’ll stifle our energies and feel stuck and frustrated and that’s the root for the unhappiness and all other negative emotions we usually experience. Thank you so much for sharing this article. Keep them coming.

Maggie

    Tom

    February 10, 2020 at 4:03 pm

    Hi Maggie,

    Thank you for your comment. Really pleased you found the article valuable.

    You are so right with your references to toddlers and animals. They do things and discover new uncomfortable situations on their own, but they learn how to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to continue to do the same when we are in uncomfortable situations. If we can get comfortable with being uncomfortable then we are growing. If we can’t get comfortable then we will give up and remain where we currently are.

    I will definitely keep the articles coming. Please revisit for more, and if you need any assistance then please just get in touch.

    All the best,

    Tom

Bob Hernandez

February 10, 2020 at 4:07 pm

OMG…Tom this really hits home. Challenging myself has become a focus of mine. My only regrets is that I didn’t come to this sooner. Living on purpose…focusing on the things that I want to change in both personal & professional life. For too long I was too exhausted from just getting by in life, feeling overwhelmed…thinking that I just didn’t have the time, resources, skills, favor to go higher…thinking that I would only fail or embarrass myself. When in fact it’s the people that challenge themselves that experience growth…and it’s OK to fail..actually I encourage it now because I don’t know the boundaries of my capabilities until I fail…then challenge myself to grow…Good read…thanks for posting this!

    Tom

    February 10, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Hey Bob,

    Thank you for your comment, and your kind words.

    I’m so happy that you found the article valuable, and I am even happier that you have found the motivation to start challenging yourself, and getting out of your comfort zone. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is so great for our personal growth, and I promise you the more you get out of your comfort zone, the more you will grow.

    Keep pushing yourself and getting uncomfortable.

    All the best,

    Tom

Leave a Reply