You need to get outside your comfort zone to learn

23 October 2019 by Rachel Whalley
Workplace Manager

There aren’t many of us who enjoy being out of our comfort zone - and for each of us this means different things. It could be speaking in public, making small talk at a networking event or speaking up in a meeting. These types of situations often present us with great opportunities to propel our careers and the potential for advancement, but without the courage to step out of our comfort zone, they can feel impossible.

So how can you overcome this? Harvard Business Review shares its guide to conquering this and taking the next step in your career.

1. Be honest with yourself

What was the real reason you turned down that previous opportunity? Think about the things you tell yourself, make a list and think about if any of them are legitimate. It’s totally fine to be scared of going on stage, or of conflict at work, but recognizing the barriers are integral to overcoming them, 

2. Own that behaviour

There are often little ways you can own these fears and behaviours, for example, you may hate making small talk at a large scale networking event so try going to a more intimate one where there are fewer people to meet, in a low key setting. More often than not there are little things we can change about a situation that can make it much more bearable! Start small and own those behaviors, as soon as you start to feel at ease in those you have expanded your comfort zone, so it’ll be time to push out again! 

3. Take the plunge

The only way to step out of your comfort zone is to do it. Put processes in place to help you do this, seek advice from colleagues, mentors, and friends - you’ll be surprised by how many of them have been through similar situations and overcome the same hurdles. 

It’s never going to go perfectly, you will stumble at times and probably fail at points - but that is how you learn. So give it a go - be honest with yourself, own that behavior and take the plunge. You’ll be surprised at how much it can help you fulfill your career goals!

Sources: HBR - If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything