What is a comfort zone?
A psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they are at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress.
At work, it might be the position you've been in long enough to know and anticipate every aspect of your job, the people, the everyday challenges and how to solve them. Unfortunately, staying in your comfort zone can make you miss out on new challenges and the ability to grow.
Below are some tips to help you break free from your comfort zone at work.
One of the quickest ways to change your work life is to take on a new responsibility. The goal is not to pack more work into your already busy schedule, but to allow a new challenge to break your routine just enough that you're stretched to think and act differently than before. When you participate in a new company initiative, take on a new team project, or offer to train your co-workers on a new process, you're not helping just the company and your colleagues, but also yourself. Few companies have a shortage of work to go around, so it's likely that if you raise your hand to take on a new project or deliverable, it'll be yours. Not only will an additional set of responsibilities challenge you to find new ways to be productive, but it will also provide new opportunities to work with different people, processes, or technology.
Sometimes people remain in their comfort zone because it prevents them from having to engage in activities they find scary or intimidating. If you've shied away from new job opportunities or role changes because you have a certain set of fears, such as public speaking perhaps now is the time to face those fears. If you feel uncomfortable speaking in front of a room full of people, it may be helpful to take a public speaking course. Once you've taken the first steps to address your fears, it will be much easier to overcome them.
In this digital era, technology affects just about every aspect of work life. Video, chat, and collaboration platforms continue evolving and changing how people work. You can get out of your comfort zone by learning new technology that upgrades your skills, makes you more productive and helps you communicate with your co-workers in new ways. No matter your role, there are likely many technological tools that can help you do your job differently and more efficiently.
It's not easy to leap into areas that are new and unfamiliar. However, having experiences that challenge your mindset and approach to your work will have a positive impact on your performance and ability to step up during times of change and uncertainty. Whether you make changes in your current role or revamp your career with a new job, you can still get out of your comfort zone and revitalize your career.
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