This poor freshwater goldfish is about to leap into the sea and although the water might look similar to his current environment, it will be fatal for him.
I was privileged to speak at the inaugural South Wales DisruptHR event last night, beautifully organised by Insight. Preparing for the presentation caused me to make a serious pause and consider how taking a new perspective can challenge our thinking.
This is how it goes….
We are constantly told to ‘push the envelope’, ‘step outside our comfort zone’, ‘define stretch objectives’. We exist in working and living environments that are constantly challenging us to do more, work smarter, be more productive, change, take on new responsibilities, grow and develop on a personal as well as professional level. This can be exhausting and it can be stressful.
Let me rewind for a moment and put this to you: the commonest requests for help through my coaching conversations revolve around confidence and self-belief.
You can NOT hand out confidence and self-belief to people, but you CAN take it away.
I could talk or write for ages on why this is so and draw on examples from sport as well as from organisations and work. Perhaps more helpfully, here I will offer some ideas that’ll help you to make a start in understanding how you can develop confidence and self-belief. (And let’s be honest, if we have those two amazing attributes, then the world is our oyster isn’t it?)
So, why stay in your comfort zone?
First – it is safe. You know what you are doing, you can run on auto-pilot and life is relatively predictable.
Second – if you can run on auto, this will give you space and time to think and reflect on what is good, what you enjoy, what you are good at, and to see what opportunities are available.
Third – you can be the expert. You can do what you do well and continue to be good at it. The trick here is to use the space you have created from familiarity and ease to recognise that you are good at certain things.
Fourth – ask yourself how you came to be expert. Did you plan this from the outset? Did you take opportunities that arose? How far have you come? Did you expect to be at this point now?
Fifth – which are the things that make you happiest? What are the things that bring you joy?
Sixth – is this YOUR choice? If not, then whose is it and why? What more do YOU want?
If you can answer all those questions and truly reflect on all the things you do well, then you might start to look at opportunities that aren’t available to you yet. You have confidence in what you are already doing and if you decide to move onto new plans then you can take that with you and build on it at your own pace. (Just as you have done in the past to get to today).
So, don’t hurry out of your comfort zone – use it to embrace all that you are now. Enjoy and celebrate what you can do and how far you have already come. Then and only then, you (and only you) can decide on what you want to do next. You are prepared to take steps outside your comfort zone.