Transform your career trajectory and create an upward spiral for success by becoming strategic and intentional about seeking and seizing opportunities for accelerated growth. Your growth will consistently and predictably create higher levels of value for your organization. 

6 Tools to Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

  1. Take a chance on yourself.
  2. Learn to disarm negative feedback.
  3. Learn from setbacks.
  4. Ask for help when you need it.
  5. Own the narrative of your experience.
  6. Celebrate or redefine success.

If you approach every interaction as an opportunity to create value and an opportunity to learn, you will grow every day. And one of the fastest ways to accelerate growth is by stepping outside your comfort zone. While it can be scary, it’s scarier to never step outside your comfort zone and never know what you are really capable of.

During my career, I experienced transformational growth in roles that completely pushed me outside my comfort zone, roles that included the one that led me to become an IBM executive. I was moved into a fast-growing line of business to increase my chances of being promoted. 

It took me a long time to learn the business until I could start creating meaningful value. While I made plenty of mistakes, I also learned how to reframe failure, which led to success and a big boost in my confidence. Had I not pushed outside my comfort zone, I would never have known I could succeed in a business I knew nothing about.

I stepped out of my comfort zone and so can you. Here are six tools for doing just that. 

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Take a Chance on Yourself

The world takes you at your own estimate. When you take a chance on yourself by stepping outside your comfort zone, your leaders will also take a chance on you when a role requires skills you don’t currently possess. By taking a chance on yourself, you also demonstrate self trust and demonstrate ambition to succeed, both of which set you up for future success.

As you climb the leadership ladder, you will compete for roles that require you to step outside your comfort zone in terms of the skills needed and the pace of change in the workplace. The sooner you start taking a chance on yourself,  the more runway you will have to keep rising higher.

 

Learn to Deal With Negative Stimuli

Fear of failure is normal outside your comfort zone. Expect it. Remember, fear is a voice in your head just as courage is. And you have power over these voices in your head. You can decide which voice to feed and amplify.

I have coined a term, Power Quotient (PQ) which is your innate ability to scan your mental chatter and intentionally pick an empowering response to disempowering stimuli. 

Whenever you have an internal disempowering stimulus, such as fear of failure, or an external disempowering stimulus, such as someone else undermining your capabilities, don’t react. Take a deep breath, scan your mental chatter and intentionally pick an empowering response. This gets easier with time over time.

Once you learn how to respond to internal stimuli, the external stimuli will not stand a chance to take your power away. By exercising your PQ and picking an empowering response, you will always own your power, no matter what.

 

Learn From Setbacks

You will often experience setbacks when you step outside your comfort zone. Expect them. Your career is a long game and small setbacks do not define your career. Setbacks do not make you a failure. 

In fact, I believe it’s necessary to experience setbacks so you know that you are stretching yourself and realize that you can bounce back. Setbacks build resilience and resilience is a pathway to growth.

Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. If you consider yourself a failure, you won’t be energized to pursue more growth. You haven’t failed until you decide you have or you give up. The most important thing is what you’ve learned and how much you’ve grown so you can be better prepared for future success. 

 

Ask for Help

Asking for help when you are outside your comfort zone is a sign of strength, not weakness. All successful people have been in your shoes before, so they’ll relate to your struggles and be willing to help. 

A bonus of this is that as the people who help you watch you struggle and grow, you’ll earn their admiration and respect. They might become your future sponsors and transform your career trajectory.

 

Own the Narrative of Your Experience

Every time you wonder if you made the right decision to step outside your comfort zone, think back to other uncomfortable experiences you’ve navigated in your life or career. Then change your narrative to this: “If I could navigate that, I can and will learn and grow from this.” 

Create a narrative of growth that will keep you moving forward stronger. Think of every challenge as an opportunity for growth and you will never become overwhelmed by any challenge. The situation is what it is. You give it meaning by the narrative you create about the situation.

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Celebrate or Redefine Success

When you step outside your comfort zone and achieve your desired outcome, congratulate and celebrate yourself. If you don’t achieve your desired outcome, despite giving it your best shot, redefine success as the growth you experienced.

Seek progress, not perfection. Reflect upon the growth this experience provided which will set you up for accelerated future success.

If you don’t achieve your desired outcome, despite giving it your best shot, redefine success as the growth you experienced.

Stepping outside your comfort zone to accelerate your growth will determine your career trajectory and is necessary for you to realize your maximum potential. Start small if you want. It does not matter where you start as long as you keep increasing your competence and your confidence

Keep your eye on your long-term growth and success. The individual experiences won’t matter overtime, but who you become as a result of those experiences will remain with you forever. 

The more you grow, the higher the value you create for everyone you interact with and for your organization. New possibilities will open up, which will accelerate your growth and create an upward spiral for your success.

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