Comfort Zones are the habits we have—neither good nor bad—that we need to be aware of, because they may be preventing us from playing our bigger games. Comfort Zones may be keeping us in the same old place, as they are just that—they are comfortable. And who wants to leave a place that is comfortable for what is unknown and more than likely uncomfortable?
A Comfort Zone can be a behavior or an action of some sort. For instance, how many of us watch too much TV, are on our smartphones way too much, work too many hours, fill our time up with busy work, or procrastinate? How many of us worry endlessly, are agreeable all the time, avoid confrontation, fear commitment to something, or avoid change? Pursuing comfort is just what we do as human beings. We don’t like change, and we like to be comfortable. A Comfort Zone is a very safe place to hang around in and to just be.
How many of us spend our time being safe doing what we’re good at and getting kudos without challenging ourselves? How many of us just get by doing the least we can do without doing what we know we are really capable of doing?
Several years ago, I sought the advice of a career counseling company. I had been a full-time employee in the business world, working in the technology arena. At that time, I was looking for another job with another company in the same field. It was suggested to me by my career counselor that I attend a workshop for entrepreneurship. I thought, “Why not?” The facilitator said something to me that I’ll never forget: “Don’t look for the same type of work that you’ve been doing just because you are good at it and you know how to do it. Open up your possibilities and your perspective, and take a look at what you may never have looked at before. Don’t let the ‘I don’t know how’ stop you from just looking.”
These were the words that had me examine my future through a different lens. I opened up to a different perspective and I got in touch with my Why. One of the things I loved most about all my leadership positions inside organizations was developing my teams, as individuals and as teams, focusing on results together, and integrating our whole selves into our work. Looking into wanting to support and encourage leaders to focus on their impact and building great teams helped me land on my current work as an executive and leadership coach in my own successful business for over fifteen years.
I did not worry about the “how” until I fully understood my “why.” Then the “how” wasn’t so overwhelming.
The thing about Comfort Zones is that they need to be examined frequently. Unexamined Comfort Zones—namely, those routines and habits that keep us in a “business as usual” mode—can run our lives.
We need to take a good look at our Comfort Zones to determine whether they are running us or we are running them. A Comfort Zone that no longer supports us or who we want to be fuels our inertia. If it is moving us toward apathy, decay, or chronic ambivalence, it is time to leave it and move on. Turn off the TV. Turn off the laptop. Pick up the phone. Ask for help. We need to leave our Comfort Zones for the sake of feeding our Hunger and living our Compelling Purpose.
One of my Comfort Zones is the need to know everything before I can make a decision and move forward. Sometimes this prevents me from taking a bold action because I won’t take that action unless I have all those ducks in a row. You can see how this Comfort Zone would—and let me assure you, it does—stop me from moving forward sooner, every time!
I’ve given you just a few representative examples of what a Comfort Zone can be. You need to be able to leave your specific Comfort Zones that are no longer serving you in order to move forward, because if you are comfortable with the game you are presently playing, it is not a Bigger Game. You already know how to play that game, and you’re ready to start something new.
If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone. ~ John Maxwell
Want to learn more about The Bigger Game? Grab your copy now of Gutsy Women Win. I take an in-depth look at The Bigger Game and provide you practical and easy to follow steps to pursue that vision you have for something BIGGER!