When I was a kid, my parents would occasionally try to push me out of my comfort zone. I didn’t like it much. Take the summer swim team. I loved to swim and be in the water. My mother signed me up for the team when I was seven, thinking it would be something I liked. I refused to go. She signed me up again when I was eight. Guess what? I refused to go.
Do you know how I finally got on the team? The coach happened to see me practicing for my deep end test one afternoon. He needed another eight-year-old girl for the team. He asked my mother if she would sign me up. She laughed. She told him, “You have to talk to her. She’s refused me several times already.” And yes, he convinced me to join the team.
Somewhere in my late 20s, things changed for me. I started to see life as more of an adventure. I started to take more risks, be more adventurous.
Not surprisingly, travel was what really started to break things open for me. I had the opportunity to go to Munich, Germany with my husband. However, he had to work during the day. I decided to go sightseeing anyway. Each morning, he dropped me off at the tourist bus depot on his way to the office. I picked a trip for the day and off I went. On my own. And guess what? I HAD FUN! I met interesting people, saw interesting things, and I found out that maybe getting out of my comfort zone was a good thing.
Of course, when I took up aerobatic flying a decade, a lot of people thought I had taken the adventure thing a bit too far. But, yes, I HAD FUN!
In my vocation as a Transcendent Leadership Coach, all I do every day is facilitate conversations with leaders to get them out of their comfort zone. There seems to be a preoccupation with trusting the known realm more than the unknown realm, and yet all the magic and miracles lie in what you don’t know you don’t know. To evolve as a leader, one needs to learn to go to everything that you feel confronted by, resistant to, uncomfortable with . . . and this becomes your new normal. Transformation is one thing, but transcendence is another! Oh goody, what new thing can I do, read, learn, say today?
Complacency is one of the deadliest things that can happen to a leader – or really to anyone – because the minute you stop growing, the rest of the world is going to pass you by, including the people that you are leading. Growth is what’s going to get the results you desire.
These days, I challenge myself to get out of my comfort zone in some way every day . . . or almost every day. At times, I feel like that eight-year-old. I want to dig in my heels and say no. But then I remember the aerobatic pilot in me and change it to “Hell, yes! Let’s go!”
How do you get out of your comfort zone? How OFTEN do you get out of your comfort zone? Life – and leadership – are so much more fun and rewarding if you do.
If you’d like to get out of your comfort zone more often, let’s talk.