I’ve been thinking about comfort zones. Most of the discussion makes it seem like comfort zones are static. They’re not. We decide if our comfort zones:
- Grow ~ because we’re curious, eager to learn, expand our worldview and meet new people doing all sorts of different, interesting things;
- Shrink ~ because we’ve been burned, failed, or circumstances have made us more cautious and fearful;
- Maintain ~ because we feel we are just fine where we are.
When people say, ‘get out of your comfort zone’, are they telling us to make our comfort zone bigger? Hopefully, we get out of the zone, try something different and get a little, somewhat or very comfortable in that new area so it becomes part of our comfort zone – maybe at the edge of it, but now inside it. So if we want to keep getting outside our comfort zone, aren’t we growing it? Sure, maybe at times we got out of it and boy, we wanted to run back in, and we did. That’s ok. It happens. But overall, our comfort zones should keep expanding.
That said, one my students * wisely notes that sometimes, we need to be in our comfort zone to rejuvenate, refresh and refill ourselves. Getting outside our comfort zone should be for a reason, have a purpose and not become idolized. It’s not an either/or, but And… as long as we get out.
So, this week, what one little thing can you try to make your comfort zone bigger?
*Samanee Mahbub, one of my students, has turned her junior year into a Discovery Year - expanding her comfort zone beyond what many of us would dare to do. Please read her posts - there is such wisdom and insight for any person of any age!