Tips for Stepping Out of Your Career Comfort Zone

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We are not called creatures of habit for no reason and even the most daring person will often admit that they would rather know what challenges lie ahead than face the fear of the big bad unknown. However, most successful professionals have said that you must be able to take chances and allow the universe to take hold of some of your ideas and actions. If you have a white knuckled death grip on your life it will never have the opportunity to expand. We are afraid that our boss may not like our idea or that it may fail. We are afraid of being laughed at by our peers and not being taken seriously.

However, the truth of the matter is that management often respects and values employees that are willing to step outside their comfort zone to create, develop, or conceptualize new ideas and processes. A team member that simply comes in each day to clock in, shuffle some papers, then clock out is not truly contributing to the organization. The following are a few tips to begin your journey to assist you in stepping out of your career comfort zone.

Identify why you would like to step out of your comfort zone and what your exact goals are. What do you wish to accomplish here? Are you looking for a new position? A raise? A promotion? Whatever your goal may be, it must be clearly defined before you can do something about it.

Identify what your fears, challenges, and apprehensions are. Why do you feel this way? What is the worst thing that can result from a change in your behavior?

Develop a game plan. Once you have determined why you would like to step out of your comfort zone, you must develop solutions and ideas on how to move forward. Many people find it helpful to make lists, create a blog, or use a large white board to write down and strategize your plan. Plan to record your ideas and present them to your supervisor prior to implementation if this is something that you plan to do in your current position. Remember that everyone is resistant to change at some point, so do not be discouraged if your ideas are not met with enthusiasm the first time.

Implement your plan with the knowledge that you have decided to “go for it” and you will forge ahead no matter the consequence. Tell a few close family members and friends your plan and ask them to provide support and encouragement during this time.

You will possibly fail many times before you realize success just as Einstein and Edison did. You may be the one laughing…all the way to the bank.