So, are you ready to face down your fear and take a leap into the unknown? Here’s how to wrap your head around it and find your career magic, in 4 simple steps.
Scientifically speaking, your comfort zone is induced by any type of behaviour that keeps your anxiety levels low. Therefore, any activity or decision that raises your anxiety levels is said to be ‘outside of your comfort zone’.
Here’s why it’s crucial that you venture out there – especially when it comes to your career: the experience of slightly increased anxiety levels actually motivates us to accomplish more work and better our performance. As Walmart’s Senior Director Dave van Rooy explains, “it is possible to be successful maintaining the status quo – but true differentiation is achievable only for those who are willing to dive into new areas.”
So, are you ready to face down your fear and take a leap into the unknown? Here’s how to wrap your head around it, in 4 simple steps.
1. TAKE A LEAP INTO THE UNKNOWN… WITH AN ACTION PLAN IN PLACE.
In GoDaddy founder, Bob Parson’s book, 16 Rules for Success, his number one rule is: “Get out and stay out of your comfort zone.” But before you go leaping into the great unknown, clothed in boldness and a newfound sense of adventure, take a step back, breathe, and come up with a strategy.
You’re about to embrace change in a big way, and diving head first without knowing what you want to achieve, or what success looks like to you, may cause you to get swept straight back to the safety of the shore. Having a strategy will allow you take control of the situation rather than being overwhelmed by it.
2. WHEN YOU TAKE A RISK, STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE – NOT PERFECTION.
In business and in life, not all risks are created equal. Learn to take intelligent risks – and own whichever consequences they bring your way – by re-framing a perceived ‘risk’ as an ‘opportunity’ to learn and grow.
When you choose to strive for excellence rather than perfection, you release yourself from the unnecessary pressure that has probably prevented you from taking risks and grabbing opportunities in the past. Yes, there is a chance of failure – but if you embrace it, and learn from it, you will move one step closer to success, and one step closer to excellence.
3. SEEK OUT YOUR IDEAL CAREER MENTOR.
As is the case with anything new and daunting, you’ll probably feel much better about stepping out of that comfort zone if you have a source of support, motivation and encouragement on your side.
Whether it be a career mentor, a colleague, a family member or a friend, it’s important to have someone in your life that’ll urge you to persevere when the going gets tough (which it definitely will, if you’re truly playing outside of your comfort zone).
A mentor can identify ineffective behaviour within your new situation and can help to point out better ways of taking control of the situation. You’re going to need constructive and honest feedback as well as someone who is compassionate, so choose your mentor wisely. Got one in mind? Here’s some advice on how to identify the right career mentor for you, and how to establish that enduring, beneficial relationship.
4. FINALLY? USE YOUR COMFORT ZONE AS A RESOURCE.
Take the time to reflect on what held you back in your ‘safe space’ and try to remember why you stepped out of it in the first place. This exercise will help you refresh your motivation and give you insight into which direction to aim for next. It will help you assess your success in achieving what you set out to do when you first took that leap beyond your comfort zone and into the space where the career magic happens.