Comfort zones are tricky.
Sometimes, staying in your comfort zone prevents you from taking unnecessary risks that may harm your happiness and future. Other times, a comfort zone is just a cleverly-disguised cage, holding you back from achieving your true potential.
More often than not, comfort zones are detrimental to ambitious employees. When you’re “comfortable” in a position, you stop striving for greatness. That means that you stay in the same place rather than moving forward. Although staying still can seem like a good thing at first, it often means that you begin to stagnate and lose your passion for your career.
Today, we’re going to look at how you can reassess your career plan and determine the right times to remain within your comfort zone, and the times you’ll need to escape.
5 Reasons to Leave Your Comfort Zone
Comfort zones feel relaxing and reassuring – until you realise that they’re keeping you and your career in an unnecessary rut. There’s a common idea among successful financial leaders and entrepreneurs that you’re either moving forward, or you’re letting your ambitions die.
Here are a few signs that you need to step outside of your comfort zone.
1. You’re Not Reaching Your Goals
Everyone wants to feel comfortable in their jobs.
You spend a large portion of your life at work, so it’s crucial to feel satisfied with what you do. That’s why employees are investing so much time into company culture to attract today’s financial talent.
However, when you’re too comfortable in your position, you can begin to be swallowed by it. Eventually, you realise that you’re not making any progress towards your long-term goals, you’re just standing in place.
As long as you’re sitting in your comfort zone, you’re not moving forward. If you stay in the same place for too long, you may miss out on opportunities to explore new roles and challenges that improve your quality of life. For instance, you might be happy as an accountant now, but ecstatic about going to work each day as a financial controller one day in the future.
2. You’re Not Experimenting
The only way to discover your potential in any career is to experiment. You aren’t born knowing what you’re good at and what you have a passion for. You find out more about yourself when you take on new challenges and explore unique opportunities.
Trying new things in the workplace improves your chances of thriving in your career. You’ll learn more about what you like and dislike about your role so that you can pursue positions that suit you better in the future.
The easiest way to change up your work life and step out of your comfort zone is to ask for new responsibilities. Take advantage of chances to work on challenging projects with your team members. Even if you discover that you don’t like the work, you’ll still be investing some time into networking – which can be crucial for your future.
Plus, you show that you have an experimental side with new experiences to place on your CV. This improves your chances of earning employer attention later.
3. You’re Afraid of Change and Failure
Fear isn’t always a bad thing. Sometimes, it can keep us safe from dangerous experiences. However, fear of change in the modern workplace is often detrimental. Now that the financial industry is moving faster than ever, new changes are happening all the time. If you’re unable to evolve with the times, then you may find that your career opportunities dwindle to nothing.
Often, a fear of change in the professional world comes from the desire to avoid failure. We assume that if we stick to the things we know, we’ll be less likely to make mistakes.
However, the best employees know that they need to take risks from time to time. Challenging yourself to take on new projects and try different things will impress your peers in the financial industry – even if you don’t always succeed in your goals. What’s more, every failure is a chance to learn and grow in your field.
4. You’re Not Developing New Skills
20 years of employment in a financial controller position is excellent – but not if you haven’t gained anything from it. On a successful person’s CV, you’ll see endless accomplishments experiences that came from each of the roles they took on – no matter how long they stayed with a company. A career isn’t just a chance to earn money; it’s a way to develop your knowledge and talents as a person.
While working on the same projects all the time might make you feel comfortable; it doesn’t put your abilities to the test. On the other hand, stepping outside of your comfort zone to explore something new will give you an opportunity to develop new expertise.
Experimentation in life helps you to grow as both a person and a professional.
5. You’re Starting to Settle
Finally, if you stay in your comfort zone for long enough, then you might be conditioning yourself to settle. Even if you’re no longer happy in your role, you’ll tell yourself that it’s better to stay where you are than try something new.
This prevents you from pursuing a life where you’re delighted by your career. You may even reject opportunities to grow and explore new things because you’re afraid of the uncertainty the future holds.
The most successful people know that sometimes, to accomplish great things, you need to be willing to embrace change.
When to Stay in Your Comfort Zone
As mentioned above, comfort zones can be dangerous, but they’re also helpful at times too.
You need focus and energy to grow and develop successfully. If you’re continually stretching yourself into every available direction, then you might end up feeling overwhelmed. Burning yourself out at work isn’t the best way to reach the top when it comes to your career. You need to find the right balance between comfort, and risk.
Achieving excellent things in your future doesn’t have to mean destroying your comfort zone. Sometimes, it’s just about knowing when to dip your toes in and test the waters. Consider your personal threshold for fear and change and build a strategy around it.
For instance, when working on your development plan, pick a few “stretch” goals to take you outside of your comfort zone, and balance them with tasks you feel content about. If you’re not sure where you should be stretching yourself, it may be time to speak to a mentor, or a specialist recruitment consultant, like Rebus.