We all have our pre-defined “comfort zones” as human beings. Depending on a host of factors, including genetics, experiences and education, there are some things we can easily do, while others come with more difficulty. For example, a phobia about heights (acrophobia) might make it tricky for someone to be a successful mountain climber. While I would love to scuba dive one day, my fear of sharks will more than likely preclude this from happening. Yes, I know I am more likely to die from bee stings or lightning than a shark attack, but those infamous notes in the Jaws soundtrack will always make me wary.
That being said, it is often not only a good but a necessary thing to expand our horizons and break out of our comfort zones, if we are to grow, personally and professionally. In our business lives, change is inevitable and adaptation is required in order to survive. Those of us uncomfortable with emails some twenty years ago must now face the reality (and convenience) of that technology in everyday life.
It is vital to challenge ourselves in some new way on a regular basis. The self-examination it takes to figure out what we need to learn, achieve or accomplish in this growth goal is not always easy. It requires a hard and honest look at where we fall short and what we could do better. Education is key. Do all you can to learn about the things you need to improve on. This might mean reading a book, taking a college course or making new friends and mentors that can help you along the way. Remember, a blade that is used often (like the human mind) needs regular sharpening to keep its edge.
We all want to achieve more, at home and at work. Often, the formula for expanding our success in both areas is the same. The question becomes, how hard are we willing to work to make this happen? Life is full of giants and the best way to face them down is by shedding our comfort zones and taking them on directly.
I may even try scuba diving, one day. In a pool.