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Is Staying In Your Comfort Zone Really Bad For You?

Posted By: Comment: 6 Comments

“The desire not to be anything is the desire not to be” – Ayn Rand

As an entrepreneur are you happy stepping outside your comfort zone?

That’s what entrepreneurs do, isn’t it?

They have a burning desire to achieve and nothing is going to stop them from succeeding. They are prepared to take risks and to live with the uncomfortable feeling of uncertainty as they try to forge something new.

And doing something new doesn’t guarantee success, it never does. But it is only by taking a risk and trying something new that you can hope to accomplish more than what you have done before.

Looking back and forward

If you cast your mind back 10 years, did you ever think you would be in the position you are in today?

In my case, a decade ago I was working for a large actuarial company and I assumed at the time that I would probably work there until I retired.

Can you believe it?!

I would never have thought I would be where I am today. For me, working for myself is so much more exciting and satisfying than working for someone else, even though my former employer was a good company, offering good benefits and security. I needed the challenge and I love the opportunity of setting and pursuing my own goals.

If you now fast forward 10 years from today, what does the entrepreneurial life hold for you?

  1. What will you be doing?
  2. Who will you be working with?
  3. Who will you have become in the process?

The unknown can sometimes be as exciting as it can be terrifying.

What if…

Ahhh here is the crucial question, what if?

What if you never step outside your comfort zone? Would you or I be living better lives if we’d remained as corporate employees, playing it safe and never following our dreams?

What if you are too scared to dip your toe in the sea of the unknown?

Or worse, you are unaware that you are scared and so you keep doing the same things and not getting the results you want.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time that you proactively sought a new challenge – something that made you feel uneasy?
  2. When was the last time you spoke your mind knowing that you may ruffle some feathers or subject yourself to criticism?
  3. When was the last time you tried a new approach to an existing problem?

If the last time you did any of the above was longer than six months ago then you are staying inside your comfort zone.

But wait, is your comfort zone bad for you?

Actually, this is all about balance.

Staying in your comfort zone all the time isn’t going to help you realise the growth you need to achieve your business and life goals.

But staying outside your comfort zone all the time can be really draining.

There are benefits to being in your comfort zone for a period of time.

It helps you to think and reflect, dream and grow new ideas as well as recuperate from being outside your comfort zone in what is called the courage zone.

The courage zone is where you need to spend a large proportion of your time. It is where growth is initiated BUT then real growth occurs in the comfort zone as you get to grips with what’s changed.

Getting the right balance

Throughout our entrepreneurial lives we must repeatedly evaluate whether or not we are letting fear win and letting it stop us from taking the actions we need to take to move forward.

We need to find the right balance by expanding our comfort zone sometimes and learning to live with feeling uncomfortable in order to maintain progress and positive growth as people and entrepreneurs.

I would like to hear your thoughts on your ‘comfort zone’ so please pop your comments in the box below.

And if this blog post has inspired you, please share the inspiration with your business colleagues and friends on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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  • Mel

    A great blog that really shows how you need to find balance across so many aspects of life. Being an entrepreneur is right out there outside a comfort zone for so much of the time and like you say, can be draining at times, but it’s also exciting, a huge opportunity for growth and development and a chance to really make a difference. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Love it! I could never go back to my old life of living in my comfort zone. Even those scary moments seem tinged with excitement so long as I remember to breath! Thanks for a great post Carole!

  • I love the concept of the courage zone. I feel I’ve been in it for the last couple of weeks. Having dealt with the challenge that got me there, I’ve now retreated back to my comfort zone to chill and reflect. But only for tonight. Tomorrow’s another day and I want to succeed.

    • Carole Bozkurt

      Hi Claudia – thank you so much for commenting – you are always stepping outside your comfort zone and into your courage zone – you are amazing Claudia.

  • It’s definitely helped me to understand that the entrepreneurial journey involves constantly putting you in your courage zone (love this idea), which has it’s ups and downs but generally the anticipation is worse than the actual event… which is usually lots of fun! Love having my own business. Fab article, thanks Carole. x

    • Carole Bozkurt

      I too love having my own business Sara. The courage zone is amazing its where we get to do great stuff that really sets your soul on fire but sometimes its feels scary…well a lot of times it feels scary but this is how we grow.