Who wants to feel anxious when they don’t have to? Many at times we find ourselves in situations where we need to get out of our comfort zones in order to make advancements in our careers. However, the pressure on our shoulders to actually go that extra mile is overwhelming, and we just end up giving up on our targets. For instance, you want to speak in public and further your reputation at work, but you are afraid of saying the wrong things, so you just sit back and watch others advance. These situations are so common in the workplace that we as professionals need to stop building our lives around avoiding them. There are steps that you can take to deal with these situations instead of avoiding them.
First, be honest with yourself. Sometimes we want to believe that we turned down big opportunities because we didn’t have the time, but the reality is we are just scared. Take an inventory of the excuses you tend to make about avoiding situations outside your comfort zone and ask yourself if they are truly legitimate. Ask yourself if you would accept the same excuses from someone else.
Then make the behavior your own. Identify the areas where you thrive in and take advantage. It is unusual to find someone who struggles in every formidable work situation. You might have a hard time making small talk generally, but find it easier if the topic is something you know a lot about. We often have so much more leeway than we believe to make these tasks feel less of a challenge. Find the situations that favor you and those that make you more comfortable and utilize them to your advantage.
Finally, take the plunge. For you to get out of your comfort zone, you have to do the things that you are not comfortable doing. Put in place mechanisms that will force you to do something and you might even find out it wasn’t even as bad as you had thought. For instance, if you have a problem with public speaking, you can start by using notes to guide your speech. As time goes by, you can start speaking without the notes, and you will be surprised how well you will do.
It is okay to fail, but it is not okay to give up. The best way to learn is by appreciating the mistakes you make along the way and working on how to avoid them. In the end, you will realize you are actually capable of more than you think. So give it a try. Be honest with yourself, make the behavior your own, and take the plunge. You will be happy with yourself for having grabbed the opportunity to grow, learn, and expand your professional repertoire.