Doing something outside of your comfort zone can be a scary concept—even anxiety producing for some. For example, about 75 percent of the population has a fear of public speaking, so giving a speech in front of a large group may lead to symptoms like a racing heart, light-headedness or even disassociation for many.
Even so, studies have found that breaking away from a normal routine and trying something new or even a little bit uncomfortable can have enormous benefits. In fact, one Yale study found that if you’re not outside of your comfort zone, you’re not learning. Entrepreneur Auren Hoffman recommends that individuals who want to maximize learning do hard things 70 percent of the time.
Getting out of your comfort zone can also have enormous benefits in the workplace, where it has been shown to boost creativity and productivity. Psychologists have found that a mild amount of anxiety can lead to better performance, while too much can lead to panic and decreased performance. The key is to find just the right balance of comfort and discomfort in your work situation. On the one hand, too much comfort can lead to boredom, complacency and the sense of being “stuck in a rut.” On the other hand, too much discomfort can quickly lead to burnout and ultimately detract from mental health.
The fear of failure or fear of the unknown are both common experiences, but that fear can hold people back from reaching their full potential. Luckily, there are many strategies for getting out of your comfort zone at work to encourage creativity, growth, and a healthier mental state. These include:
- Learn a new skill or technology
- Switch up your work routine
- Ask for what you want
- Present in front of group
- Participate in team building activities
- Face a fear
What is your favorite way to break out of your comfort zone?
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