FutureLab
What can you do to ensure you are getting out of your comfort zone more regularly?
Personal Development

Hi Kar Yan Goh.

First, your attempt to get out of your comfort zone is admirable and an increasingly desirable trait in today's workforce.

Second, there are few things I would recommend:

But first, get this matter sorted: are you trying to explore something that is out of your work-scope or are you doing something related to your work duties?

1. Find out things that may interest you and pick something that would have practical and positive returns in the future.
2. Find a service (free is preferred -YouTube-, paid if you must) that offers a comprehensive introduction to that subject.
3. Start with the material you find.
4. Build up your depository of questions. These questions should be sufficient to expand your understanding of the subject matter
5. Keep pushing for more questions and answers.
6. You will get to a point that would enable you to have connections with websites, individuals, social groups, experts and others that would be able to expand your knowledge.
7. Try to find a way to apply the knowledge gained into your work.

Let's take a look at a simple example:

1. Say you pick (PowerPoint) as the subject you would like to learn. You feel that you know it, but you want to improve and develop excellent presentation preparation skills and solid storytelling ability.
Say you have 3 weeks to do so. Your goal is to gain skills that would enable you to create fantastic high-level presentations.

2. Start with a search on google and youtube (How to create professional presentations with PowerPoint).
Interesting results would be things like:
- PowerPoint School (YouTube)
- PowerPoint Pro (YouTube)
- PowerPoint from Lynda.com - Paid (great courses!)

3. Do your homework

4. Start asking complicated questions about PowerPoint Presentation building

5. How can you make a presentation that is good enough to present at maybe (Ted Talks or a professional business conference)?

6. You will be able to have a list of websites, individuals, social groups, experts and others who do FANTASTIC presentations

7. Find a way to apply these skills in your company's work IMMEDIATELY.

For example:

- Your company has a sales deck.
- If your boss doesn't want you to do any changes, take it as a personal task **outside of your work** (don't affect your work)
- Build it based on what you learned and find the time to show it to your colleagues in the sales team (pick the right people)
- Get their feedback (some people will resent you, some people will not like it, some people will think you don't know what you're doing) - Do not bother about negative feedback.
- Amend the presentation based on some of the positive and constructive feedback
- Find the time to talk to your superior.
- Tell your superior about what you have been doing and how it is helping you.
- Show your superior the presentation you prepared and get the professional opinion.

This should be sufficient to get you started and out of your comfort zone. You are taking initiative, challenging yourself, learning something good, engaging with others, showing your superior officer that you have what it takes to move to the next level professionally.

I hope this helps and sorry for the long message.

Best of luck!
~ Mike

5 months ago

Hi Kar Yan,

Good day. As I am reading your question over and again, I guess the advice/suggestion that you are looking for is how to 'constantly feel uncomfortable'.

Maybe let's set a common understanding of the term 'comfort zone', then we'll see if we are agreeable on our context and understanding. That will decide how relatable my following advice will be working for you.
Comfort zone is a state when one feels at ease. There is nothing new, there is no challenge, there is no growth, and one is just being completely stagnant in his or her work.

So, to be 'uncomfortable', or even being 'constantly feel uncomfortable' is to drive oneself to be hungry for change; change to be better, to do things differently, to achieve higher. There are many ways we can do to get out of the comfort zone but often enough we sink at a guilty point where we got comfortable and forget to challenge/improve ourselves. (Mike in his earlier answers gave some really powerful advice on 'how to' go out from that comfort zone.) So constantly reminding ourselves to 'get out' is necessary and here are some of the tips that I have been practising, I hope it will help:

1. Boring is your best trigger:
No matter what is your given assignment, task, or role, there should always be an excitement factor. You know you are learning something new. You know you are now doing it a little differently than before. You know there are routine was improved in some ways.
When you no longer feel it that way and feel bored on the routine that is unchanged, you know you need to start looking out.

2. Plan your day and plan your days ahead:
Every morning, try to give yourself time, maybe just a short 5 minutes to review how your day is going to be. Is this going to 'just another day'? If it is, then what can you do differently than how it has always been done?
At the beginning of every month (or a specific timeline), look at what has been done for the last month (previous period), and what can be done better or more this month (coming period).

3. Ask the 'how would [someone] do it?' question:
Remind yourself of your role model. He or she can be a famous person, a mentor, a successful figure around you, or just your superior.
From there, have a habit of asking yourself, 'if this task is given to him/her, how would he/she do it'?
To make it better, if you can't think of an answer, you could even discuss this question with someone or that person him/herself to inspire your thought process.

Lastly, as a generic rule, be ambitious but start small. I always go with a rule of 3. That make things practical. You'll hear from a lot of people on tips and tricks on stuff. Keep to yourself 3 that you know you will be committed to, then work from there. Being greedy in this sense will cause you to lose focus on your goal and defeat the purpose of why you get started.

I hope this help answers your doubt. Feel free to get in touch.

-Isaac-
[email protected]

5 months ago

Hi Kar Yan,

Thanks for the tag in this.

The way I do this is quite straightforward, I think about the person I want to become in the future and I think about what that person would be doing regularly with ease that currently makes me nervous, anxious, or fearful. I then seek out opportunities that stretch me and put me in these 'stressful' situations.

For example, If I'm nervous about speaking in front of large crowds I would actively seek out speaking engagements or, If I struggle to engage with people in networking events and it makes me anxious I would sign up for multiple networking sessions.

Put simply, seek out things that make you nervous/ anxious, then do them.