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Stretching Beyond your Comfort Zone

10/8/2014

When I was asked to write this blog post, I was a little nervous. I have never written a blog post before, much less one that can be read by the entire world.  I felt ill at ease and unsure at doing something different.  As I was calming my nerves in preparation for this new challenge, I started thinking about comfort zones and why it’s important to stick a toe outside them.

Sometimes in work, as in life, it can be difficult to break out of our patterns, the things we do on a regular basis with comfort and expertise.  It can be frightening to try something new, to take a risk, especially in the workplace.  What if we fail? That fear of failure can lead to unwillingness to expand past our comfort zone to being stuck in a rut where we don’t grow or develop to our full potential. 

As daunting as it can sometimes feel to try to perform an unfamiliar task, there are advantages to moving past our discomfort and staying open towards new opportunities.  Here are some benefits to stretching out of our comfort zone.

Challenging ourselves – When we only do what we already know how to do, our work can become stale and repetitive and this can lead to feelings of boredom and dissatisfaction. We end up doing just enough when we are capable of doing more. When we challenge ourselves to achieve new goals and those goals are achieved, it communicates that we are the type of employees who want interesting, challenging work to perform. We open ourselves up to opportunities for further achievement and satisfaction in our careers. 

Growing and Learning – In life, we should always be growing and learning new things. Stretching to learn unfamiliar skills keeps our mind sharp and allows us to develop as people. Even when we don’t immediately achieve our goals, we can learn something important in the effort itself. We learn how to cope with and learn from our mistakes. Innovation comes from not only knowing what does work but from learning what doesn’t.   A skilled and knowledgeable employee who is able to innovate is a valuable asset to our company. The more we adapt, learn and develop our skills, the more valuable we can become. 

Gaining Confidence – We all experience insecurities and self-doubts when trying something new. That first tiny step outside of our comfort zone can feel as if we are climbing a mountain. When we do take that first step and the world doesn’t crash down all around us, it makes that second step a little less frightening. A few more steps and we find ourselves walking easily along the path to new challenges and rewarding experiences. The more we face our fears, the less power we give them.  The more we prove to ourselves that we can overcome obstacles, the more we start to feel confidence in what we are capable of achieving, both in and out of the workplace. 

Remaining nimble – The ERP environment is one marked by high demand and rapid change. We must be able to be nimble in that environment, to adapt and respond successfully to the needs of our business and our customers.  Change is coming whether we like it or not. Instead of resisting or dreading it, we can choose to embrace those changes and make them work for us.  Epicor University has taken advantage of changes in education technology to develop an extensive portfolio of different learning options that encourages lifelong learning for both our employees and our customers. 

Expanding our comfort zones – A surprising thing happens when we stretch outside our comfort zone; our comfort zone stretches too.  The challenges that once seemed impossible for us to achieve now become part of our skill set.   As we continue our growth and development, we become more comfortable in trying new things until the act of challenging ourselves becomes part of our comfort zone.  By going out of my comfort zone and writing this blog post, I’ve learned that I can write a blog post. As a result, I’ve become more comfortable with stretching my writing skills into other new directions.

To conclude, when we work through our anxiety and challenge ourselves in the workplace, we have a greater opportunity to grow personally and professionally. This can result in a more positive attitude towards change and a confidence that we can stretch beyond our comfort zone to take advantages of the wealth of opportunities just beyond it.

Posted by Tricia Symes, Sr University Specialist, Epicor University




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