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Comfort zone…

One of my colleagues recently left our company to take a role with a start-up.  “Boots”, I said, “you’ll do great – go get ‘em!”  And with that she left the “comfort zone” of her current position for a “new world”, a new role, with a new company, in a new city.

If you try too carefully to plan your life, the danger is that you will succeed – succeed in narrowing your options, closing off avenues of adventure that cannot now be imagined.

Harlan Cleveland

Encouraging my now former colleague made me think, “When was the last time I was in my comfort zone”?  I have been operating outside of my comfort zone for so long I’m trying to remember what is was like.

1975 – 1975 was the last time I can remember being in my comfort zone.  I was graduating from college during a tough job market.  My inclination was to stay at my alma matre Knox College, in Galesburg Illinois, and work in the admissions office.

My wife didn’t want to stay in a small town; my basketball coach and mentor, Harley Knosher, knew taking an admissions job was simply a path of least resistance.  So the two of them teamed up; prodded me out of my comfort zone; “You’ll do great – go get ‘em!” they said.

So I sent out over 200 letters of employment inquiry; was invited for 2 interviews; and received one, count ‘em, one job offer.  “Honey” I said, “We’re headed to Merrillville, Indiana for a career in retail”.   And with a $9,600 annual salary offer in hand, we headed towards a “new world”, a new role, with a new company, in a new city.   And that’s when I left my comfort zone.

How about you?  Are you in your comfort zone?  How adventurous are you?  Does life have you in a position where you must operate outside of your “comfort zone”?  Well, maybe that makes us better?

There can be constructive worry if it is directed towards positive goals. 

Joe Newton

The topic represents quite the contrast for me.  You see, I am a planner by nature; risk adverse; fearful; often shy.  Those who “know” me might be surprised by such a description.  Yet it’s true.  All things considered, I’d just as soon take in an afternoon movie vs. explore the new world.

Oh I’m skilled in my trade; experienced; successful in my field.  Over the years I’ve had to condition myself to operate outside of my comfort zone; take risks; do new things.

I don’t know – maybe life is meant to be lived uncomfortably.  Maybe we’re meant to be constantly striving; constantly seeking; constantly worrying.  Take today’s business models.  The only constant we seem to be dealing with is change!  And how do we face the “new world” of this change?  Who likes facing the new world of new business models; new companies; new markets?

What’s my return on investment in e-commerce?  Are you crazy? This is Columbus in the New World.  What was his ROI?

Andrew Grove

OK – by comparison, we might not be quite as bold as Christopher Columbus.  He faced more than the unknown.  The “experts” of his time were convinced about the world:

People told Columbus the world was flat.  He didn’t insist it was round.  He got in a boat. 

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So come on everyone; you’ll do great – go get ‘em!  There’s a “new world” out there waiting for your discovery.  Besides, comfort zones and afternoon movies are over rated.

GAP

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6 Comments


  1. Elizabeth Rose
    May 20, 2015

    Loved the article this week Gary. Resonated deeply for me. Hope all is well. 🙂


    • Gary
      May 22, 2015

      Hey Elizabeth – thanks for reading and replying to my little ditty! Things are good here; hope they are “there” too 🙂 Thx, GAP


  2. John Harris
    Jun 03, 2015

    Here’s another that speaks to not waiting on the opinions of others to make the move out of the zone: “How far would Moses have gone if he had taken a poll in Egypt?” Harry S. Truman


    • Gary
      Jun 04, 2015

      Stellar quote John – thanks for sharing! Thx, GAP


  3. Nathan Sumner
    Jun 12, 2015

    Afternoon movies are pretty enjoyable…

    Great article.

    I’m contemplating if I’m out of my comfort zone enough. I love my job, but it’s hard to figure out the ratios of what aspects I’m comfortable performing.


    • Gary
      Jun 14, 2015

      Thanks Nathan, yes the sales profession has many mysteries about how to succeed 🙂 Thx, GAP

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