Required: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s something we all struggle with. Marketing guru Seth Godin blogs about it, countless books are written on the topic, and people take classes to learn how to overcome it.

It’s the fear of being wrong.
It’s the fear of straying outside your comfort zone.
And it’s also this fear that will hold you back.

As this article points out, we all have comfort zones several sizes too small. It’s easy to understand though. We know what we like, what we believe, and what works for us, so why venture out to the unknown?

What if we look stupid trying something new?
What if we try something and we’re really bad at it?

As long as we’re “what if-ing,” what if you looked at trying new things in a whole new way? What if you made a resolution to fail, as this article suggests? Giving ourselves the freedom to fail and explore new ideas takes the pressure off of us, and in the process, look at the benefits gained.

We learn the most from people least like ourselves.

It’s nice being around people who think like you. You laugh at the same jokes, relate to each other, and share common ideas. You’re also not learning as much as you could. The most successful companies thrive on different points of view. Being around people with different lifestyles, political views, and beliefs broadens your frame of reference and helps you become more well-rounded.

Tip: If you’re political views are more conservative, why not check out a more liberal student  organization meeting. Stretch yourself. You don’t have to agree with other viewpoints, but just understanding them already sets you apart.

You may find something you’re really good at or enjoy.

If we limit ourselves to trying things we are already sure we enjoy, we may be missing out on other great opportunities. I’ve always loved writing, but when I got the chance to do a public relations internship, I decided to try it out. I discovered I loved media relations, though I was skeptical at first. Test the waters. Check out this article for more tips on taking risks.

Tip: If there’s a field you’d like to learn more about, don’t fear putting yourself out there and learning new things. And be patient with yourself in the process.

Your confidence rises in proportion to the number of new things you try.

Just think about it. If you’re constantly learning and trying new things, there’s not much that will scare you. That’s an attractive quality to add to your personal brand.

Tip: We all have a biggest fear, so take the first step in overcoming it. For example, many people fear public speaking, and programs like Toastmasters train you on how to become an excellent public speaker. If this sounds like you, why not attend a meeting today to see what it’s all about?

It’s hard to embrace new situations when we’ve got a good thing going. However, as this article points out, leaders are constantly searching for new opportunities, and I’m sure you’ve got it in you.



Amanda is an account executive at MarketWave, a marketing and public relations agency in Addison, TX, where she works on everything from media relations to writing and editing client materials. Prior to MarketWave, Amanda worked as a publications intern atSouthwest Airlines before hired on with the company and working full-time at the airline for two years. Amanda gained experience writing for Southwest Airlines’ inflight magazine, Spirit, while working on her master’s degree in journalism from the University of North TexasMayborn School of Journalism. She’ll graduate in August 2011 with a degree focused on strategic communication and a minor in marketing. Amanda is a member of the Society of Professional Journalistsand is passionate about traveling, writing and nonprofit organizations. Connect with her on Twitter (@amgleason) and LinkedIn.

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