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Why “A Comfort Zone Is a Disease” in Business Leadership
A comfort zone is a disease in the context of business leadership because it stunts growth, defeats innovation, and blunts leadership skills. Resistance to transcending your comfort zone can make you feel:
- Unsure and inadequate
- Lacking in authenticity
- Fearful of the potential outcome of change
- Unwilling to take a chance
Your comfort zone is the glass ceiling that prevents you from improving as a leader.
Some leaders find the exploration of their inner cores to be outside their comfort zones. To lead, however, you have to reach beyond your comfort zone again and again.
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
And so does leadership. Your comfort zone is a situation, a set of circumstances, or a method of work that makes you feel safe and at ease and that yields acceptable results. While you operate within your comfort zone, you avoid the motivating pressure that can drive you to take your leadership to the next level. If you stay within your comfort zone, you will likely not improve as a leader.
Intelligent leadership is about embracing and effecting change. By design, change is outside of your comfort zone.
From the perspective of leadership coaching, a comfort zone is truly a disease because it permeates the personality and the skills of the leader from the outside-in and the inside-out, and it is incredibly difficult to address. Indeed, your inner core, the very source of your leadership abilities, may lie outside your comfort zone.
Stepping Outside Your Comfort Zone is the Key to Self-Awareness
Self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand your values, character, beliefs, and emotions. As I have pointed out in my leadership coaching books, emotional intelligence starts with self-awareness. Despite its importance and conceptual simplicity, self-awareness is and will remain unexplored territory for many leaders, as it is outside their comfort zones.
Self-awareness is one of the core principles of intelligent leadership. Leadership coaching aims to improve self-awareness because it can effect meaningful, lasting, and positive change in a person’s leadership abilities.
To unleash your unique brand of intelligent leadership, you need to understand your innermost core. And to achieve that, you may have to defeat resistance and wean yourself off your dependence on your comfort zone.
Feeling Comfortable Outside your Comfort Zone?
Is that not a contradiction? While you can never feel comfortable outside your comfort zone, you can attain a certain level of comfort understanding how change works and demystifying its perceived threats.
Leaving your comfort zone entails anxiety and fear. These emotions are natural. As a human being, you tend to embrace the safety of the known, while rejecting the hazards of the unknown. It is important, however, that you should grow comfortable enough with these emotions not to allow them to overwhelm you.
Support will help you cope with the pitfalls of change.
How Your Comfort Zone Holds You Back
It can take a lot of effort to do things differently. On top of that, your comfort zone has tricks to resist a desire to embrace change.
While plunging into the unknown, you will likely:
- Feel incompetent and fake
- Fear the outcome of your adventure and doubt yourself a lot
- Fear the consequences of potential failure
- Rebel against change consciously and subconsciously
How You Can Defeat Your Resistance to Change
The longer you uphold the status quo, the more entrenched you will become in your routine, and the more difficult you will find it to break out of your comfort zone. Here are things that can help.
- Take stock of the positives and negatives of your embracing the unknown.
- Do not disregard your emotions. Respect them, but understand how they work.
- Come to terms with the fact that embracing change is not easy.
- Get support/help and draw up a plan.
- Celebrate your successes.
Address your inner limitations before you embark on change that will affect your outer behavior and your entire organization.
If you would like help with reaching beyond your comfort zone as a leader, check out my leadership coaching services.