It can be tempting to just coast along in a career so long as there is enough money being earned to pay for the necessities and a few comforts. The danger with remaining in this comfort zone is it probably means you stop learning and developing professionally because you are no longer being challenged.
The sad truth is that if you’re not moving forward in your career, there is a real risk of you going backwards. It also means working on autopilot, so you are probably not going to be getting much satisfaction from this major part of your life. One of the secrets of successful people is that they relish a bit of discomfort in their lives because they understand the comfort zone is really the danger zone.
Staying in your career comfort zone means that you have become complacent, and this is never a good thing. It requires settling for a life that is far less than what you are capable of experiencing. The author Neale Donald Walsh sums up the situation well with his quote, “life begins at the end of your comfort zone”. Pushing yourself a bit more is not just about trying to get ahead; the most important reason to do this is it a far more satisfying way to live. It means you have a reason to get out of bed in the morning, and it is a wonderful feeling to set a tough goal and achieve it – this is why people do crazy things like climb Mount Everest.
If you spend some time in nature, you will notice that things are either growing or dying. The same is true for humans as well. Studies into centenarians (people who live to be over 100) repeatedly show that these tend to be individuals who have a continued love of life and are always looking for new challenges. Here are ten ways for you to get out of your career comfort zone so you can be happier and achieve more:
10. Get Some More Education
One of the signs that you are trapped in your comfort zone is that you have stopped learning. You may already be an expert at what you do, but this doesn’t mean that there isn’t more for you to learn. The benefit of lifelong learning is it not only ensures that you continue to expand your knowledge, but it also means you exercise your brain, improve your focus, train your memory, and increase your self-confidence. It is a good idea to expand your interests, because this can provide completely new information that you can use in your career.
9. Take On New Responsibilities
Taking on new responsibilities forces you out of your comfort zone because it is going to mean more demands on your time. Even if this doesn’t involve much of an increase in your income, it is still going to impress your boss, so it can lead to further opportunities in the future. By taking on new responsibilities, it makes you more valuable to the company, so it also means you have more job security.
8. Start A Blog Related To Your Industry
A blog can be anything you want it to be. You can write about the latest developments in your industry, or you can just talk about the joys and frustrations of your job. A blog can allow you to share your wisdom with the world, and it is also a great tool for self-promotion. It shows that you are interested in what you do and it means you become better known within your industry – it may even mean you get head-hunted for a better job. One of the other exciting possibilities: You could use the content from your blog as the basis for a book.
7. Set Some Goals For The Future
When people first set themselves on a career path, there is usually plenty to feel excited about. It isn’t just that everything is new, but there are clear goals to aim for – for example, gaining the right qualifications to be allowed entry into the profession. One of the main reasons for why people become trapped in the comfort zone is they no longer have any goals to work towards.
This situation is usually easy to remedy by asking yourself this simple question – where would you like to be in 1, 5, and 10 years? Once you have a better idea about where you want to be in the future, it is just a case of creating the goals that are going to get you there.
6. Devote An Hour Every Evening To Reading
There is always the temptation to just flop down in front of the TV after a day at the office. The problem is this is generally an unproductive use of your time. And let’s face it; most shows are repetitive and mind-numbing anyway. Reading is a much better way to unwind after a busy day because it allows you to use your imagination. You don’t even need to choose a book that is serious or heavy – even reading silly fiction is going to be better for your brain than watching TV.
5. Read About Inspiring People
A common reason for why people become a bit complacent in their career is lack of inspiration. If you no longer feel excited about what you do, it can be hard to remain motivated. One possible solution: Read some biographies of people you admire. It would be even better if you could spend some time with these characters. This can rekindle your desire to be great at what you do, and it can give you the motivation you need to escape your current rut.
4. Attend A Personal Development Course
A personal development course can give you the boost you need to move forward in your career. If you are lucky, your company may be willing to pay for this, but it is worth handing over your own money because it is going to benefit your future. There are millions of personal development courses to choose from, and there are also online options where you can study in your free time.
3. Do Some Volunteer Work
Volunteer work is a way to make a positive contribution to the world. It can also increase your self-esteem, give you a chance to pick up new skills, and it opens up new doors – not to mention the chance to network. If you are so fed up with your current career path that you are considering a change, this can be the ideal way to dip your toe in the water. Taking on this extra work can also boost your energy levels, and this could reignite your passion for your current career.
2. Begin To See A Bit Of Discomfort As Your Friend
One of main reasons that people fall into the trap of the comfort zone is they believe that the ‘easy life’ is evidence that they have made it. The reality is that life without a bit of discomfort is kind of dull and unrewarding. You need to be challenged to be living the good life, so the right attitude towards discomfort is ‘bring it on’.
1. Remember What Excites You about Your Work
Chances are that you originally felt drawn to your career because it excited you. This is what gave you the motivation to gain the required qualifications and to find employment. If you are now caught in a rut, it is probably because you have lost sight of your original vision. You need to find a way to reconnect with that earlier excitement, and if you can’t do this, it may be time to find a new career. Life is too short to be wasting it on a job you can no longer feel passionate about.