Have you fallen blindly for the mantra that everything good happens outside your comfort zone? After all we have been told that again and again. We have been encouraged to step out of our comfort zone in pursuit of our growth and our full potential.
In a recent conversation with our extended network of l professional women we could see and feel the exhaustion of constantly feeling the pressure to step out of their comfort zone. Fatigue from hearing again and again that they need to be more, to do more, to achieve more.
That insight really intrigued us at Azkua. At the end of the day, we are strong believers in learning and growing AND we also believe that feeling exhausted and not enough is a sign that something is not working.
First and foremost, we believe that YOU ARE ENOUGH. And you must feel and believe that. Period. If you are doubting it all the time and chasing that next big thing, which will make you believe that you are enough, then your growth will forever be externally driven and ultimately exhausting.
Healthy Growth Zone
Now let’s consider a different scenario for a moment.
Have you ever been in the situation where you had to learn something new? You did not know how to do it, but you loved learning it. You loved reading and researching the topic. Or getting practical and learning how to do it. You had so much joy noticing little milestones in getting better. And even when it was tough you got energized by the idea of learning.
Energy and nourishment are the hallmarks of a healthy growth zone.
And whilst you might not have all the skills to execute your new challenge yet, and you might get frustrated at times, learning it would give you overall energy. Your internal motivation is high, and you know you can get better at it.
When your growth zone goes toxic
There is a magic place for our growth zone that you need to know about. And that zone tends to lie just outside your comfort. Go too far and you are risking landing right into the toxic zone: your energy will be depleted; your confidence will take a nosedive. You might keep going with honing the skill, but it will be driven by external motivation: the fear of telling your manager that you might have overestimated your capacity to do it, the fear of admitting that you were wrong.
How do you build healthy growth?
You build it on trust that you are enough.
Do you fundamentally believe that you are enough right here, right now? This is the first stop before you decide the area in which you want to grow.
If the answer is no, then you might be looking to learn a new skill or take that new position for the wrong reasons. You will do it in the hope that somehow it will “fix you”.
Let me tell you that you do not need to be “fixed”. And if you are not in the space of knowing that, then maybe the best thing you can do now is to invest your time and your money in returning to your comfort zone. Getting comfortable with yourself. With all your beautiful talents, with the whole story that got you here. You need to build your own solid comfort zone, before you can really explore how to get out of it in a healthy and nourishing way.
You build it on your talent
Focusing on your weakness brings an element of “fixing you” and it is draining.
There might be times where you have to become better at something that you do not enjoy, but you need to make sure to put it into perspective. Think about it as your own MVP (minimum viable product).
You might not like presenting, but you might have to do it from time to time as you are climbing the corporate ladder. What would be the basic skills that you need to address to become ok at it? You are not likely to need to become a master at this skill, so do not put extra pressure on yourself.
You are more likely to stay in discomfort of learning something new, if it is built on growing your talent. So, make sure that most of your time is invested in this area. This is what will unlock your genius: the combination of skills that are so unique to you, no one else in your office can do it as well as you.
Keeping things in perspective
Are you asking too much of yourself or people that you manage? Most of us are constantly functioning outside of our comfort zones as it is.
If you work in a large multinational organization, then you are likely navigating restructuring, acquisition, or relocation on a regular basis. Uncertainty keeps us outside our comfort zone all the time.
I remember talking to my ex colleague a couple years ago, and when I asked him what was his biggest challenge at work this is exactly what came up. The challenge was not a continuous need to learn new skills related to his job or managing work relationships. The biggest challenge was the knowledge that every few years major changes would occur in his organization and that he and his colleagues would have to deal with uncertainty all the time.
Next time you are having a conversation with your manager or your employee about their growth, make sure to ask these questions first:
- Are you functioning from your comfort zone currently? Do not presume the answer to this question (I would endeavor to say that in the last year most people were pushed extremely far from their comfort zones).
- What would help your talents flourish? You want to make sure that growth happens in the area that will help you/your employees to tap in to their genius.
- What is driving you? Are you doing it because you think it will “fix you”, or are you doing it, because you want to get better at something?
You need to make sure that your comfort zone is solid and based on trust that you are enough. Only then you can venture out into a growth zone that is truly enriching your career and your life. How comfortable are you with your comfort zone right now?
If you wonder how you can foster growth built on a solid foundation don’t hesitate to reach out and book a complimentary coaching session with one of us. At Azkua we believe it will be women like YOU who will transform organisation into forces for good, and our mission is to empower as many as possible of you to show up in your true magnificence at work and in life.
Engaged Relationship Builder as Azkua
At Azkua we are on a mission to turn businesses and organisations into a force for good. And we believe that it is professional women who will be at the forefront of this transformation. Purpose driven, caring, grounded and influential women like YOU!