As the saying goes, "life begins at the end of your comfort zone." Unsurprisingly, life and learning go hand-in-hand, as was recently discussed in an article published in Harvard Business Review. Author Andy Molinsky, psychologist and author of Global Dexterity, speaks specifically to learning in the professional sense, pointing out the many ways in which taking that leap of faith at work can further your career.
While work certainly presents situations rife with anxiety for many—attending networking events, giving a presentation in front of your colleagues, and speaking out during a meeting, to name a few—these are the same experiences with the potential to grow both you and your career. "Situations … that are important professionally, but personally terrifying are, unfortunately, ubiquitous. An easy response to these situations is avoidance. Who wants to feel anxious when you don’t have to?" writes Molinsky. "But the problem, of course, is that these tasks aren’t just unpleasant; they’re also necessary. Without the skill and courage to take the leap, we can miss out on important opportunities for advancement."
Molinsky recommends being honest with yourself about why you may be avoiding certain situations at work in order to pinpoint where your fear is holding you back. He emphasizes the importance of "taking the plunge" into new or anxiety-provoking activities, like confronting your coworker or negotiating a raise. "In order to step outside your comfort zone, you have to do it, even if it’s uncomfortable," he concludes. "Put mechanisms in place that will force you to dive in, and you might discover that what you initially feared isn’t as bad as you thought."
How do you force yourself to step outside of your comfort zone? Share your experience in the comments below.