When was the last time you did something really scary? Maybe not jump-out-of-an-airplane scary, but something that put you way outside of your comfort zone. How did this make you feel? Were you relieved when the experience was over or did you revel in the excitement of doing something new and scary?
I believe we could all agree that doing something outside our comfort zone is uncomfortable at best, terrifying at worst. Have we stopped to consider why we become resistant when testing our limits? It is interesting how people will rationalize their aversion to stepping outside of their comfort zone. There are a million reasons not to try something new when in reality it comes down to a fear of failure. Now think about your team members – those who have performed the same tasks day in and day out. What happens when you ask them to do something completely new and outside of their comfort zone? My team members would either give me a blank stare or the famous deer in the headlights look, followed by a vehement “No, I don’t want to do that.” I used to believe these team members were uninterested or just plain lazy. It took me awhile to understand that it was fear speaking and preventing them from taking a chance.
As leaders, it should be important to set the standard for your team members that jumping outside of your comfort zone is okay and encouraged. Trying something new or presenting a new idea is not always easy, but it is important to understand that risk sometimes involves failure and that should be expected and embraced. If you inspire your team members to try something new through your own example, they may see how the benefits outweigh the risks. Showing them first hand that fear should drive them forward instead of keeping them paralyzed in place, can create a greater comfort level with the idea of stepping outside of their comfort zone.
Trying something new can be scary, but it doesn’t need to be limiting. If you are not willing to go outside the zone, where will your next million-dollar idea come from?