After serving seven patrols as a young Naval Officer on the nuclear submarine, USS Tennessee, I can tell you that being deployed over Christmas and New Year’s Eve was not a lot of fun. It was tough to be away from the things that brought me comfort: my home, my friends, my family, my favorite foods, and the holiday traditions I love.
My time in the Navy was spent outside my comfort zone.
It was the nature of the job. Months away from home, days without sleep, cramped quarters, tough technical issues—these were just part of my daily routine.
But here’s the thing: I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. In fact, the experience I gained in those tough times made me the leader I am today. The reason?
“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are for.” ― William G.T. Shedd
I think the quote from William Shedd should be rewritten to say,
“A leader is safe in his comfort zone, but that’s not what leaders are for.”
As we approach the time of year when we start to think about goals and resolutions for 2023, we should challenge ourselves to think about how we can depart our comfort zone in the new year.
Here are 3 simple steps to plan your escape from your comfort zone:
Define your comfort zone.
Based on your time usage in 2022, what is your comfort zone? Which employees or departments do you spend the most time with? Who do you go to lunch with regularly? Which customers or vendors do you visit the most? What strategies did you deploy most often? Which peers do you interact with most often? What technologies did you study the most? What management blogs or websites did you visit most often? What meetings do you regularly attend?
Define where you are uncomfortable.
Evaluate the areas where you feel you have the most to learn or that you are least familiar with. Which departments or employees are you less familiar with? Who are your toughest customers or vendors that you may have been avoiding? What are the big strategies you have been uncomfortable implementing? What technologies or industry trends are you the least familiar with? What’s happening in your business that scares you the most as a leader?
Develop a plan to spend more time outside your comfort zone in 2022
Spending time in unfamiliar situations is a valuable way to grow, learn and expand your worldview. To make this shift, write down what you are going to do differently. List the activities that you will consciously spend less time on in the new year and list the areas where you will spend more time outside of your comfort zone. Make this combined list a part of your goals and resolutions for 2022.
Get out of your comfort zone!
I know, I know—it sounds scary. And it can be. But getting outside your comfort zone is one of the best ways to grow as a leader and experience new things.
You’ll learn how to handle new challenges, develop faster, and be more confident in who you are and what you’re capable of. You’ll also get to do some really fun stuff and make some amazing memories with friends.
The best way to depart the comfort zone is by creating a plan and sticking to it. You might feel uncomfortable at first, but the personal and professional growth will be well worth the effort.
As a special gift to all my subscribers:
I’ll be sending a free PDF guidebook to your inbox that will help you get out of your comfort zone.
If you also want a copy, simply subscribe here and I’ll send you the PDF as well!