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Fear? It’s time to embrace it.

It can be all too easy to stick to what you know, especially in the workplace or at university. But what if your comfort zone is getting in the way of new successes, such as your dream job? Research from Yale found that we can only learn and grow in situations of uncertainty, like challenging yourself to speak in public or lead on a project at work. Why? Brain activity is dramatically reduced by stability, which means you’ve got to shake things up. Where do you sit in the below diagram? Discover how to break out of your comfort zone and achieve your goals.

comfort zone

Stage 1) Comfort zone

This is where you feel safe and secure. You may have perfected a daily routine or become comfortable in your job role, or perhaps you are just focused on completing everyday tasks and haven’t even thought of the possibilities that exist beyond this.

Stage 2) Fear zone

Many of us are guilty of caring too much about what others might think or fearing failure, but it’s important not to be held back by self-doubt. When you decide to fulfill new objectives, accept that you may make mistakes along the way; it’s these errors that help us to grow.

Stage 3) Learning zone

This is where you decide to begin learning and pushing your abilities outside of the comfort zone.  Here you will start on your path to new skills and learn to overcome challenges.

Stage 4) Growth zone

Finally, through pushing yourself out of the comfort zone and deciding to embrace fear, you will be able to reach your goals and grow your learning.

Here are our top tips for breaking out of the comfort zone and improving your learning.

Set new goals

Have you always wanted to learn a new skill? Ask for more responsibilities at work? Completely change careers? Start putting pen to paper and make a list of your new goals and how you intend to reach them. For instance, if you were looking for a pay raise or promotion, you may consider listing the below:

  • Certified new skills. Whether on the job or in your free time, find a way to learn the skills a new role requires. Flexible online courses, such as Investment Banker in a Box, provide the perfect way to learn at your own pace and demonstrate new skills to potential employers with recognized certification.
  • Put in more hours or reorganize your standard day. We’re all guilty of falling into the same routine, but what if you pushed yourself that bit further to complete a project in a faster, more efficient way.
  • Bring more ideas to meetings, even if they’re not perfect
  • Take advantage of social events outside of the workplace, this is a great way to network naturally and reinforce relations
  • Organise a meeting with your boss to discuss opportunities for progression

These might all seem a little daunting at first but are sure to pay off in the long run.

Don’t let fear deter you

It’s important not to be immediately scared off by activities outside of your comfort zone. After you’ve made a list of objectives start acting on them. Send that email to your boss. Enroll on that course you’ve always wanted to take. If you sit back and think you’ll get it started tomorrow, it will never happen.

Finally, don’t give up

During the learning process, you may find that you start to run out of steam. If you find yourself lacking in motivation, remind yourself why you started in the first place. It might even be a case of changing up something in your new routine. For instance, if you’re recording a podcast or taking an online course, switch up your work location. Take your desk outside or change rooms. And remember, keep going, you’ve got this!

The Investment Banker