I ran across this graphic last week and though I’ve seen variations of this over the years, this one stuck with me. I think it clearly lays out where our comfort zone lies, then nicely illustrates the fear, learning and finally growth zones.
In a recent team meeting I shared this and talked about our need to continually grow, to experiment, and to push our marketing efforts.
I also talked about our current day-to-day work and how I’d like to shift that to 85-90% of our time focused on our project tasks, while the other 10-15% of our time spend on dreaming. What things could we do? What strategies could we implement to help grow the business. Plain and simple, spend time dreaming to advance our efforts.
Previously I’ve talked about strategic dreaming, igniting team creativity, choice and moving beyond fear. Th idea of your comfort zone definitely ties in nicely. It is also an element of the “fusion” in my Integrative Marketing Fusion model which I practice. As a refresher, Integrative Marketing Fusion takes integrative marketing and adds on evolve, connect, inspire and empowerment.
In doing so, this leads to a more transparent, authentic and effective model lending itself, if done properly, to sustained brand strengthening and growth.
Back to the Zones
Let’s break things down a bit more:
In the illustration this means feeling safe and in control. We know it and we can handle it. That’s good, as you want to spend some of your time here. This is where you can hone your current skills. In essence, the comfort zone is a dynamic space that balances safety with challenge, familiarity with novelty, and self-assurance with humility. It’s a launching pad that propels us towards our goals while providing a safe landing spot when we stumble. It’s where we learn to take calculated risks, to fail forward, and to continuously evolve in our quest for personal and professional development.
Elements such as lack of self-confidence, finding excuses and affected by others’ opinions make up the fear zone. This is the area outside of our comfort zone where there is uncertainty, confusion and even a little fear. It is in this environment that change happens, growth occurs and a new level of understanding takes place. This is the zone of learning.
Heading in the right direction and, well, learning to deal with challenges, acquiring new skills and expanding your comfort zone make up this part of the process. This is the area where we are learning new things, developing ideas, testing concepts and stretching our minds. It is here that you have some fear but also a healthy level of excitement. You can make mistakes and be open to criticism as long as it is constructive with actionable insights.
The growth zone is where we aim to be. Finding your purpose, living your dreams, setting new goals, conquering objectives – all components of growth, growing and setting up your future. Here, success is attained and we experience a great feeling of accomplishment.
The goal, therefore, is to challenge ourselves, step out of our comfort zone and grow into new areas. This will ensure that as an individual or team, you are continuously growing and developing while striving for the best possible results. Doing this often will take you from your comfort zone to the growth zone.
So, keep pushing yourself and stretching your boundaries – it will lead to growth! This can include taking courses, listening to podcasts, reading inspiring content or attending a conference related to your field of work. It could also involve trying something completely new that is out of your comfort zone. Embrace the fear and the learning and move forward!