By Janet Makepeace, PCC. As a leader, running toward comfort in your career can be a roadblock to your success.  Experience and knowledge that you bring with you on your leadership journey shapes your ability as you take on broader leadership roles.  Becoming comfortable can stagnate your leadership growth, so being intentional about being uncomfortable could bring more growth and ultimately more success.  

During your leadership journey, you’ll come to crossroads where you need to decide what direction you want to go.  Do you choose the road you know, or do you chose the unknown route?  The unknown route, will for sure be up a hill or filled with curves.  The decision should be made based on your desire to develop as a leader.  

If you stay in your “Comfort Zone,” that is fine and don’t expect great continued learning.  In the comfort zone, you thrive and can perform your role with your eyes shut.  

If you chose the unknown road, you’d likely enter the “Learning Zone.”  In the learning zone, you won’t have all the answers and will be forced to explore new information and ways to perform in your role = growth!

The zone you want to avoid is the “Panic Zone.”  When you are here, you could feel helpless, anxious, or stuck.  Preventing entry into the panic zone is essential to be able to perform.  

There are several things to help you maneuver when you chose the uncomfortable road into the learning zone.  

  • Bring a Growth Mindset.  “A “growth mindset,” thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.” Carol Deweck, Stanford University, author of Mindset, The New Psychology of Success.
  • Work with a Coach.  Working with a coach won’t give you advice and will provide you a partner to challenge you to discover unknown awareness and how adapting your actions can lead to better results.  When you are learning, a coach will support, not direct, your journey.
  • Value your Team.  You are leading a team that has most likely been there longer than you.  Connecting with and learning from your team early on can help you springboard into understanding what you’ll need to be learning.  If you ignore the value of your team, it could take significantly longer to get where you want to go.

Like any other journey, be prepared when you take the road into the “Learning Zone.”  This zone is where you will thrive in growth as a leader, so set yourself up for success by bringing the right mindset and partnering with those who can help you the most. (Senninger, 2000).  Read more about getting out of your comfort zone, and challenging yourself.

To learn more about growing your leadership skills and finding your learning zone, schedule a consultation with Janet.