How To Tell If You're Stuck In Your Comfort Zone
We all have our comfort zones, right? For example, before COVID-19, every single weekend you would find me doing the same routine. Morning yoga, chatting with my yoga friends, and then getting a smoothie at a nearby café. If I couldn’t do those things on Saturday morning, my entire weekend felt off.
That’s what comfort zones give us: a sense of routine and normalcy, a rhythm to our lives. In that sense, they’re not inherently bad! But in your career, your comfort zone can actually do you a lot of harm. As professionals, we need to always be stretching ourselves.
I wrote a whole blog about the ways that our comfort zones are holding us back, but today I wanted to talk about how you can tell if you’re stuck in one. If any of these symptoms remind you of your current situation, it might be time to take some steps.
You've been there too long.
Some people can work at the same company for their entire careers and still have dynamic, challenging work lives that interest them. Those people are not who I’m talking about.
Have you been working the same position with no promotion for a long time? Have you felt stifled or overlooked? If you’ve gone years in one position with no chance of upward growth, you need to ask yourself why you’re not seeking an opportunity that will give you the chance to move upward.
The excitement is gone.
Now, nobody goes into work thrilled every single day to get to their workplace (except maybe people who get to work with baby animals for a living), but you should regularly experience moments of joy and excitement in your work. The steady repetition of a joyless work life might be comfortable for you, but it’s not good long-term. When was the last time you experienced excitement at your job?
You're not being stretched.
I think that the best opportunities are the ones that are just a little terrifying. Early in my career, I got the opportunity to go work in Germany. I don’t speak German, so this opportunity was more than a little terrifying. I didn’t know if I was qualified, and of course I made plenty of mistakes once I got there. But that moment was a huge growing opportunity for me in my career, and I think that every single person should chase opportunities that seem just a little crazy. They’re rewarding! Even if you’re not moving to a foreign country, are you volunteering for projects you don’t feel 100% qualified for? Are you doing work that makes you grow?
You're not being challenged.
“Easy” is usually included in definitions of the word “comfortable.” If you could do your job in your sleep, you’re probably pretty fast at it. You’re probably pretty good at it, too. But if your work isn’t challenging you at least sometimes, you’re probably living in your comfort zone bubble. Being good at something reduces the sense of risk, but you’re also passing up opportunities that come with reaching out a bit further.
If you’re worried you’re stuck in your comfort zone, you might benefit from a one-on-one with me. Click here and sign up for a free consultation, and let's get started!