The poor Comfort Zone. It's been getting a bad rap for years!
Popular activities for team-building include exercises to help teams think outside the box, workshops that force us outside our comfort zones, seminars are designed to inspire attendees to embrace discomfort in the name of personal growth ... the list goes on.
As with every story, there is more than one side to the tale of the Comfort Zone.
In the zone
When inside a comfort zone, the flight or fight response is significantly reduced, and therefore people can think and act with clear minds and passion in their hearts, because situations aren't clouded with anxiety or fear.
Inside a comfort zone, a person can use all of their energy to be the best version of who they truly are, instead of a mediocre version of what theories and popular culture seems to demand.
The result of this best version of a confident, relaxed and authentic person is an environment where high performance comes very naturally.
For purposes of growth and balance, it is necessary for everyone to move to a place of discomfort every now and then, with the focus on "every now and then".
When exposure to experiences outside ones comfort zone occurs in an environment where time and risk can be managed, and expectations are proactively communicated, the experiences can lead to high learning, which is why pushing the boundaries of ones comfort zone is so popular.
Very simply, my point is this:
Bringing learnings from outside of the comfort zone together with high performance inside of the comfort zone makes for authentic personal and professional growth.
No workshops, no seminars, no exercises necessary.
Imagine if all workplaces had the privilege of ensuring during the recruitment stage to select team members with a perfectly balanced team of strength profiles that accommodate the weaknesses of others. A team that moves comfortably in and between a variety of comfortable skill sets, sensitivity levels, and life experiences.
Imagine if leaders had the skills to guide their teams on the weaving journey between high performance and new experiences.
Imagine if we all had the confidence to feel comfortable with feeling comfortable, and not fear the discomfort that goes hand in hand with growth.
With the MASSIVE changes that struck business in recent years, it is incredibly important that business leaders learn to be comfortable - and teach their people to be comfortable - with moving in and out of comfort zones. It is one of the most important skills needed to WIN! in the new game of business.