This expression risks going the way of Thinking Outside The Box: a bit of sound advice whose overuse has made it virtually meaningless.
But it really is sound advice, so let’s take a moment for a closer look at how understanding the limits of your comfort zone – and then moving beyond them – will service your business success.
What is your comfort zone
It is, in short: your routine.
Anything you know how to do, that you do regularly, that you have done many times before.
When you know what to expect and how to address it. This is your comfort zone. It is a safe space for your brain where nothing changes and there are no surprises.
Take one step outside
Nobody is suggesting that you try to fly a plane with no training or instruction. That would certainly put most people outside their comfort zone (and we should be concerned for those who are not so misplaced).
Stepping outside your comfort zone is more about doing something which you can do, for the most part. But perhaps you require a small top up in skills or experience.
You might have done it before, but never in this context, or with these resources, or in this role. You may have done something similar, but never quite this. You may have had training on this thing, but never applied it yet in real life.
It’s just a first step
Not a make it or break it challenge.
Even all of those things you do regularly: at one point you did them for the first time.
And in order to do anything new, you have to have done it for the first time. Once, anyway.
Working outside your comfort zone is not about a success or failure, all or nothing, moment of terror and fear. It’s about acquiring new experience to absorb into your norm. So that the norm continues to grow in space.