Do you always write with blue ink?
If it’s Wednesday, do you know you’re having pizza for dinner?
Do you walk down the back hallway so you can avoid walking by your boss’s office?
We’re creatures of habit so we like our routines. They’re comfy, familiar, make us feel safe.
Yet that cozy safety can become confining—with or without us being aware that we’ve created boundaries we rarely step across.
If we’re to fulfill our potential, we’ve got to push ourselves beyond the borders of our comfort zone. Tim Butler, director of Career Development at Harvard Business School and author of Getting Unstuck: How Dead Ends Become New Paths, says, “Failure to get unstuck can put careers, personal life goals, and the healthy functioning of work teams or organizations at risk.”
3 ways to be better
If propelling past the borders of our comfort zones seems too hard a task to tackle, use these “rocket fuel” thoughts and actions to start those comfort-zone-moving-engines:
Once a week, do something that isn’t “you.”
Use a pen with green or purple ink. Eat alligator. Wear something with flowers. Take a walk in the rain. Attend a networking event. Comment on a blog. Sleep in or get up extra early. Tell someone “thank you.”
What’s important is exploring and experimenting. Without new influences and experiences, a comfort zone can become a rut.
Worry about the chances you miss when you don’t even try. ~Sherman Finesilver
Don’t let a month slip by without learning something new.
Whether what you learn is big or small is up to you.
Figure out your iPhone. Take ballroom dance classes. Listen to hip hop. Read a business book. Attend a webinar. Look up the meaning of an unfamiliar word and use it in a conversation that very same day. Take a French lesson.
Expand all your muscles: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
All the world is my school and all humanity is my teacher. ~George Whitman
Let go of something every quarter.
Decide if that one thing for you is an object, a feeling, a practice, or whatever else your personal baggage might be.
- That sweater that hasn’t been worn since high school—give it to a charity.
- That slighted feeling you’re carrying around because Betty or Bob ignored you—write it down on a piece of paper, tie that paper to a helium-filled balloon and let it sail away, out of your head, heart and life.
- Those beliefs you’re carved in personal granite about how things must always be done—grab your chisel, and start carving away.
- That dress or shirt or tie you’ve been saving for a special event—declare today a special day and wear it.
Challenge yourself to be perpetually open to learning, doing, and being!
There is an eagle in me that wants to soar, and there is a hippopotamus in me that wants to wallow in the mud. ~Carl Sandburg
Image credit: morgueFile