Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone
Hello everyone! Let’s talk about something exciting today (wait, I don’t talk about exciting things everyday on my blog…?). Let’s delve into new beginnings, new journeys, new jobs, new comfort zones. As you already know, one of my goals for this year is to push my boundaries and enter a new comfort zone. It can be a challenge to step outside of your comfort zone, but I’m a firm believer in doing so on the occasion to learn, grow and develop as an individual. So let’s get into it a bit, huh?!
My Experience Stepping out of My Comfort Zone
Let me start by saying I just reached my 10 year anniversary with my Company two months ago! Since entering the workforce I’ve stayed with the same company; however, I’ve had my fair share of job-hopping which has allowed me to push my boundaries a number of times.
Besides the rotational / training program I participated in, I have held positions in 3 distinct groups at my employer. And as you may know, I’ve been seriously considering a fourth group recently with a potentially move London (an update on this later). This would mean, on average, I’ve expanded my comfort zone through my employment and geographic location once every 3 years or so. And my moves have spanned the United States, having lived and worked in the Midwest, San Francisco, and currently Charlotte. How great would a move to London be next!?
“If you are not having doubt, you are not pushing your boundaries far enough.”
– Tony Fadell
The New Normal
Coincidentally, my experience is on par with most folks. Some studies have shown millennials job-hop 4 times in their first decade compared to just 2 for Gen Xers. However, other studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that millennials job-hop on par with Baby Boomers. So while there are conflicting reports as to whether millennials job-hop more than previous generations, one thing is for sure… job-hopping is common!
But allow me to provide a for-warning to new folks entering the workforce. Resumes filled with 1-2 year stints can lead some HR managers to be wary of the motivation, skill level, engagement on the job and ability to get along with others. Job instability on a resume could come at the cost of the dream job!
The key is to be strategic with your job-hopping. With the right context, a scattershot resume may demonstrate ambition, motivation and the desire to learn new skills more than flakiness.
That has been my approach as a 10+ year banker. My first job switch was after 2 years and was to gain new experiences with larger clients. I thought it was important to be in my first job 2 years before I begin a new search and timing worked out well.
My next gig is when I took advantage of my Company’s tuition reimbursement program to cover a large chunk of my MBA. Shortly after earning my MBA I took my next leap outside of my comfort zone. This was about two and half years after my first switch. The purpose for this switch was to take advantage of having just earned my MBA and earn a higher wage, expand my experiences to bank more large publicly traded companies and complex transactions. I’ve been in this current gig for about 5 years now, although with a series of promotions and expanded job responsibilities.
Each move was strategic and gave me experiences to build on!
“Great things never came from comfort zones.”
Benefits of Expanding Comfort Zones
We all have our own comfort zone. It is the routine of our daily life. It is familiarity, safety and security. It keeps us comfortable, calm and emotionally even. It is a natural adaptation that we experience throughout much of our lives.
But stepping outside of our comfort zone is when we grow, transition and transform.
A little stress and anxiety every now and then can be good too. It can give us new experiences, challenges and risks. And regardless of the ultimate outcome, taking risks provide growth experiences. After all, FAIL can be re-framed as “first attempt in learning”.
According to Dr. Brenner in her article on the psychological benefits of stepping outside our comfort zones:
“Your real life is out there waiting for you. Your real life exists beyond the bubble of your own personal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Your real life is the sum total of ALL of your experiences, not just the one’s you’re comfortable with.”
Adapting to a New Comfort Zone
“Don’t settle for the mediocre just to avoid stepping out of your comfort zone; it’s too big a price to pay.”
With all that, it is time for me to once again expand my comfort zone. A lot of details still need to fall into place for my wife and me to make the decision to move to London. Unfortunately it has drug out for a while which leads to uncertainty. We haven’t really minded it being drug out a bit since we’re expecting our second kiddo in early April and we’d like to have the baby here.
But now London seems to be on hold. Not gone altogether, but with internal re-organization in process the dynamic has changed significantly (typical large corporate re-orgs…). It’s a shame, but now it gives us a time period to reflect on our options and how much we really want London. After having time to reflect and we still want to entertain a move to London, then with persistence I think we can make it happen. It will just take some time to let the re-org take effect, but we can make it work. How long? Don’t know, maybe a few months, maybe a year. But patience has never been my strong-suit…
How have you pushed boundaries and stepped outside your comfort zone? Is it time for your next move to further grow and develop? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Thanks for taking a look!
The Green Swan