If you are pretty sure you tend to act outside of your comfort zone I have some bad news…you probably don’t. The reality of facing a situation that is outside your comfort zone will hit you like a bucket of ice water in the face. You can’t deny it’s presence. You will never be “pretty sure” you are outside your comfort zone. It is a feeling that cannot be ignored. Once you feel the discomfort in your heart and gut, or start listing the litany of excuses as to why you should not do something, you will know you are face to face with it.
Once you are willing to take the plunge out of your comfort zone here are 4 reasons why doing it will make you a better leader:
1. It Will Spur Growth
Gaining a new perspective on things is growth. Perspective is what happens if you operate outside your comfort zone. If you take this step and try, you will be able to articulate first hand why something is or is not for you or why something will or will not work. As a leader, perspective will allow you to tackle situations unemotionally, which is the state of mind in which decisions should be made. Step outside your comfort zone and grow.
2. It Will Provide an Example Others Want to Emulate
Leading by example inspires. See the gains you make personally by operating outside your comfort zone. Now imagine the ripple effect on your organization as others seek to emulate your courage and leave their safe spaces to pursue the next level of greatness.
3. You Will Master the Most Underused, But Perhaps Most Important, Leadership Trait: Empathy
Empathy is powerful when it comes to leadership. While displaying empathy is good at all levels, some displays can be more powerful than others. For example, we can truly empathize if someone is feeling fear because we have felt fear before. But if you as a leader understands WHY that person is afraid, your ability to empathize will be much more powerful, especially when it comes to acting outside of our comfort zone. Understanding “why” provides a much deeper connection and greater ability to guide someone through a difficult time. But you will never master this as a leader if you have not been there yourself. Be the rare leader who is unafraid and masters the ability to empathize from a place of understanding “why.”
4. Your Team Will Be Able to Accomplish Amazing Feats
When you combine numbers 1–3 you end up here. You will set high goals for your team because you understand the growth that comes from operating outside your comfort zone. You will set a positive example for your team and they will be willing to follow you outside of their comfort zones. As a team tacking an awe-inspiring project, not everyone will have the necessary courage. But as the leader, you will be able to identify those who are struggling, show empathy from the place of understanding why, and guide them through all the emotions they are feeling that have always prevented them from leaving their own comfort zone. Then watch the magic happen!
Comfort, security, and safety are things we all want and should have. However, nothing great ever happened from a place of comfort and safety. Great things happen outside this space, outside the comfort zone. To achieve the comfort, security, and safety we all want we must step outside our comfort zone to get it!
Errol Doebler is the founder of Ice Cold Leader, a leadership consulting firm. After successful careers as a Navy SEAL Platoon Commander and FBI Special Agent, Errol founded Ice Cold Leader to realize his passion of empowering great leaders and better human beings. Ice Cold Leader provides executive coaching, keynote speaking, and corporate retreats to individuals and teams across the world.
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