Merge's Blog

Step outside your comfort zone

LobsterResizedAs long-time readers of this blog know, I am a huge advocate of the importance of pushing yourself to step outside your comfort zone as it is the only way to learn and grow, both as an individual as well as an organization.  Why Does the Lobster Cast Off Its Shell? is the title of both my flagship keynote as well as my first book, and both are based on this very premise – in order to continue to grow and develop, you must be willing to step outside your existing boundaries and take calculated risks; to not do so means stagnation and eventual demise.

The challenge of course lies in developing the courage to take the leap, and in acquiring the skills and abilities to actually pull it off.  So here are three ideas to do exactly that:

  • Focus on what’s in it for you.  If you push yourself to network more, speak publicly, volunteer to spearhead a change initiative – how could that help you advance your career?  If there’s a clear personal payoff, it makes it easier to make the first move.
  • Take it one small step at a time.  If you’re an introvert, make it a goal at the next company function to talk to two people you’ve never met before.  Two won’t seem as overwhelming as twenty!
  • Don’t talk yourself out of it.  If you find it difficult to speak up, it’s far easier to convince yourself that it’s just not worth it to make your point.  Oh … no one is interested, they’ve already made up their minds, my opinion won’t really impact the final outcome – these are all easy excuses to persuade yourself to keep quiet.  Watch out for this trap and deliberately avoid it.

So what ideas do you have to add to this list?  What are you doing to ensure that you are pushing the envelope and stretching yourself to grow and develop, both as an individual and as an organization?  Please share by adding a Comment below.

P.S. If you want a short version of the Lobster “story”, here is the Mega Minute that I wrote back in October 2002 that eventually gave rise to the book and keynote: A life’s lesson from a lobster.

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