There are levels of comfort that we all have that set our boundaries to the things we will/will not do. This is known as our comfort zone. If the situation that we’re presented with falls within our comfort zone we are cool, calm, and collected. If the situation falls outside that comfort zone however then we start seeing problems arise. We become uncomfortable, to varying degrees depending on how far outside our comfort zone we find ourselves. In order to expand our comfort zone we need a way to push ourselves safely. This is where our growth zone comes into play. Here’s a diagram a made to help explain things better.
I used to be extremely bad with speaking in front of groups. I couldn’t do it well, and I didn’t want to do it either. My comfort zone was very small when it came to public speaking.
In my junior year of high school I was offered a positionserving as the Unit-Elections Chairman on my Order of the Arrow(OA) lodge’s committee board. I took the position as it allowed me to be more involved with the running of the lodge(plus it would look great on a college application. 😉 )
The job was supposed to involve me managing the unit-elections committee and coordinate and delegate the members to the various Boy Scout troops around the county and hold elections to elect candidates for joining the OA. After I took over I found that most of the committee members were inactive. Thus the committee consisted of me and maybe three other boys to handle the 50 odd troops that needed to have elections that spring. I ended up talking to various troops around the county, often going to several troops in a week. I quickly got used to speaking in front of small groups of people. It was a lot of work, but it was a great opportunity to grow as a person.
If you learn to find ways to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and into the growth zone you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish. Be wary of pushing yourself too far, too fast or you may get overwhelmed and find yourself in the freakout zone.