(Revised version of Comfort Zone: The Birthplace of Success)
I want to debunk one of the more prominent motivational metaphors . . .
“Success exists outside of your comfort zone”
Nope! I disagree.
First, the mental construct of a singular “comfort zone” is restrictive and illogical. You don’t have ONE comfort zone, you have many. At home with family, or guests (two “zones”), At work with peers, clients, prospective clients, your boss (Four more zones), Skill sets: public speaking, technical writing, negotiating, resolving conflict, managing teams, managing projects . . . . (another six)
Further, success ONLY exists in a comfort zone. Success outside of a comfort zone is luck. I have no comfort with bull fighting, should I compete as a matador tonight and expect success?.
You don’t scurry from the protection of one comfort zone to weather the elements like a frantic rat and expect success for doing so. You BUILD your comfort zones like real-estate tycoons build developments. You then enjoy unimpeded access to and from these zones.
Comfort zones are not the hiding places of the frail and feeble. They are the structures designed from your imagination, financed with your time, and constructed with your sweat.
There is no limit to what comfort zones you can build. If your passion leads you to the drafting board and guides your hand in sketching it. Build! Your construction project will progressively generate the rent of comfort at a rate consistent with the amount of resources you apply.
If your existing comfort zones bear fruit that fulfills you – enjoy this comfort without sensing that you should “leave your comfort zone.” After all, “comfort” is a luxury that we seek and not a status from which to escape. No motivational theory should attempt to shame you into believing that you have a personality flaw. You are content for a reason – “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.”
However, if you are dissatisfied with your personal or professional life, selecting and then constructing a new comfort zone may be a viable option. When you build new comfort zones, you expand your horizons, and the universe opens partitions of itself that are closed to the public. However, there is no award to the person who achieves the widest horizon. An alternative is to deepen your horizons by repairing or enhancing the relationships you have in your existing comfort zones. Repairing what you have may be better than taking on a new construction; however, we often choose the latter because it is emotionally “cleaner” – be thoughtful when you weigh this option.
Always build new comfort zones based on a thoughtful, deliberate, and measured thought process that serves your life priorities.
I emphasize this because we live in a world that relentlessly shoves the “more is always better than less” adage down our throats. I have found the opposite to be true more often. You only have 168 hours in a week – the decision on how to spend those hours, enjoying your existing comfort zones or building new ones, will ultimately define you and your legacy. (no pressure, 😉