How to Move From Your Comfort Zone to the Growth Zone

How to Move From Your Comfort Zone to the Growth Zone

At no point would an athlete training for a podium finish say, “I’m happy with this level” and stop pushing to beat their next personal best. Quitting would be counterproductive, given that their competitors are still pushing the boundaries to win, but it’s also a waste of an opportunity to see just what they are capable of. This is what growth is all about: Moving past what’s comfortable and expanding your skill, gaining even more strength and ability to rise to the top and see greater success.

Just like any athlete pushing hard to reach their next level, you also have a comfort zone in your business that you’ll need to escape in order to reach the growth zone.

Remaining in your comfort zone isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you like where you are and are happy with the results you are achieving. If you are not happy with your business performance or are feeling stuck, you’ll need to push to move forward, or risk plateauing and compromising your business growth.

Moving into the growth zone is an important step forward, but only if you’re ready and there’s nothing holding you back. Fear is your biggest blocking agent right now.

There are plenty of reasons why your business might not be ready for growth but more often than not, it’s business owners who are holding their businesses back from entering into the growth zone. I see this with my business coaching clients a lot. No matter how much potential they have to be truly great, if they are not ready for growth mentally or in terms of their business set-up and materials, the brakes will be applied because the risks seem too big. It’s an understandable fear but there are some simple and effective strategies you can apply to overcome it.

In order to blast through the comfort zone into the growth zone, you’ll need concrete, actionable strategies that can help overcome your reluctance. Actionable steps are more than just vague motivational instructions to “dig deeper” or “understand your purpose”, these are tangible and measurable steps that are structured to move you in a specific direction.

A great byproduct of moving away from your comfort zone and achieving new skills in the growth zone is that your comfort zone expands. As you learn and master new things they become known and automatic skills can fall back without any thought or effort. Something that would have scared you a year ago may be something you’re adept at now, but only because you challenged yourself and accomplished something you never thought possible. This gives you an edge over business owners who are sitting stagnant in their comfort zone.

To embrace a growth mindset, you need to be prepared to face risk and fear as well as agree to learn even more in order to move forward. Staying small is fine if you’re happy, but if not, what are you going to do about it? Growth doesn’t happen on its own: you need to put in the work.

What are the comfort and growth zones?

A comfort zone is when you don’t feel a lot of pressure and you don’t have to contend with anything new. According to Positive Psychology, in this state, a person is “anxiety-neutral”. You know everything that is happening around you and your pattern of movement is mostly predictable and dependable. It’s a place of limited risks that equals limited rewards. While it’s not exactly trail-blazing, a lot of business owners don’t feel a lot of motivation to move out of this zone.

The growth zone is where you can set new goals, live your dreams and self-actualise. Of course, with doing anything new there is learning, trial and error and a few backwards steps, but once you get the hang of things, it’s all systems go. Because of that learning curve, there is a risk that you might lose time and money as you find your footing, however, the benefits of the growth zone are incredible if you have the courage to push through into it.

As well as growing your business and accelerating your wealth, you also grow personally as you adapt to new challenges and prove to yourself you have what it takes to meet your goals.

In terms of mindset, it’s incredibly rewarding to have the belief and assurance in yourself that you can handle a few rough seas. In your comfort zone, you don’t necessarily feel challenged by your work. You can take it easy, complete things leisurely, and you don’t feel the need to change your routine and get into the headache or panic of having to learn new things. In the growth zone, you may feel the opposite.

It’s normal to feel a sense of struggle or get frustrated trying to wrap your head around changes to your systems, and while this is the part that has many business owners quitting and scuttling back to the comfort zone, pushing through these negative feelings is exactly what the growth zone is, proving to yourself that you can make it.

It is necessary to face challenges head-on rather than avoid change so that you can learn and grow both personally, as a leader and as a business owner.

How do you know you are in a growth zone?

Getting into the growth zone starts by assessing where you are and where you want to be. When you figure out what easy and comforting habits and routines you’re falling back onto you can start to formulate a plan that tackles how to change your habits as a business owner. That much alone is enough to start you on a path where you actively adopt new habits for better performance and results.

Finding what makes your day-to-day comfortable will help you figure out what you need to change in order to find new ways to learn and grow. 

My way of checking to know if I’m targeting a growth pattern is to think of my goal. If I feel nervous excitement I know that’s a challenge that I need to be taking. The image below shows why that nervous excitement exists and how it’s a great indicator that you are on the right path to growth and achievement.

What’s holding you back from achieving growth?

Where do you start looking to determine what’s keeping you from growing? The answer is Inside. You can look at finances, business processes and assets later, but right now, it’s all in your head.

More often than not, it’s business owners who are holding their businesses back, you need to look internally first to figure out your mindset. Do you really believe you are capable and worthy of success?

If there is any shadow of doubt in your belief in your ability or your self-worth, it’s going to stop you from pressing forward.

To get to the growth zone, you have to move past the fear zone and the learning zone. Fear and learning can both be daunting because having to deal with anxieties, overcome mistakes (how embarrassing) and learn new things can be frustrating and frightening. It’s important to know your worth and be confident in your abilities, even when you’re faced with challenges.

There are times when you may feel like you’re self-sabotaging your own success. You probably are. Fear-avoidance can be strong but it’s also normal. The truth is the only thing you fear is the feeling of being afraid, nothing else can really go drastically wrong. Your goal doesn’t need to be overly risky or stupid, it can just be the next logical step in your business growth.

Even though it doesn’t feel like it, staying in the comfort zone long-term is the biggest risk you can take with your business. Even though you might see predictable results, it’s not the same as progressive growth. You risk levelling out on a plateau and stopping yourself from learning new things while your competitors who are in the growth zone surge ahead of you.

The other sticking point with the comfort zone is it gets harder to move out of it the longer you’ve been there. Without ongoing practice, you start to doubt your ability to handle even small uncertainties or risks. The longer you stay in the comfort zone, the riskier it seems to move away.

‍To get unstuck, go back to your Why. Your business Why is incredibly powerful and motivating. It’s one thing that I tell my coaching clients to do: keep that Why front of mind to help you feel less anxious about moving forward. The other thing to do is hold tight to the rewards, there are plenty of them. When you can outweigh the reward against the risk it makes it easier to convince yourself to get moving, and take action.

‍Moving out of your comfort zone is scary, but it comes with a load of benefits that will equip you to handle adversity, see things with more flexibility and become a more successful business owner.

‍Here are just some of the big benefits coming your way in the growth zone:

Personal and professional growth

  • More innovation and creative thinking
  • A lesson in humility (but also a confidence boost)
  • Better problem solving and adaptability
  • Building a wider network
  • Earning valuable contacts

‍These things come from moving away from what’s comfortable and towards what can make you a better, stronger business owner.

5 ways you can move towards growth

‍In order to start getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself forward, follow these five steps to get from where you are to where you want to be.

  1. Change up your daily routine

Start by shaking up your usual routine. Challenge yourself to build new ones that are focused on change and success. Take a different route or transport method to work, who knows, you might find a faster or cheaper way to get there.

You need to build a daily routine to succeed but not just any old routine, one that is geared to keep you ahead. By changing things up and experimenting with different ways to work you can set up a routine that keeps your efficiency and productivity high and gives you access to that elusive work/life balance.

As well as that you’ll get to see things from a different perspective and help you move in different ways, ways that aren’t exactly comfortable all the time. Comfort is a big part of having a routine, so changing it up can bring about new ideas and a new mindset.

Altering small things like how long you get ready or making big changes like putting away social media for the majority of the day can help you be more deliberate with your actions and decisions and even discover new ideas or goals.

  1. Diversify your circle and challenge your beliefs

Expanding your circle and finding new people from different businesses or industries can bring new viewpoints and learning opportunities. As well as great networking, new contacts can also become potential partners or even help with advice on where to take your business. Paying attention to other successful business routines, even from different industries, can give you some ideas on how you can tweak your own daily routine and get better results.

Your network isn’t limited to people either, there are plenty of ways to tap into mentors and other points of view through expanding what you read and what youtube channels and podcasts you follow. Read new books or articles outside of your interests to challenge your values and beliefs or maybe see them in a new light. Our beliefs can get pretty bogged in sometimes and they aren’t always healthy or correct, so shaking your beliefs up can be a great way to see what sticks and what you can shed for new and more empowering ones.

‍Constantly telling yourself from a young age that you aren’t capable of pushing past a certain point can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Refuting it just once won’t change that, you need to keep the pressure up and prove yourself wrong, so don’t give up on it after just a few tries, give that growth zone another push.

  1. Grow your skill set

Finding a new skill, or developing one you already have but feel you can be better at, can be the first step to full-time growth. Baby steps are important for creating achievable, realistic action steps as you upskill yourself and find new things you can master.

‍The skills you work on might be business-related, like public speaking, writing your newsletters more eloquently, or even working on soft skills with your employee relationships. You can also make changes on a personal level; learning to play an instrument, cooking new foods or mastering a different language.

Not only will growing your skill set result in self-affirming changes, but you also increase your confidence, resilience and your satisfaction with your daily tasks and activities and business progress.

  1. Look into neuroplasticity

There is a deeper science at play when it comes to internalising your growth mindset and making positive changes stick: it’s called neuroplasticity and it’s a game-changer.

Neuroplasticity is the ability of the brain and the neurons to adapt when it comes to different experiences. It’s when neurons and connections are activated depending on the circumstances. Interactions with our environment help the brain make changes to neural pathways to make us better at rewiring ourselves.

Neuroplasticity allows and encourages us to learn new things by activating the neurons and making it easier for us to retain information through information processing that continually reorganises, depending on our changing needs. Some natural connections will be discarded because they’re no longer in use, but they can still be activated with enough stimulation from your environment, which is why you’ll never forget how to ride a bike, even if you don’t sit on one for 20 years. Taking that first step towards something new isn’t as scary when you know that your brain can still reorganise previous attempts and accommodate the change.

  1. Get a business coach

What if you are still stuck in a stagnant zone? If all you can see are problems and risks, you might really struggle to find the internal motivation to overcome your anxiety and move away from the familiar. What you need is someone outside your bubble to help show you some options, opportunities and pathways you can’t see from inside. That’s where a good business coach comes in. They can be your cheer squad and that voice of encouragement you might be missing internally but also the much-needed voice outside your bubble of trouble, who can see the way out clearly and provide you with the right amount of pressure to get things going.

Hiring a business coach can make all the difference, especially if you’re still uncertain about the new path you want to take. If you don’t trust your own decisions, a business coach can back you up, reassure you of your choices and remind you of your goals. Their job is to look out for you and support you. Look for a business coach that has actually owned businesses successfully themselves so you know you are getting solid advice from someone who knows where you are coming from.

What if things go wrong? This is the risk we face in the growth zone, that something will fall over. Personally, I get a bit excited now when things don’t go to plan because it means bigger growth and bigger learning and an even better reward when you rebuild it back up again.

Resilience is the art of picking yourself up, dusting off and moving on, and that’s where a business coach can help you out as well; by staying calm and steering you back to a productive path so you can get through challenges quickly and more easily, without the emotional turmoil.

Moving away from your comfort zone can be daunting but it’s necessary in order to become a better business owner. You can ease that anxiety by surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who may be going through the same thing and getting someone you trust from outside your bubble to act as your guide. Join our group of business owners at The Business Evolution and be part of the conversation towards growth and success.