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Is it time to step outside of your comfort zone?

Updated: Feb 10, 2021

With the economic challenges and uncertainly of the pandemic, we’ve all had the rug pulled from under us. Our normal way of life, our familiar way of working, changed overnight. We’ve been forced to step outside our comfort zone into the unknown.

As a result, a new, more efficient and environmentally friendly way of working has been discovered, as people switch their daily commute to the office to one within the four walls of their home. 2020 taught us many lessons - to expect the unexpected and to find solutions. It taught us to be mindful of the moment, to appreciate the world that we live in.

But what if we could take these learnings and step out of the comfort zone in our careers?

Over the past twelve months, many of us have had time to reflect, time to ponder on where we want to be, and what we want next in life. Upskilling is a term we’re all hearing more and more about as we adapt to a ‘new’ way of working in a world that has changed so rapidly. There has never been a more relevant time for learning, to not only future proof and safeguard our own career opportunities, but our health and wellbeing, our environment and our local community.

In Scotland, many skills and traditions are passed down through generations and with barriers to learning often getting in the way, many were on the cusp of being lost for good. However, with a rapidly growing trend in upskilling, adapting, and appreciating that there are opportunities to be had through embracing technology and harnessing new skills, there is a bright future for many.

But stepping out of our comfort zones, is no mean feat. There are indeed many ‘zones’ that we move through to achieve our goals.

The Comfort Zone model, originally created by Alasdair White in 2009 explains this process perfectly. Our comfort zone is exactly that, comfortable. We feel safe and in control, but to grow, that’s when we must take a step into the unknown and tackle head-on uneasy feelings, such as lack of self-confidence and the ‘what-if’s’. For learning to take place, and to ultimately grow, we have to acquire new skills through dealing with challenges and problems (some of which we won’t always have the answers to or get right first time).

Each step we make into a new area, our comfort zone expands with us that little bit more. It’s not always a quick process but stepping out the other side is when the good stuff happens. We can find a purpose, live our dreams. In the uncertain times we live in, it's comforting to know that the emotions we go through when learning and growing are normal, and that acquiring a new skill really can open a wealth of opportunity for our future, whatever that may hold.

Article by K. Cowan, SkillSeeder 2021

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