How Leaving Your Comfort Zone Is Key to Growth and Success


Comfort is overrated. 

It doesn’t guarantee happiness. It doesn't guarantee stability. Comfort actually can make us lazy. Many people are so comfortable they’re miserable. You may think that comfort leads to happiness. It doesn’t. Happiness comes from growth and feeling like you are making progress. Think about it: Have you ever accomplished anything amazing, while in auto pilot? Probably not. 

You can either be comfortable and become stagnant or stretch yourself — become uncomfortable — and grow.  I'm here to tell you... choose the latter.

"In an increasingly competitive and accelerated world, those who are willing to take risks, step out of their comfort zone and into the discomfort of uncertainty are often those who reap the biggest rewards [and find success.]" - Margie Warrell, Forbes

Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. It makes us yearn for something more. It forces us to change and adapt. Discomfort is a sign we’re advancing our lives. Breaking a habit, trying something new, taking a risk, making new connections, or putting yourself in a totally new situation isn't every easy, but it’s worth it. 

When I first left my parents’ home in Houston, Texas at twenty three to move to New York City, I was anxious, nervous, excited, and of course terrified. Here I was, working on a contract gig, that ended in 8 weeks with only my savings and two suitcases to get by. I knew one person, my roommate, but I had only visited New York once prior and hadn't even seen the the apartment I would be moving into. I was  completely outside of my comfort zone. When I arrived, I learned so many things (through trial and error) -- including the subway system, the challenges of living in a five story walk-up, that A/C nor washing and dryers were considered standard amenities, and countless more. Fast forward five years and I've grown accustomed to the fast pace life of a New Yorker. I have my own apartment four blocks from Central Park -- with an elevator (Thank God!), I have grown my career and expertise exponentially, and now lead my own team, doing a job I love, and I have established life long friendships and business relationships beyond the one person I moved here knowing. While I've had more than my fair share of ups and downs along the way, the one thing that has proven true time and time again, is that no worthwhile aspiration or endeavor can be accomplished from within my comfort zone. Only in giving up the security of the known can we create new opportunities, become more capable, and grow our lives and careers.  


Trust me, no one likes feeling uncomfortable, but it’s a big part of improving your life. The challenge is to get past that initial feeling of wanting to return to the norm, so you can benefit from the discomfort. When you try a new exercise routine for the first time, you know it's going to hurt, you're going to be tired, but once you push yourself to finish the workout, you feel so much better afterwards. The expression, “no pain, no gain” is not only true in the gym, but it's true in life as well. 

Throughout our lives and careers we must continually assess whether we are letting our fear of failure  keep us from taking the actions, and engaging in the conversations, that will move us forward and make the impact we desire. Of course, being willing to take a risk doesn’t mean everything you try will work out

But as John F. Kennedy once said, "Nothing worthwhile has ever been accomplished with a guarantee of success." Nothing ever will be.

Envision your life, five, ten, fifteen years from now.

    If you knew that no matter what happened, you could handle it, what actions would you take, what conversations would you have that you’ve been putting off, where would you step out more fully and boldly in your own life - and in doing so, open up the possibility for new opportunities, relationships, and ideas?

    Envision your life, five, ten, fifteen years from now -- and ask yourself :

    1. What do I want to be doing?
    2. Who do I want to be doing it with?
    3. Where do I want to be in life/career/relationships?
    4. When am I going to leave my comfort zone?
    5.  Why am I waiting to make my dreams a reality?