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Posts Tagged ‘comfort zone’

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Flatten the curve, a term many of us weren’t familiar with until a few weeks ago.  Now we know all too well flattening the curve means social distancing, in order to slow the spread of a virus.  We have been asked to change the way we live, work, eat, play, etc.  Almost immediately, our daily routines have been turned upside down and we are all reacting to it differently.  Many are heeding the advice to alter life as we know it.  Others are ignoring the call to urgency or choosing to live in denial.  Some people are struggling with the rapid changes.  No matter how we are responding to this, we are all trying to understand what this will mean in the weeks, months, and years to come. 

Growing our comfort zone while flattening the curve is a unique situation but it can be done.  Many of us are probably already being stretched simply because we are not working outside our homes, we are spending 24/7 with our families, or we are being charged with homeschooling our children.  We don’t have the luxury of going out to dinner, visiting with friends, or taking in a movie or sporting event like we are accustomed to doing.  These are unprecedented times that we will likely not have to navigate again in our lifetime but can help us to grow and learn. 

In order for us to not just get through this challenging time but to thrive we must be open to growing our comfort zones.  I think this could be an opportunity to get used to being comfortable while being uncomfortable.  What is a comfort zone and how do we grow it?  Merriam-Webster defines comfort zone as “the level at which one functions with ease and familiarity”.  It’s a place you feel like you are in control of your surroundings and you are hesitant to make a change.  As we embrace change and try new things we begin to stretch, expand, and grow.  Are you going to need a shove or a nudge for this growth?  It’s true, most people don’t like change.  People tend to be perfectly content keeping with what they know and following status quo.  In order for us to not only get through this challenging time but to thrive we must be open to growing our comfort zones. 

I encourage you to view this time as an opportunity.  An opportunity to focus on your family and yourself.  Embrace the slower pace.  Re-evaluate your routines and seek to try new things or do things differently.  Allow yourself to think outside the box because the way we function over the coming weeks will forever change our lives and the world we live in.  Do your part to flatten the curve and grow your comfort zone!

Written by: Lorrissa Dunfee, OSU Extension Educator, Belmont County, dunfee.54@osu.edu

Reviewed by: Alisha Barton, OSU Extension Educator, Miami County, barton.345@osu.edu

References:

Godoy, M. (2020, March 13). Flattening A Pandemics Curve: Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives. Retrieved March 23, 2020, from https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/03/13/815502262/flattening-a-pandemics-curve-why-staying-home-now-can-save-lives

Comfort Zone. (n.d.). Retrieved March 23, 2020, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/comfort zone

Photo Credit: https://pixabay.com/illustrations/network-round-hand-write-circle-1987214/

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Comfort zone is a concept that has kept reoccurring in different workshops, trainings, and conferences I have attended over the past couple years. In fact, our 2019 OSU Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Conference was titled “Growing Our Comfort Zones.” Though not a new concept to me, some people have probably not considered if or how often they get out of their comfort zone. Over the past few years, I have been questioning and ultimately growing my comfort zone through a variety of experiences, opportunities, and challenges.

For about 22 years, I was comfortable and content in my position as an exercise physiologist. Aside from a rare emergency, I pretty much knew what my day would look like even before I got out of bed. Now, every day of the week might look different depending on my schedule. This change took some adjusting, but I enjoy the variety now. I have grown more in the last few years than I had the previous 2 decades. Things that I would have never done, I don’t give a thought. While a few years may sound like a short time to some, it feels like a lifetime to me.

When the keynote speaker for our conference asked for a volunteer to help illustrate some of her points, I raised my hand. You see, while I am not exactly comfortable in front of a group, especially administrators and colleagues from around the state, I do like to have fun. I have learned to volunteer early, because the crowd is usually more forgiving. We performed an activity one way, then she changed it around to illustrate how being open to possibilities allows for so much more opportunities than defaulting to no. When we are open to new ideas, experiences, opportunities, and challenges, we are more likely to learn and grow as individuals, teams, and organizations.

This idea of moving out of your comfort zone might be easier said than done. For some people, the thought of doing something new or out of the ordinary may seem overwhelming, even paralyzing, while to others, it is exciting and exhilarating. What might be exciting to one person, might already be routine for another. We are all on a different journey and that is OK. More importantly, no matter what your comfort zone may be, you should continually look for ways to expand it.

Take me for instance, if someone had told me 4 years ago that I would present at the Ohio Statehouse and at national conferences in front of my peers, or apply for a leadership program that would require me to travel across the country and even to another country alone, I would have told them they were crazy! But, I have indeed done all of these things and SOOO much more. Things that I used to fear or that would make me nauseated before, no longer elicit this response. THIS is how you grow your comfort zone! Now, things that were not even on my radar, are the things that make me nervous. As I am able to grow my comfort zone, eventually, they too will no longer cause this reaction.

There are some valid reasons for getting out of your comfort zone. Stephen Schramm shares these:

  • Unlock your hidden talents
  • Know you won’t be perfect
  • Be ready for the future

According to Ann Latham, here are 16 more reasons you should get out of your comfort zone:

  • It won’t be as bad as you expect
  • Egos heal
  • No one is paying that much attention to you
  • Others are scared too
  • People with no more talent and no less fear than you are successfully doing the thing you are avoiding
  • There is no better way to grow
  • You might discover something you love
  • New challenges and experiences rewire your brain and make it more adaptable, stronger, and healthier
  • You will boost your self-confidence
  • You will be proud that you took the leap
  • Each milestone makes it easier to tackle another milestone
  • You will be more promotable and/or will earn more money
  • You will learn that failure is rare because the most common outcomes are success, learning, and growth
  • As your comfort zone expands, you will see new opportunities previously obscured by barriers of your own making
  • You will become more resilient and prepared for whatever comes your way
  • It could change your life by opening doors you never knew were there

So, if you are ready to expand your comfort zone, Andy Molinsky suggests you do these things:

  • First, be honest with yourself
  • Then, make the behavior your own
  • Finally, take the plunge

Leave us a comment about how you get out of or how you have expanded your comfort zone.

Written by: Misty Harmon, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Perry County

Reviewed by: Jenny Lobb, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator, Ohio State University Extension Franklin County

Photo Credit:

Sources:

Latham, A. (2018.) 16 Reasons Why You Should Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone Now. Forbes. Retrieved from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/annlatham/2018/04/11/16-reasons-why-you-should-get-out-of-your-comfort-zone-now/#29b4047962e5

Molinsky, A. (2016.) If You’re Not Outside Your Comfort Zone, You Won’t Learn Anything. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2016/07/if-youre-not-outside-your-comfort-zone-you-wont-learn-anything?referral=03758&cm_vc=rr_item_page.top_right

Schramm, S. (2018.) Reasons to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone. Duke Today. Retrieved from: https://www.today.duke.edu/2018/10/reasons-get-out-your-comfort-zone

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