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Daily Buzz: The Perils of Breaking Out of Your Comfort Zone

Working outside your comfort zone can have adverse effects

You’ve heard it before: The first step in achieving growth, be it professional or otherwise, is to step outside your comfort zone. But stretching yourself too far can have consequences.

Andy Molinsky, a professor of organizational behavior at Brandeis University and the author of Reach, said in an interview with Fast Company that there are three zones of comfort. The first is aptly titled your comfort zone, where the situation is familiar and you’re experiencing little to no anxiety. The next is your “stretch” zone, where you’re experiencing anxiety but at a level where you can turn it into motivation.

“When the threshold overtakes your capacity to handle it, that would be your panic zone,” said Molinsky.

When people talk about growth, Molinsky said moving into your stretch zone gives the optimal level of discomfort, whereas working in a panic zone can lead to excessive stress or a toxic work environment.

“There is no surefire way [to push yourself], but what you can do is increase the odds for success,” he said. “If you are able to succeed, then you are able to take the leap and perhaps even have some success with it, you’re able to benefit from [stretching outside your comfort zone]. That’s where you start to really develop a sense of self-efficacy, and you can benefit from learning—whereas if you avoid a situation or you choose something so far outside of your comfort zone and create panic, you’re going to create conditions for failure.”

Please select this link to read the original article from Associations Now.

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