The growth zone is all about expanding your comfort zone which takes a significant shift in mindset. Frame of mind holds people back rather than any distinct lack of knowledge. According to Judith Bardwick, the comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.
Optimal level of anxiety helps us to push ourselves out from our comfort zone. Too little will keep you in the comfort zone, where boredom sets in. But too much, and you enter the ‘panic’ zone, which freezes you and stalls progress. The fear zone is the necessary bridge between comfort and learning zone. Fear can nudge you in the direction of finding excuses. It takes courage to step from the comfort zone into the fear zone. It might feel like ages but if you persevere enough and stay true to your purpose of growing, you will enter the learning zone, where you gain new skills and deal with challenges resourcefully. After a learning period, a new comfort zone is created, the one where you can reach greater heights.
The growth zone | it is the journey
In reality, the transition from the comfort zone to a growth zone may not be linear. Peaks, valleys, and plateaus often complicate the journey. Sometimes, we even need to retreat to the comfort zone periodically before mustering the strength to make the move again. Nevertheless, appreciating the steps can help in tolerating uncertainty.
How we perceive stress determines whether we will retreat to our comfort zone or these stimuli can be reframed as exciting, propelling us out of the comfort zone. Understanding neuroplasticity, how our brains are malleable and adaptable shows that we are capable not only to grow but also discontinue the limiting habits. Identify bottlenecks: areas of life where being too comfortable does more harm than good. If your comfort zone is doing more good than harm, there is no need to make the changes. Lastly, small methodical steps is the key. Every step forward is progress, no matter how small it is. It’s all about the consistency.
“You never change your life until you step out of your comfort zone; change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”
― Roy T. Bennett