The Three Comfort Zones

Growth is the intentional expansion of your comfort zone. We all have three comfort zones: our past comfort zone, our present, and our future. Look at the visual aid below. Each ring of this target represents one of your comfort zones. The smallest is your past, the second is your present, and the largest is your future.

The X you see in the present comfort zone represents a challenge you used to have. An example for most people is driving. When you first started learning how to drive you were probably a little uncomfortable with the process. Think of everything you had to learn; using your blinkers, adjusting your mirrors, and checking your blindspots just to name a few. For most people this is overwhelming. And yet today you probably drove to your office across town in traffic and never even thought about it. Your comfort zone outgrew the driving challenge. Now how did you do that?

For most people, that answer is simply repetition. They just did it over and over and over again until it eventually became habitual. What I don’t imagine you did was sit and read for hours on end about proper driving techniques or watch videos of drivers performing exceptional driving techniques. You learned by doing. You learned by taking action and repeating those actions until it became second nature.

Looking at the visual aid, to the future comfort zone, and outside your present comfort zone is another little X, representing the next level of your growth. What is the thing you are currently uncomfortable with that you need to become comfortable with in order to reach the next level? For some of you, it’s lead generation. For others it’s exercise. Maybe it’s recruiting talent. You know you need to be doing something right now and you’re just not doing it. 

You can read all you want about proper technique, but you’ll never reap the benefits until you actually start doing it.

Nike got it right with their slogan, “Just Do It”. You can read all you want about proper technique but you’ll never reap the benefits until you actually start doing it. Ask yourself what that thing is you need to start doing and doing consistently until the repetition brings it into your comfort zone and you don’t even think twice about doing it anymore.

Remember again that growth is the intentional expansion of your comfort zone, and you’ve already done this more times than you can count. You’ve taken something that was daunting, frustrating, or just a plain chore in your past and made it habitual. You have something right now that is outside of your current comfort zone that you just need to make peace with. Go for it, do it, and do it repetitively. You won’t even remember why you put it off.