It's a phrase used by many motivational speakers, business coaches, religious leaders and others:
The comfort zone is the danger zone!
It may seem like a catchy phrase, but the fact is… it's true!
Whether you're a business leader, a sales person, an employee in virtually any line of work, someone trying to live out their faith, or a job seeker… trying to accomplish what needs to be done while only doing those things that are easy and comfortable for you is a recipe for mediocrity or failure!
We never accomplish as much as we'd like when we only do the things that don't test us, or stretch us, or challenge us, or generally make us feel out of our "element". It's only when we go beyond our normal routines, our sweet spots, and our "no brainer" abilities that we get ahead and achieve things that are beyond the norm.
As a recruiter, the same principle applies in my own work. When I go from day to day simply doing the things I know best to do, my performance and results generally lag. It's when I am constantly curious and willing to try new strategies and be more creative that I get better results. Sometimes getting out of my comfort zone means that I have to dig deeper into my well of self-discipline to work harder and longer than I'd like in order to achieve the results I need. Sometimes it means being willing to make awkward calls or contacts that can be somewhat stressful to move things forward when they seem "stuck". Sometimes it means having unpleasant conversations with someone to address things that may be a concern. There are a multitude of things that I'd prefer to avoid, but are necessary to achieve my objectives.
This principle can be especially important when it comes to a job search. Effective job search strategies are outside most people's comfort zones. Very few people develop skills to be a great job seeker, because it's not necessary for most of their careers… they are busy working, and don't take time to learn how to pursue a new job effectively. That's natural and expected. However, when they are laid-off, or simply decide to pursue something new they are thrown into a process that feels very foreign and unnatural to them.
Most job seekers fall into a routine for their search that requires very little stretching beyond what they feel comfortable doing. They search for jobs online and submit applications. It doesn't take a lot of "sticking their neck out", but it also yields very few results!
Taking the initiative to network, reaching out to company contacts and potential hiring managers over the phone and in person takes courage for most people. It doesn't feel comfortable, but yields dramatically better results in the long run.
Making sure to put in enough time each day and setting daily goals to achieve the desired results is uncomfortable but critical to shortening the job search.
The more you feel like you're pushing yourself and challenging yourself each day to do the things that may feel unnatural to you, but are effective, the greater likelihood you will land that new job sooner!
Living only in that comfort zone is a dangerous place to be. Challenge yourself to step out and try something new. You'll likely be glad you did!