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Push the limits of your comfort zone

2 min, 9 sec read
10:30 AM | 27 February 2015
by Lars Bjornbakk
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When I started studying advertising I wasn’t much of a public speaker. Being a introvert by nature, I didn’t want to draw too much attention to myself. However, my lecturers wanted me to leave my confort zone.

I had a teacher who said “the best learning and development happens when you tread out of your comfort zone”. This stuck with me.

As I found presenting in front of strangers very uncomfortable. I decided to test out his advice; leading me to presenting almost every brief. I quite quickly realised that becoming more comfortable with the uncomfortable opened my eyes to new possibilities. This gave me a boost of confidence to try and try again when I failed, always aiming for the success of becoming better.

"…quickly realised that becoming more comfortable with the uncomfortable opened my eyes to new possibilities…"

When talking about comfort zone, it is a bit hard to define. It is definitely a very individual subject. The Oxford Dictionary defines it as a situation where you feel safe; and as a method of working that requires little effort.

Well, we are lazy at times. We want to stick with what we know. We just want to do our stuff. But there is little learning within you comfort zone. You might excuse being within your comfort zone to achieve perfection. But to do that you have to try out new techniques and look for new perspectives.

One thing I found challenging to start with was actively seeking feedback. This was especially hard for me when I worked with strategy. I tended to drown myself in work, being locked in my own head working out ideas and approaches. At that point everything usually made sense to me and I didn’t really want to show my work until it was done. But I started doing so. Asking people; what do you think about this approach, and just pitching the context?

The quality of my work got substantially better after this point. I didn’t need to do what was exactly suggested by others, but I used the feedback as inspiration and seriously consider what they said; critically assessing my own work.

"…you’ll learn to take bad feedback professionally rather then personally…"

Pushing the limits can be an uncomfortable experience at the beginning, but you’ll grow to crave feedback and you’ll learn to take bad feedback professionally rather then personally.

Do things you normally wouldn’t do. Explore what you don’t find immediately interesting. And most of all get uncomfortable. That’s where the exiting stuff happens.

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