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What happens when you do things differently and leave your comfort zone?

Written by Jane Maudsley on Monday, 03 December 2018. Posted in Franchise Diaries

When you step out of your comfort zone, the magic happens and you have an opportunity to really grow and be successful

What happens when you do things differently and leave your comfort zone?

We’re currently running Facebook Live training videos with experts, trusted suppliers and our franchisees each week at Little Voices HQ. The sharing of best practise and ongoing learning is a massive part of our culture at Little Voices and this has been a really good way to communicate. The feedback has been incredibly positive and monthly we’re building a catalogue of learning videos for the network that contain real franchisee stories and advice.

As a part of this, I posted a conceptual picture, depicting the idea of a comfort zone and the opportunities and feelings that come from staying put or stepping beyond it. These included everything from mediocrity to dreams, tiredness to excitement, settling to financial freedom and fear to no regrets. I was discussing it with a franchisee and asked for her thoughts on the picture and she said it was interesting and talked to me about the magic found when you step out of your comfort zone.

I was fascinated by her response and asked what she meant by magic. She replied: “Let’s face it. It’s really cosy, safe and warm to stay in the comfort zone – it’s the easy option. But when you do the stuff that you dread or fear, you find magic.” 

So what is that comfort zone for you? What jobs does it include? What do you happily do every week? I’ve written a list of all the stuff that I love doing. Funnily enough there are many things that I’m not so keen on contained within my extensive to-do list. I tend to push these things to the bottom of an enormous list each week. But when you take the time to analyse it you may find that if you got on with it then magic would happen. Progress, growth and most importantly profit – it’s usually the stuff you force yourself to do that has the biggest impact. Ask yourself what’s on the list of all the stuff that you put off or dread?

I googled the meaning of comfort zone, which determined via Wikipedia that “a comfort zone is a psychological state in which things feel familiar to a person and they’re at ease and in control of their environment, experiencing low levels of anxiety and stress”. Psychological author Judith Bardwick considers the concept to be “a behavioural state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral position.” So how do you find your magic and leave the comfort zone? This month I’m committed to doing my routines differently, which means starting with the tough stuff first. Feeling the fear and doing it anyway is a great way to approach this. I’m going to work hard to start loving those things I put off and do more of them until I feel comfortable to do them with passion and conviction.

I’m going to ask some better questions and seek superior answers. For example, if you ask a customer why they don’t refer you to others you might achieve two things. Firstly, something that needs addressing in the business. Secondly, perhaps a referral and more business.

Dealing with uncertainty and change can be debilitating in terms of your imposed stress, yet living a compelling future seemingly requires stepping out of the familiar to reach new horizons. Well, this month one of our key head office members has gone on maternity leave and there’s further change on my horizon at Christmas time, so I’m feeling stressed. Maybe turning 40 this month may have something to do with it too. Finding a way to deal with this is important and I will – the comfort zone stress I mean, not my birthday.

Here’s to a month of thinking big and out of our comfort zones to gain the greater rewards in life. 

About the Author

Jane Maudsley

Jane Maudsley

Maudsley is founder and managing director of Little Voices, a national performing arts organisation that nurtures talent and builds confidence through drama and singing; it’s something she knows a lot about as a former opera singer. Out of the office, Maudsley enjoys being mother to her young daughter, walking, running, cooking, learning and reading.

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