The Myth of the Comfort Zone

I have heard it said many ways, that you cannot grow unless you leave your Comfort Zone. I call BS once and for all. I know for a fact you can grow and develop while staying quite snug and safe in your Comfort Zone. I think it can be damaging to some people to be forced out of their comfort zone for the sake of growth and short-sighted to believe those who stay in their comfort zone can’t grow. So let’s explore this a little deeper.The Myth of the _Comfort Zone_

What is a “Comfort Zone”?

It’s a place, situation or state of being where you feel safe, at ease and not stressed. This is typified by the image of sitting at home, in your favorite chair snuggled in a warm soft blanket. Everyone is different and people can feel safe in many types of situations. Some love to be surrounded by people, others prefer to be alone. It really depends on your own life experiences as to where you feel the safest. In the business world the comfort zone generally is described as the work and tasks you feel most comfortable with and you have the most skill at. Whenever you are at ease while working is your comfort zone.

So why does everyone say no growth occurs inside your comfort zone?

Doing new things can be scary and usually it is a learning experience. When we are in the comfort zone we are rarely trying new things and therefore it is assumed we aren’t learning. The thinking goes that change and growth must accompany risk and risk is being outside our comfort zone.

It’s a Myth!

I say it’s a myth, that we can grow inside our comfort zone. Are you comfortable reading? Reading creates growth and even reading new things is rarely outside our comfort zone. If we are going to try new things, read about them first, that reduces the stress and anxiety new things can cause. If it’s still scary, read more. Keep exploring the subject until you are an expert before you even try it for the first time. You have permission to be comfortable trying new things. This may not work for everything but it can work for most of the things we do in the business world. It’s slower, maybe even less efficient but it keeps us in our comfort zone as we explore new things. We can also make changes incrementally, changes so small that they don’t cause us stress. If we keep making those changes we will eventually get to where we want to be. Manufacturers use this all the time. They can’t afford a big change so they make hundreds of small changes over time until the same result is achieved.

Why is growth within our comfort zone important?

For some of us, running around outside our comfort zone is fine. We exist on the edge and love taking chances. Others hate going outside the comfort zone and just the thought of it paralyzes them. So that’s the main reason. Small changes within the comfort zone are better than no changes because of fear. Even those who love being outside the comfort zone need a break but they refuse to quit improving. Growing inside the comfort zone is a great option for them as well. Moving forward and giving yourself a break at the same time.

So there you have it. Don’t let the myth of the comfort zone hold you back. Grow, change and improve inside or outside your comfort zone, what ever way suits you best.

Your Brand

Your brand is the face of your business. It’s what people see and hear before they ever talk to anyone at your company. Having a good brand is important to make good first impressions. Here are 5 essentials of Branding in a handy infographic.

Essential things for Branding

Linkedin Best Practices.

Here are some of the things I have found to make your Linkedin experience shine. Keep these in mind as you do business on the Linkedin platform.

ID-10019659

  1. Complete your profile

Personally, I would hope this goes without saying, but fill out your profile as completely as possible. There should be very few things on your profile that are blank. It’s not always possible to fill everything out, but you should make the effort.

  1. Add an updated profile picture

Profiles without pictures seem sketchy. Even when it’s someone I know I am very cautious about connecting if there is no picture. Also, make sure your picture is up to date or within a few years. It is unsettling and unprofessional to have pictures on Linkedin that don’t look like you.

  1. Network. Network.

This is the key to making Linkedin work for you. There are two strategies here. Connect with everyone or connect with only the people you actually know. Both have advantages and disadvantages.

  1. Personalize connection requests.

Don’t send the standard Linkedin connection request. Personalize the request to the person you are sending it to. It is more professional and it shows you care about connecting professionally with that person.

  1. Grab your name Courtesy: Ken Krogue, Forbes Writer.

Did you know you can get your own name as your linked in profile instead of the alphabet soup you were randomly assigned? This makes it look more professional on your emails and resumes. It also makes your Linkedin page easier to remember. Go to the profile edit page and an edit button is available at the end of your Linkedin URL.

  1. Never SPAM!

Another no brainer. It is possible to spam and get one or two leads, but at the cost of potential relationships. No one likes being spammed. Just don’t do it.

  1. Edit or Remove Endorsements.

Your endorsement section is out there for everyone to see. Sometimes we are endorsed in ways we don’t want. Sometimes we are endorsed and it looks biased. You can remove endorsements on your profile edit page. Trim up your endorsement to keep your best foot forward.

  1. Freely give and receive recommendations.

Someone asks for a recommendation, give it. Don’t have a recommendation, ask. This is a way to let others know what to expect from you. People like a second opinion.

  1. Join industry and local LinkedIn Groups.

Groups are a great way to learn information about subjects that interest you professionally. Many industry leaders post in these professional groups. If you have some insight, post it. It gets your voice out there and could lead to some great connections.

  1. Vet a group before you join.

Groups are great in general, but some are just ads in disguise. Pay attention to who the members are and what topics they are discussing.

  1. Use 3×3 analysis when connecting with people.  Courtesy: Steve Richard of Vorsight

Meeting someone you can find on Linkedin? Spend 3 minutes and learn 3 things about them you can use as talking points. It shows professionalism and attention to detail. People like talking about themselves so it helps you build rapport quickly.

  1. Use InMail strategically.

Don’t use Inmail like your regular email. A good practice is to only use it for business that is being facilitated on Linkedin. An example would be asking for an introduction to another Linkedin connection. Use your email for normal correspondence and Inmail for Linked in business.

  1. Use Follow effectively.

Follow industry leaders. Follow businesses that interest you within your industry or related industries. This will get your profile more exposure and you can meet interesting people in your field.

  1. Use “Tags” to categorize your connections.

This is especially useful when you have a lot of connections. You can keep track of where you met each person and how you know them.

  1. Ask for referrals through LinkedIn.

Looking for a new job? Looking to connect to a company? Find out who you know and ask for a referral. Make sure you follow good business etiquette so Linkedin remains a great place to get your referrals.

  1. Browse LinkedIn privately.

If you are looking at a lot of peoples profiles and businesses, browse privately. This way you don’t seem like a stalker. It is the polite thing to do.

  1. Add media.

Put up your blog posts. Link articles. Post videos. In general, get yourself on the Linkedin feed. This can create top of mind exposure and help with your other Linkedin business.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs/FreeDigitalPhotos.net