It’s a common situation that employees find themselves in once they have worked somewhere for a little bit too long - they do their jobs very well but find themselves stuck in a rut. When you’ve been somewhere for a while, you understand the workload, the pace, the customers and the days seem to always be the same. Nothing challenges you because you’ve done it all before.
Finding yourself in the position where your job has become your comfort zone has one or two benefits. You don’t have to worry about failing because you know how everything will be. You can continue to do what you’ve always done well, and work on what you don’t do so well. It would be a recipe for eternal success, if not for the fact staying within your comfort zone almost always leads to resting on your laurels, and complacency. You don’t try as hard when your work doesn’t challenge you, and a slippery slope begins resulting in sloppy work and poor performance. Always staying within your comfort zone can therefore be detrimental to your performance.
The way to escape that fate is to take a leap of faith. Take a positive step in your career that terrifies you. If there’s a development opportunity or promotion up for grabs and you feel like you’re qualified, why shouldn’t you take that chance? Your current position doesn’t scare you because you know you can do what is asked of you. A new opportunity scares you because it requires heading into the unknown, pushing yourself and facing the real possibility that you could fail. On the flip side of that is the enchanting reality that you will grow.
When I worked in luxury retail, a development secondment opportunity arose. I felt like I had exhausted all the avenues for growth in my day to day career. Instead of performing at the top of my game, I became slack and complacent because I wasn’t being challenged. When I applied for the development secondment, I did so not expecting to be successful. When I was, the terror set in. I was about to do something that I had never done before - and the possibility of complete failure sunk in. Imposter Syndrome told me that they were wrong to believe in me and give me this chance because I was under qualified and unprepared.
What actually happened was a growth beyond my imagination. The first day felt like a freefall, an exhilarating but terrifying point of no return where I had embarked on a journey and there was no looking back. I had to just hold my breath, face the fear and get on with it. Every day that felt like a challenge was a day where I learned something. Each time I made a mistake was an opportunity to grow and develop. When I could see the journey of my own progress, my confidence increased alongside it. After a while, the fear subsided and a belief in my abilities replaced it.
At the end of the development secondment, I could look back and see the myriad ways I had improved. My skills, my self-esteem, my attitude had all improved and that brief fearful experience of taking a leap into the unknown benefited me in ways I couldn’t have predicted when I first took the chance and applied. For this reason, I cannot stress enough the untold benefits that can come from grabbing any new job opportunity that scares you. There is nothing more rewarding in a job than seeing how you have developed, and if your current position isn’t challenging you, then there is no room for this growth. Take the chance, and see how a new opportunity can help you to shine as bright as possible.