March 2, 2017 Daniel Pleșa

Comfort zone and safety zone


While taking the regular train to work this morning, I remembered a quote i’ve read a while ago, picked up from Seth Godin’s book, Icarus Deception.

We’ve built a world where it’s possible to fly higher than ever, and the tragedy is that we’ve been seduced into believing that we ought to fly ever lower instead.

With social media at our fingertips, it is easier now than ever to create and share our work with the world. It’s safer than ever, in a sense that no dictator will track you down and put you in jail for your “against the system” work. But despite this fact, we still have a tendency to stay within the borders of our comfort zone.

It is important to make a distinction here between comfort zone and safety zone. Imagine you are at the gym, doing your regular bench press set. You decide to go for one more rep than you usually do, to get the most out of this exercise. It’s definitely not easy, but you manage to pull it off. You stepped out of your comfort zone. Now, going for 1 more rep with 5 additional kilos on the bar that would not require rocket science to see it is not safe at all.

The example is clear when it comes to sports, or physical activity. But when it comes to your career, to sharing your work, the safety zone is, most of the time, way further than your comfort zone.

You may feel uncomfortable to share this new story you’ve been working on, or telling your boss about your new idea on how to improve the team communication, or sharing a totally different point of view in a meeting. However, the worse that can happen is to get a no, or your idea to get ignored, rejected or criticized…and then move on.

It’s comfortable to think that your comfort zone is the same with safety zone, and that everything that is outside this line, is not worth pursuing because it will cause you harm. Look again. The edge of the cliff might be way further than the fence you imagine. We want to see your work. It might not feel comfortable, but it’s safe.