THE C* WORD GUEST AUTHOR: ASHLEY JAMES

Cushy, effortless, and blissfully stress-free, leading a comfortable life sounds pretty golden, right? I hate to burst that chill bubble of yours, but being comfortable is out and getting uncomfortable is in—that is, if you want to get the most out of life.

No matter what stage of your career (or life!) you’re in, if you happen to find yourself in a state where everything seems to be falling into place with little effort on your part and you’ve reached a maximum level of comfort, it’s easy (and tempting) to keep things as-is. You’re comfortable with what your job asks of you, how much—or how little—effort you need to put in to get to 5 pm, or you’re simply content knowing that you are damn good at your job and find no reason to rock the steady boat you’ve built.

But, have you ever thought that perhaps you’re a little too comfortable?

This is probably going to sound insane, but doing all of this isn’t about positioning yourself for the next promotion, it’s about self-improvement and personal growth, which are only attainable when you’re pushing yourself out of your comfort zone on the daily and willing yourself to move onto the next step. Your goal is growth.

By doing more than simply what’s expected of you, you’ll begin to create value in yourself and people will notice. Slowly, but surely, you’ll become indispensable; and before you know it, you’ll be working with colleagues outside of your original realm and learning more than you would have ever before.

That’s the end game: to learn.

As you push yourself out of your comfort zone, you’ll pick up skills and perspective, establish relationships, and begin to show your value, which will set you up for a promotion. Remember, a salary increase wasn’t your original goal, but by getting uncomfortable, you worked hard, learned a lot, and now you deserve that promotion.

Get comfortable with uncomfortable situations:

Let’s take all this talking to the real-world.  The below checklist is a great way to start challenging yourself every day.

Manage Up

Managing up in a respectful way shows that you’re invested, proactive, and ready to help.

  • Action Item: Set up weekly meetings with your manager, come prepared, and offer to lend a hand on another project.

Set Goals + Follow Up

Don’t let “being busy” be an excuse for you not to follow up on your personal goals.

  • Action Item: Block time out on your calendar to outline your goals in detail, and leave every meeting with an action item of what you will accomplish next week.

Ask For What You Want

If you don’t ask, you’ll never know what the answer may be. Hell, they may laugh in your face, but the next time around they may think of you because you showed your passion and persistence early on.

  • Action Item: During the conversation take feedback earnestly; take it as a learning opportunity on how you can improve to receive a yes the next time.

Crave Feedback

Feedback is invaluable. And it doesn’t always have to be a big ordeal, the most rewarding and useful feedback often happens in a casual setting.

  • Action Item: Take 5 minutes to ask your peers and/or manager for direct feedback on a presentation, a client call, or something that just happened.

Stay Hungry

To succeed in any work environment you must keep yearning for the next project or the next task at hand.

  • Action Item: Take initiative and ask for more responsibility, help your peers finish their projects, manage up, and most of all, stay ambitious and relentlessly hungry for more.  

If you do this, you’ll never feel comfortable again—but you’ll know you’ve done everything you can to succeed personally and professionally.

(Case and point: I’m writing this on a Sunday afternoon)

Comments

  • Ashley, great message, for both young and older people. Thank you for sharing.

  • Enjoyed your article…as a 70+-year-old grandmother who went back to work after a long career and being retired for five years, I seem to have found my niche and am loving it…and feel truly appreciated in my new field! I enjoy new challenges and am going…by myself…on a two-week trip to Europe this summer that I am planning totally on my own. Being uncomfortable is adventurous!
    Great job, Ashley…from your step-grandmother from another mother!

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