As entrepreneurs, we crave a challenge. It's a critical component of peak performance because it provides stimulation. Without it, when we get too comfortable, we are bored, which can be the death of motivation and creativity for an ambitious business owner. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is key. If you don't, you risk stagnation.
Remaining challenged and staying out of your comfort zone, however, is not easy. When you step too far out in business, you risk making costly mistakes; not out of it at all, and you are bored and underutilized. For example, say you are a CEO running a business that you love, but you are constantly reacting to your work versus being proactive. You don't have time to stop and think if you are really challenging yourself in a way that maximizes results to achieve your long-term goals.
Busyness can get in the way of optimizing your talent, and before you know it, you are spending all your time in your comfort zone. If that is happening, you are probably feeling less inspired, more tired, and unsure of how work that you used to love is now more taxing.
To avoid the comfort-zone blahs or the risks associated with going too far out, review the list below. These 10 indications can help ensure that you are staying in the sweet spot of challenge and remaining a healthy distance from your dreaded comfort zone.
1. Your activity is linked to your overall mission. It's clear that working on this challenge will get you a step further in your company's path forward.
2. You are the originator of the challenge. You are not doing this because someone else has dictated it. Someone else could have a fantastic idea, of course, but you want to avoid getting into a situation in which you feel out of control or as if you have no autonomy within the challenge. This can be tricky, especially if you are answering to a board of directors or investors. You may think you are in control of your work, but overbearing board members could be thwarting your ability to challenge yourself in the way that you want.
3. The challenge leverages your unique genius or natural talents. If not, then rethink the ownership if this particular challenge--and find a better fit within your company or your job responsibilities.
4. You enjoy the challenge. Being mentally switched on is the best way to succeed.
5. You're excited to push your abilities to overcome this challenge. It's not an easy challenge, but the thought of conquering it is energizing. It's a comfortable uneasiness because you don't know how you are going to succeed, but you know figuring it out will be a blast. And you know if you fail, it's OK.
6. You don't let this challenge take over your life. You are able to focus on it, step away, and then come back without it affecting your ability to sleep, socialize, or have some downtime.
7. Your stress levels are manageable, despite the challenge. You are not feeling overly anxious about the process or the outcome of the challenge--which, in turn, makes success more likely.
8. Others respond to your energy for this challenge and show interest and support. Your team, partners, or colleagues are motivated by your enthusiasm. You can tell because they share that with you or offer to help you succeed with what you are doing.
9. You make positive and incremental progress with the challenge. You see regular indications of progress in spite of the disappointments. Which means you are making a difference and are engaged in the process of actualizing this goal.
10. You have moments in which you are super-energized, to the point where you feel like you are buzzing. We all have those moments when we are so aligned with our work that we feel like we are on a high. These are what a challenge junkie lives for, and if you are experiencing these, then you know you are pushing the limits of possibility--and are on the right track.