Beata Drzazga – business advisor, founder of the largest long-term medical care company in Poland, talks about how to become happy and independent by leaving your own comfort zone.
Getting out of your comfort zone is a popular term used by business mentors. What is it about?
In short, it’s about taking the initiative in your own life. Being in the comfort zone means passivity, limiting yourself to the known space, your own habits. The comfort zone also has its advantages – it organizes complicated reality and reduces stress.
But not everyone has to be ambitious, should we get out of the comfort zone at any cost?
Nobody has such an obligation, especially since comfort zones, as the name suggests, can be really comfortable. For example, many people who can afford it want to live off their savings and feel good about it. Many even say that comfort zones are innovation-friendly. Apparently Newton discovered the law of gravity because an apple fell on his head. Perhaps it would never have happened had it not been for the fact that he had time to sit in his comfort zone, which happened to be under the apple tree.
However, always remember that being in your comfort zone costs money. In addition, they are often difficult to see costs in the form of lost opportunities. A serious problem arises when the comfort zone is not so comfortable, for example, when we are stuck for several years in a position that does not satisfy us. In this case, we are most often forced to pursue someone else’s goals, and in return we receive a very small fraction of the true value of our work. It is even worse when we agree to live not on savings but, for example, on unemployment benefit.
So what we’re talking about isn’t really a comfort zone, just an excuse zone. We are content with the easiest solution to our problems, instead of pursuing our dreams.
By being stuck in the comfort zone, we agree to let someone else eat our cookie. It is not necessarily irrational behavior. It all depends on what cookie we’re talking about. If our options are very limited, the cake is small and, in addition, it is difficult to get it, it may be a rational choice to refrain from taking risks.
However, I believe that in the vast majority of cases it is worth at least considering your options. It may happen that we have insufficient knowledge or education to get out of the comfort zone. Therefore, the first step towards taking control of your own life should be to acquire appropriate knowledge. Most often it is not difficult. Much knowledge is available on the internet for free. All it takes is a bit of consistency.
If we set ourselves new goals, it will often be the case that we will be able to achieve at least some of them. We will have to stimulate our creativity to solve previously unknown problems.
A special way to get out of the comfort zone is to start your own business.
Most of the people I managed to convince me later tell me that if they knew it was that easy, they would have done it a long time ago. I am glad that you raised this topic, because starting your own business is a perfect example of a favorable exit from the comfort zone. Convincing potential entrepreneurs to believe in their abilities is probably the most important element of my job as a business advisor.
Let’s start with the fact that thanks to self-employment, we can keep a much larger part of the effects of our work for ourselves. Not only do we not have to share with the boss, but we also pay lower taxes. There is no limit to remuneration for our work, and thanks to the need to constantly solve new problems, we develop both professionally and intellectually. In addition, we have a much greater opportunity to take advantage of emerging opportunities. It is usually much easier to deal with a new project than a change of employer. The fear of starting your own business is almost always irrational. Hard-working people with excellent education and high qualifications are afraid to give up low-paid jobs, despite the fact that their work is in great demand.
Of course, I never persuade anyone to make ill-considered moves. The idea of starting your own business, just like any other business idea, is worth testing first. We can perform several orders for potential clients without resigning from the full-time job at the beginning. In this way, we can discover opportunities and threats that we have not thought about before. In general, I encourage you to test as many ideas as possible in real conditions. Even at the cost of mistakes that we will then have to make. Thanks to this, we can make sure whether it is worth leaving our comfort zone.