How many times have you heard the maxim (in some shape or form): "In order to grow you need to get outside of your comfort zone?"
This is true. Stagnant water becomes sick water. Water is the most abundant molecule in our cells. To continue to be healthy, you must move. Both literally and figuratively.
However, the way you get outside your comfort zone can have a massive impact on the usefulness or uselessness of stepping outside your comfort zone.
Consider the following diagram:
Informative, right? Useful, right? Thank you to www.thewealthike.com for providing it.
Now, what if we deepen the context of this "Comfort Zone" model?
In order to go deeper, let's ask ourselves some significant questions: What do you enjoy doing? What comes naturally to you? What interests you? Where do you feel like you are in the top 25% of the people around you?*
For instance, I excel at being a coach. I am "at home" in the coaching space. I am good at it. I enjoy studying and practicing things like technique, behavioral psychology, communication, nutrition, mindset, spirituality, philosophy and movement.
I also enjoy writing, working in my yard, participating in certain sports, being outside, and cooking.
Getting outside of my comfort zones in these areas produces a lot more return on my investment than learning about things that come difficult to me like mathematics, chemistry, clothing design, architecture, engines, stocks, plumbing, and fishing.
I get better at my craft. I get better at what I like. I get better at the things that bring me joy, pleasure, and satisfaction.
Essentially, I make my strengths stronger by challenging my weak links in my strengths and dismissing my weak links in other areas that hold no interest or pose no necessity for me. (On the practical side, however, even though I dislike math I still make sure I am good enough at the basics to protect my investments, budget wisely and manage my coaching client's training volume safely and professionally. I understand the math that serves my needs. Calculus not so much.)
I don't have to know everything, and I can still learn a ton when I engage in getting better at what I'm already good it.
So, again, consider the following questions when "getting outside your comfort zone": What do you enjoy doing? What comes naturally to you? What interests you? Where do you feel like you are in the top 25% of the people around you?
Growth should be challenging, slightly scary, and enjoyable.
Side note: Can you get outside your comfort zone with stuff you don't like, doesn't hold interest to you, or that comes with massive anxiety, frustration, or seems impractical for you? Sure you can. In fact, I love hearing people passionately discuss things I have zero interest in actually doing... because I love passion, and the fundamentals of things and people interest me.
But ask yourself, what increases your effectiveness more: getting better at things you already do well or getting better at things you have no real interest in doing regularly?
Just a thought. The decision is yours. (And you don't really have to be either/or do you?) Enjoy your life.
*James Clear writes about this extensively in his best-selling book: Atomic Habits: An Easy And Proven Way to Build Good Habits And Break Bad Ones.