A recent conversation with a friend regarding her desire to change jobs, but feeling overwhelmed and scared to leave her current role, got me thinking about how easy it is to stay within the boundaries of our comfort zone, and how difficult it can be to push ourselves beyond this. This reminded me of a recent experience of dealing with my own comfort zone.
It stems back to being a kid in school, waiting anxiously in line to be the next to be picked for the sports team. I won’t name any particular sport, as this experience was always the same for me regardless off whether it was netball, basketball or any other sport for that matter. It would always feel like an ordeal, and I knew that as result of me having no sense of coordination, very little spatial awareness, not being very good at sports and being very small for my age, I would be one of the last people to be picked and made to feel bad when my team lost. I still get a horrible feeling in my stomach thinking about it, and as a result of this, and of the fierce competitive nature of school sports, my dislike for playing team sports started at an early age. However, that didn’t stop me from having a desire to be part of a sports team.
In my late teens I developed a love for exercising, which has stayed with me, and more often than not I can be found cycling or running. However, for a long time I wanted to start doing a team sport, as I was spending a lot of my time on my own running and cycling and it can get lonely out there. I’d joined numerous run clubs, and run with various friends, but this didn’t fulfil my desire to carry out my love of exercise and meet new people at the same time whist being part of a team. I really wanted to learn to play football, as it’s a sport I’ve always been very passionate about (watching that is), but that dreaded feeling, and those memories of high school sports kept holding me back.
A friend then messaged me asking if I would like to join her football team. They’d had a lot of injuries in the team and really needed new recruits (they were desperate). The thought of it conjured up that gut wrenching feeling in my stomach, and I had fears of been laughed off the team for been so bad. As you can imagine, my first reaction was to instantly message her back with a bad excuse as to why I couldn’t join the team. However, something inside me stopped me from doing so. I realised this was my opportunity to do something that would require me pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, and at the same time do something I’d been wanting to do for years.
One Step at a Time
I decided to take it one step at a time – just dip my toes in the water, so to speak – and replied to the message asking if it was possible to go to a training session or two to figure out if it was for me before committing to the team. She replied yes and I attended the next few training sessions, which went much better than I’d anticipated. I really enjoyed training with the team, and they were all very understanding in regards to my lack of skill and ability. So I bit the bullet, paid the Subs (joining fee) and became part of the team. Then the real test came when our first competitive game came about.
I was so nervous before the game, but as soon as the game started the nerves disappeared. I’ve really enjoyed playing in the team; I’ve met a great group of people, made a lot of good friends and really feel a sense of achievement. I’m not a great football player, but that doesn’t matter, I try my hardest each game and have improved through the season, although I didn’t play the whole season due to an injury (you can read about that in my next blog).
Don’t Be Held Back
So, what does all of this have to do with your career? This experience has highlighted to me how easy it is to stay within our comfort zones. Working as a recruiter I meet people every day who have spent years in a jobs that they’ve hated, and each have different reasons. For some, the idea of creating or updating a CV is daunting, so they put it off. And then there’s writing the dreaded cover letter; I’ve known people who have missed the closing date for a job application because they’ve procrastinated on writing a cover letter. Then there are those people who wonder if it’s better the devil you know, and fear that a new job/company may turn out to be worse than the one they’re already in. Some have a fear that their skills won’t transfer to a new role or company, and with that comes the fear of failure.
If any of this is sounding familiar, you should know that we can help you at Beyond, and offer advice on writing CV’s and cover letters, help you work out where your skills are transferable to and give you an objective overview of our clients businesses. We can help you take those next steps, and make pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone easier.
It took me years to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and when I did I had to take it one step at a time. But by pushing myself I discovered I’m not as terrible at sport as I thought. With time, discipline, effort and training, my game improved. It also made me realise that by living life based on past experiences I’d been missing out. I’ve met some great people and feel a real sense of achievement, neither of which I would have happened had I not pushed myself. I wish I had pushed myself to play football years ago; who knows, I could have been a Premiership player by now (I like to dream big!).
If your comfort zone is getting in the way of your ambitions, then let us at Beyond Recruitment help you take the first steps to making your next career move.