Find your stretch zone

by | Oct 7, 2014 | News

Learn to recognise your comfort zone – and then push yourself to exist outside it, says Karen Sadler from Cirrus in The Guardian.

I believe there are three zones we move between. Our comfort zone is where we typically spend most of our time. It feels safe and relaxed, populated by tasks that we’re good at or don’t need to think too much about. Outside that is our stretch zone, which should feel uncomfortable and challenging, as this is where our best learning takes place. Beyond that is the panic zone, which feels stressed and out of control. This zone isn’t sustainable in the long term.

If I could go back in time and give one piece of advice to my younger self, it would be to first find that stretch zone, and then try to stay there as much as possible.

Finding your stretch zone isn’t always easy, but here are a few pointers to help you on your way:

• Think about what activities sit in your comfort, stretch and panic zones, then identify what a good balance of comfort and stretch looks and feels like for you

• Seek out opportunities to stretch yourself and don’t be afraid to take on something that scares you. Be proactive and don’t wait for them to come to you

• Be prepared to make mistakes, but learn from them rather than beat yourself up about them. Ask yourself: Why did this happen? What have I learned from this experience? What would I do differently next time?

• Keep a record of your experiences. This is useful for identifying development areas and gives you great stories to tell potential employers, who are always interested to hear about how you deal with challenges.

© The Guardian 2014

Click here to read Karen’s article in full on The Guardian website.

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