Highway To The Comfort Zone

Comfort zones are dangerous. They really should be called “danger zones,” but I imagine that Kenny Loggins would have a problem with that. Unless he needed the cash of course.

Comfort zones are dangerous because you do what you know. You stop learning. You stop trying, striving and seeking. You stop asking questions. You accept old answers. You do what comes naturally, even if what comes naturally is mediocre. You get into a rut.

Throughout the last two weeks I have been forced out of a well-established comfort zone (rut) with regards to how I work and do business. While filling in at a local sign shop (their in-house designer was on his honeymoon), I had to have set hours and answer the phone when it rang, two things that I honestly don’t really care much for, but did regardless.

I don’t like set hours, because it’s hard to say that I’ll be “creative” between the hours of 8:30 am and 5:00 pm. However, by having set hours, I actually got a lot of stuff done. Granted, I wouldn’t say that some of it was my best work, but interestingly enough, most people just wanted it done according to their standards, not my own. That was a great lesson and something that I will definitely be applying to the weeks and months ahead. While I will try and set hours, I will be focused more on getting things done each day.

Want to know what else I learned? While I am afraid of talking on the telephone—I know, silly phobias, but we all have them—it is possible to get over the fear by having to answer the phone whenever it rings. Each time I answered the phone, I got a little more confident and I started to realize that the people on the other end were a little nervous as well. That was a huge confidence booster. Most people are not comfortable on the phone. I’m not alone. So, if you call me this week (with the exception of tomorrow as I’ll be finishing up my obligation at the sign shop), I might just answer the phone.

So, what would you say your comfort zone is? Is it really comfortable or perhaps a danger zone waiting to trap you in a rut?