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Comfort Zone

Comfort Zone

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Quick Overview

The boundaries of the comfort zone are determined by the individual. The person’s mental state creates self-imposed barriers. Nobody except you is able to determine the walls of the comfort zone. In order to step out of the comfort zone you need to tap other behaviours and accept how the environment is responding to this change. So, it is about change. And most people do not like changes.


Related Models: Grief CyclePeople and MotivationCircle of InfluenceWillingness to ChangeCore QuadrantsComfort ZonePeople and Competences;MaslovWill Skill Matrix

$5.20

Comfort Zone

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Background

We are unfamiliar with the background of this model. Nevertheless, the comfort zone has been discussed at length in literature. Being inside or outside the comfort zone is usually related to performance management, risk management, leadership and personal qualities.

White (2009) refers to the comfort zone as an anxiety-neutral situation in which a person is acting using a (limited) set of behaviours to deliver a steady level of performance, usually with a sense of risk. The different comfort zones reveal a lot about a pople’s personalities. Very successful people will usually step outside their comfort zone in order to reach their goals.

The boundaries of the comfort zone are determined by the individual. The person’s mental state creates self-imposed barriers. Nobody except you is able to determine the walls of the comfort zone. In order to step out of the comfort zone you need to tap other behaviours and accept how the environment is responding to this change. So, it is about change. And most people do not like changes.

Related Models: Grief CyclePeople and MotivationCircle of InfluenceWillingness to ChangeCore QuadrantsComfort ZonePeople and Competences;MaslovWill Skill Matrix

 

The model

The model describes 3 different zones:

-      Comfort zone

-      Challenge zone

-      Panic zone

 

Comfort zone

The comfort zone is the mental image of what you can and cannot do. It is where you feel perfectly comfortable. Inside the comfort zone we are usually comfortable, anxious, less confident, average, tired, settled down, low-spirited, we suffer from recurring situations, (self)satisfied, and hardly challenged.

Being anxious and comfortable at the same time may seem rather contradictory. The opposite is true. Being comfortable usually makes you feel more anxious about losing that feeling. As mentioned previously people usually do not like changes. It is not because they are afraid of new experiences but mainly because they are afraid of losing what they already have; 90% of all the people are living in the comfort zone.

 

Challenge zone

In the challenge zone the anxiety level is increased. It is about more adrenaline which means a stronger focus. According to White (2009) this is the Optimal Performance Zone, the zone in which a person’s achievements can be intensified while skills and expertise can be optimised. The challenge zone is all about trust, change, opportunities, success and failure, growth, learning, passion, faith, excitement, dreams, courage and doing new things. It is also referred to as the Learning Zone or Stretch Zone.

 

Panic zone

The panic zone is the zone whereby the anxiety or adrenaline level is raised to such an extent undermining achievements. Anxiety and discomfort are predominant making mental freedom impossible. Courage becomes fear, adrenaline makes room for sweating and trembling, opportunities become a threat and success turns into failure. The panic zone is also referred to as the Danger Zone.

 

How to use it

Sticking to the comfort zone usually follows from anxiety. Realising what this fear actually means is the very first step required in order to leave the comfort zone. After all, new things exist in the challenge zone. And only by doing new things we can learn and experience personal growth.

The next step is to define your new project, which does not necessarily mean you are giving up on the old one. You will be adding something that’s all. Do not settle for plans and promises to yourself. Take steps and go for it. In the act you will deliver proof that you can do this, that things are certainly not as scary as you thought they would be and you can confirm that you have expanded your comfort zone. Doing new things will help you develop. The skills you will gain will little by little become part of your new comfort zone. And you do not want to get stuck in there now do you …

The comfort zone is a perfect subject when coaching is involved. In your familiar setting and together with the coach you can define the boundaries of your current comfort zone. Together you can prepare a plan and mention specific things you want to have in your comfort zone. Professional support might well be the tiny push you need to take the plunge.

As a coach, trainer or executive you need to determine the challenge zone of every single person, in order to create knowledge and ensure better performances are delivered time and again. After the knowledge gained has been absorbed and secured, you need to define a new challenge zone. It is how people are challenged all the time and at a reasonable level to continue to develop.

Enhanced productivity in the comfort zone is unlikely to present itself. Relatively enhanced productivity is possible in the longer term because the average productivity of the environment is improving. Feeling bored or missing out on opportunities might lead to mental and/or physical complaints. Employees who spend too much time in their comfort zone are more likely to be bored out, which is the most expensive case of reduced productivity. 90% of all the people are in the comfort zone. Provided people are guided and challenged properly, the productivity and even the innovation level can be raised considerably.

Pushing people towards the panic zone increases the chance of causing a burnout. Taxing yourself to the utmost and not being able to grow towards your new comfort zone can lead to mental and physical discomforts. People must be challenged wisely. They must be given space to ‘feel’ their anxieties and experience the changes to familiarise themselves with them. That is how they can allow these changes into their new comfort zone.

Challenge yourself

Related Models:

-   Grief Cycle

-   People and Motivation

-   Circle of Influence

-   Willingness to Change

-   Core Quadrants

-   Comfort Zone

-   People and Competences;

-   Maslov

-   Will Skill Matrix

sources:

       Wikipedia