There is a motivational poster in my gym. On most days it stares straight at me when I am killing myself on the treadmill. It reads, "Just when you think you have reached your limit … push harder!" and that keeps me going. For almost 15 years, I lived happily in my comfort zone, safe and protected in the same old same old. But when I accidentally stumbled out of it, did I realize how much more there was to life.
EVERYONE HAS IT
We all have our comfort zones, especially in our work processes. We all have a niche and working within that is not only a smart idea but you also keep getting better at it. But stepping out of those routine walls might trigger a change that would end up being a revelation you never thought you would have. Breaking that stereotype might make you discover an ability, a talent that you didn’t know you possessed. Just when you think you have reached the pinnacle of your skills, indulge in a little experimentation. It must be something that intrigues and interests you but also something you would normally never undertake within the confines of your comfort zone.
BENEFITS OF STEPPING OUT
A fresh perspective, a new start is not only exciting but you also get more enthusiastic about the task at hand. As a designer, developer and freelancer, it helps to expand your portfolio. It exercises and pushes your brain to a new high, because the brain always works overtime to learn and grasp something new. Once you start veering from your routine path, you will realize that either you are surprisingly good at your new experiment or it is just not your cup of tea. If you do well, keep pushing and learning new things and practicing a style that is so unlike you. If you hit a wall, fret not. Hope on to something else and you will eventually discover a new skill.
HOW I STEPPED OUT
I am a designer and work with shapes, lines and colors. Art feeds my soul and logic takes away from it. As a rule I only design and create visual things. Some years ago I tried getting out of my comfort zone and indulge in php programming. I struggled with it for a while and quickly decided that it was just not my thing. But I had to move forward and undertake something else that was out of my comfort zone. So I decided to try working with CSS, something that I would not usually let myself do. To my surprise, I found that I quite enjoyed it and it was not as hard to get around as I thought it would be. So I started working and teaching myself, on and off whenever I would find time, always looking forward to learning more [a sure sign that although it is out of your comfort zone, it is within your "I can do this!" line]. There was no downside to stepping out of my routine schedule. The pros were many. I not only got good at CSS, but was able to design and code small websites for clients from scratch. That felt truly satisfying.
SO WHAT COULD YOU DO?
Remember, it has to add value to your portfolio and to your life. I could list a 100 things here and none of those would appeal to you. What you must do is already a stray thought in your head. It is something you have entertained and dismissed. Pull that "crazy" idea from the archives of your thoughts and give it life. For many of you, pushing yourselves is second nature, for many it is a nagging thought hovering along the periphery of your psyche but not quite exploding into each and every nerve of your body. It also takes some courage and confidence to get out of your comfort zone. After all you are not comfortable with what you are about to do. But if you take the plunge, it will spur you on and remove you from the lull and dull of everyday life.
Have you ever tried pushing your own limits by designing or developing something you would never normally do? Please share your stories and tell us how it all panned out.
Note : Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock
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