Is your comfort zone at work holding you back? Is it time to break out and move forward? What better time to consider this than the start of the new Financial Year – Roll on 2015/2016.

We all have up and down days but being stuck in a rut is no fun. It can be humiliating, degrading even crushing. Every now and then we all need a shake up and you will be surprised where it takes you.

In my line of work I often hear that one minute you are happily chugging along –  you are kicking goals at work and you feel like you are on the track for success – big success. Then suddenly everything just plateaus. All of a sudden you become un-motivated, your work seems a drag, it feels like a chore and it basically all becomes just too hard. So my advice is to push that boundary – Sure it feels safe and gives you a type of mental security to just keep steadily moving along, but believe me if you are pushing the boundaries and move out of your comfort zone your career path as well as your personal life will come bouncing back.

My comfort zone got a real testing around four years ago and then again 18 months ago. As most of you know I have been in recruitment for some time and I would go so far to say that it totally felt like ground hog day – same task, same results, and same people blah blah blah.comzone

Then out of the blue one day I had the opportunity to help set up a new office. It was a fate decompile as the normal person that would have gone was busy so it was offered to me. At first I was very nervous about going as this was definitely way out of my comfort zone. All these thoughts of what could happen came flooding in. What if I let the team down, or all the staff quit on me or we don’t get any jobs in. Well to be honest when I got there it was the most exciting time I had had in a long time and those thoughts disappeared. In fact it totally re invigorated me and I got all the passion back for my job. Although I did not climb the corporate ladder it was just exciting to be involved in something that recharged my batteries.

So how did this happen? Well I was thrown into something very different to what I had ever done previously. Basically it was the same job but in a new city, new state, new area of recruitment, but same business. Overall I still had some of my comfort zone (same business) but I slowly moved out of this to exciting times.

They say doing something different everyday makes you naturally inquisitive and ready to tackle the unfamiliar. Now we all don’t get the opportunity I had but it can still happen. Try doing something small like driving to work a different way or take a different means of transport to work. Initially I would suggest small steps but try to do something different every day at work and you will be surprised at your mindset change.

The next big change for me was about 18 months ago – Optimum decided to diversify their business. It was decided that we needed to branch out so recruitment was only one of our three offerings and being part of management I had to get myself across all three. Initially I was so worried – I had only ever done recruitment. I had no idea about “Insights” and “Kinetic”. To begin with I wasn’t sure but then decided to get out of my comfort zone and give it a go. The next couple of months I spent a lot of time listening to the new players in the game and to say I had teething problems to begin with would be an understatement but I decided to give it a go and I have honestly not looked back. This mindset for me meant that I agreed to do something that normally I never would have done. Putting it out there actually made me accountable and in my humble opinion helped me achieve my new path at work. Looking back this actually flagged to my boss that I was happy to take on a challenge and was not afraid to turn that cheek. I can honestly say that again, this got me out of my comfort zone and for the better.

As we all know there are so many ways to get stuck in a rut and just keep ticking along.  I suggest find a new way to tackle everyday habits. It may be as simple as changing the appearance of your desk top or doing your job in a different order – believe me you will feel like you have been revitalize.

Also tackling a tricky situation can be hard and may take you completely out of your comfort zone – so stop, take a breath, and ask yourself – what would I tell my friend if he/she was in the same situation?  I would suggest you look for the positives and leave the negatives behind. You may even ask yourself before you take that leap – what will be the consequences of taking or not taking this next step? If you stop and look at both sides you will probably end up with a better understanding of what has been holding you back.

It takes courage to make change – so please give yourself the best chance of success – make those goals achievable so you can gently nudge yourself out of your comfort zone. At the moment I work with a very mixed team both geographically and personality wise and all of us are being thrown out of our comfort zone. It is a sign of the times and will be over the next 20 years. It is interesting to see how each individual reacts, so if we all just take that one step back and then three steps forward I feel we will all thrive in this very changing environment. I believe my last four years at work have been probably the most exciting, challenging and the most I have ever been thrown out of my comfort zone – I can truly say that I feel appreciated and my steps out of my comfort zone are getting bigger each time.

Remember to take little steps at first that you know you are going to succeed with, and don’t be afraid of failure – that is part of getting out of that comfort zone and the rewards will be astonishing and memorable.

Good luck!

Alicia Sumich – Group Manager; Business Development


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