Escaping the comfort zone

Sean Purcell explores how our comfort zone can hold us back and how we should push beyond to see more creativity in the current fast changing job’s market.

Our whole world has changed considerably over the last few months – our work, lives and even the jobs we were employed to do.

The majority of businesses are feeling their way through this crisis, looking for solutions that will both shore up their existing business as well as assist them in finding opportunities amidst the chaos and uncertainty that this global pandemic has brought upon us all.

However, this cannot be done in complete isolation and employees are being asked to abandon years of pre-conceived ideals and beliefs about the nature of work and pivot sharply to new ways of operating and embrace the uncertainty that these changes will bring.

With many businesses placing staff on furlough or working with a reduced team, it is inevitable that employees will be asked to move into new directions and complete work outside of their usual remit. This adds an extra layer of pressure onto an already heightened situation.

Embrace these changes and accept that being pushed in a different direction can often open up new opportunities.

Whilst there have been many poignant articles written about how the world of work has changed in the last decade or so, we have always written these from a safe place, where change was gradual and incremental, a place where it allowed us time to adjust to it. 

We wrote about how technology would allow us to become more remote and yet distantly efficient, without ever actually believing that we would spend all work and most leisure time using technology from our kitchen tables or rapidly redesigned spare bedrooms.

We spoke about how we would need to find new innovative ways to balance performance management and trust, without ever for a moment thinking we would need to rely completely on the trust and honesty of our workforces.

Then finally, we wrote about how to create productive work-life integration, to enable people to be present with their families when childcare was difficult to secure, without ever having to think that we would need to actually balance a child on our knee whilst chairing a zoom conference call.


So now, what we believed about the world of work only six months ago is already fast becoming redundant, a distant memory and it requires us to rethink how we are employed, what work we do, how we produce this work and how we can retain all the benefits of the ‘old ways’ of working, whilst capitalising on the ‘new ways’ that Covid-19 has forced us to create and adopt. 

To achieve any of these new realities we will now need to rely even more heavily on the wonders of modern technology, we will need to not only think outside the box, but actually step out of it completely and take that brave walk around the next office, even if it is actually technically just the living room, and preferably not in our pyjamas.

There are some phenomenal technological tools available to assist us on our rapid path this new-found way of working, from Skype, Teams and Zoom. Remaining in control of the day is now, more than ever imperative for employees to thrive, and to succeed.

Restructuring your well-ordered mind palaces and leaving your comfort zones is going to be vital for continued business growth. Creativity can be the result of extreme circumstance and many employees may now see new ideas and solutions coming to them after being forced look at things from a new perspective.

Embrace these changes and accept that being pushed in a different direction can often open up new opportunities. New passions may even be identified and from this crisis a whole new career path may open up. Acquiring new skills should always be embarked upon and in the unstable times we find ourselves in, any opportunity to do this should be jumped at.

To summarise, the world is a changed place and we must resign ourselves to the fact that this is for the long-term. The plusses are that before you embark on the next chapter of your career, you have the opportunity to push your own boundaries and showcase just how flexible, creative and dynamic you can be.

Resilience is the key and the skills you have acquired along the way will be yours to keep forever.


About the author

Sean Purcell is an award-winning business and leadership performance coach, speaker and trainer. 


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