Stretching outside of your comfort zone

25 03 2016

“Like a typical Gemini, I’m changeable.  I can be two different people.  I can be very outgoing, but sometimes very shy.” ~ Denise Van Outen

As a Gemini and father of a Gemini, I’ve seen how true this is.  On any personality test, my daughter and I bounce back and forth between borderline introvert (usually) and borderline extrovert.  I like quiet time, like digging into a chewy spreadsheet, or swinging in a hammock reading a book, but I can spout off and have an opinion on anything, to anyone who will listen (and sometimes who’d rather not).  Some of that is pushing myself out of my normal comfort zone, but some if it is genuinely liking that people care what I think, or like being educated on some topic that I am knowledgeable in.

As leaders, sometimes you’ll find jobs that are right in your sweet spot, and sometimes you’ll have to really stretch by working well into your discomfort zone.  For me it’s stuff like deeply detailed documentation tasks.  I’d much rather point out how a problem can be solved, and move on to the next challenge, versus documenting, in excruciating detail, how exactly each person who sees the problem should solve it.  Others may love to sit at the head of a boardroom table, and give an extroverted presentation all day, but hate sitting down to sort out an in-box.  We all stretch our comfort zone at work, one way, the other, or both ways.   The happiest companies have people who are comfortable in different areas, creating the least amount of uncomfortable stretches as possible.

Speaking of shy…


Rubes cartoons used with permission.




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