3 Simple Steps for Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

On a recent morning text to our team, Auxano’s Founder and Team Leader Will Mancini posed the following question to be asked of church leaders:

>> Where could you use break-thru clarity on your leadership team? 

Most leaders can immediately identify a barrier or roadblock that stands in their way of moving forward to better future. Many leaders also have some idea about how to break that barrier.

There’s another type of barrier that’s more subtle, yet none-the-less blocking:

It’s our Comfort Zone.

No one likes to move beyond his or her comfort zone, but that’s really where the magic happens. It’s where we can grow, learn, and develop in a way that expands our horizons beyond what we thought was possible.

Also, it’s terrifying.

This article on HBR.org encourages us how to get out of your comfort zone. Here are the highlights:

> Tip 1: Recognize When You’re Tricking Yourself

Instead of rationalizing why the behavior is something not worth performing, actively brainstorm all the reasons why it is worth performing.  How can taking the leap and starting to work on performing this tough, but key behavior advance your career, give you chances to grow and learn in exciting ways, or whatever other goals you happen to care about?

> Tip 2: Construct a Plan That’s Unique to Your Situation

Taking a leap without a plan is bold, but unwise.  And without a strategy for how you are going to actually make this change, you’ll likely end up just where you started. So what kind of strategy should you use?

> Tip 3: Find a Mentor or Coach

Even with a solid plan and a revitalized sense of purpose, a good source of help, courage, inspiration, and feedback can seal the deal. It can be a professional coach, but doesn’t have to. A thoughtful and encouraging colleague or friend can also do the trick.

These 3 simple steps beg another question: What are you waiting for?

That question was on my mind as I began my day’s reading, researching, curating, and editing – and over a period of a few hours, the following came together:

Excellence isn’t about working extra hard to do what you’re told. It’s about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing. It’s a personal, urgent, this-is-my-calling way to do your job. Please stop waiting for a map. We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.   – Seth Godin

Mapmakers are those who can effectively circumnavigate constraints in order to make things happen. We all deal with constraints, especially if we are working inside an organization. There will always be organizational charts, reporting structures, budgets, and defined career paths of some sort. The question isn’t whether constraints exist, but whether persist in finding our way around and through them.

Where in your life and work are you waiting for permission? Don’t anticipate that someone is going to hand you a map. You’ll probably have to make your own. The good news is that once you get moving, the terrain becomes more visible and navigable. It’s only when you’re standing still, unaware of what’s over the next hill, that the path of progress is opaque and frightening.

Say yes, then figure it out along the way.   Todd Henry, Die Empty

A quote often wrongly attributed to The Cheshire Cat:

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.   – George Harrison, from his song “Any Road”

The actual conversation between Alice and The Cheshire Cate:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,” Alice added as an explanation.

“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”

And, from everyone’s favorite graduation gift book,

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…

   – Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

A closing challenge from Todd Henry:

When you look back on your life, the moments you will be most proud of will likely be the ones where you stepped out of your comfort zone in the pursuit of something you believed in. Don’t allow the lull of comfort to keep you trapped in a place of complacency and subpar engagement.

You must own your own growth and take responsibility for your own progress.

 

inspired by, and adapted from, Todd Henry’s Die Empty, with a little help from Andy Molinsky, Seth Godin, George Harrison, Alice in Wonderland, and Dr. Seuss


Would you like to know more about stepping outside of your comfort zone? Connect with an Auxano Navigator and start a conversation with our team.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

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comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Understanding the 4 Common Places Bright Leaders Often Get Stuck in Their Development

Todd Henry, founder of the Accidental Creative consultancy and author of the books Accidental Creative and Die Empty, wants us to redefine work: Work is any way in which you contribute value to the world using your available resources. Your body of work comprises the sum total of where you choose to place your limited focus, assets, time and energy.

If we redefine work as Henry suggests, then work is core to the human experience. In a recent post on his website, he adds the following: Our goal should be to give our best work every day and to not leave it inside or take it to our grave with us like so many people do. We all have a unique contribution to make to the world through our life and work, but unless we are purposeful about getting to it, others may never experience it.

There are three kinds of work that we engage in as we go about our day. They are Mapping, Making, and Meshing.

  • Mapping is planning your work. It is when you strategize, conceive, think, plan, and plot your course of action. It’s the “work before the work” that helps you stay aligned.
  • Making is actually doing the work. It is when you are creating the actual value you are being paid for, or doing the tasks you devised while mapping.
  • Meshing is the third kind of work, and it’s often overlooked in the hustle of daily activity. It is all of the “work between the work” that actually makes you more effective when you are working. It’s comprised of things like following your curiosity, study, developing your skills, and asking deeper questions about why you are doing your work.

Depending on how diligent you are at engaging in these three kinds of work, you will occasionally fall into one of four “productivity profiles”.

To read the rest of this article, and discover your productivity profile, click here.

To read more from Todd, go here.

Check out our free SUMS book summary on Todd’s book The Accidental Creative. You can sign up to receive future release of SUMS here.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

In the Face of Uncertainty, Pursue Clarity

One force that’s ever-present in any form of creative work – like ministry – is uncertainty. The reality is that you will never know – really know – what’s right.

  • Is this good enough?
  • Is it finished?
  • Is it the right strategy?
  • How should I spend my time/focus/energy today?
  • Which idea should I run with?
  • How can I sell this to my team?

Uncertainty is an uncooperative dance partner. You have to move with it – in concert, drawing from it, following its lead at times, but always with an eye on your next move – in order to do your best work. The worst thing you can do is allow uncertainty to paralyze you into inaction.

Todd Henry, founder of the Accidental Creative consultancy and author of The Accidental Creative and Die Empty, has a challenging statement for leaders who are facing uncertainty:

>> In the face of uncertainty, pursue clarity.

You will never rid yourself of uncertainty. It’s a part of the game. When the sand is shifting beneath your feet, try to find some solid ground. Seek clarity. You’ll often find that simply getting clear relieves some of the pressure and illuminates your next steps.

 

Read the full article on pursuing clarity by Todd here.

To download a summary of Todd’s book The Accidental Creative, go here.

SUMS_TheAccidentalCreative

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Creative Leadership: Avoiding Fatal Mistakes

Leadership is hard. It’s a lonely role, you face crushing uncertainty with elevated stakes, and you’re expected to deliver not only on your own work, but also to corral the creative minds of others and parade them into the promised land. (Oh, and did I mention that it’s often thankless?)

Todd Henry, founder of Accidental Creative, a consultancy that helps organizations generate brilliant ideas, warns of the following traps that even the most experienced leaders fall into:

Deferring

This means that you’re pushing important decisions into the future until you are more certain about the right direction. While this initially seems wise, it has a ripple effect through the organization as others wait for you to act so that they can determine their own course of action.

Blaming

When things go awry and your team comes to you for answers, it’s easy to shoot arrows at the people above you. After all, if it’s really not your fault it’s a natural instinct, and it feels like a way to maintain the trust of your team.

Bending

Creative work is highly qualitative. It’s difficult sometimes to determine whether the product fits the original objectives, and it’s often a matter of opinion.  You have to make your expectations clear to the team, and you must be diligent in demanding they hit the metrics.

Hovering

You’ve hired great people, yes? Then don’t smother them by constantly hovering over their work. It communicates a lack of trust, and it may ultimately lead to a dependence on your feedback, or worse to under-performance or under-thinking.

These are just a few of the (many) traps that creative leaders fall into. Leadership is about establishing the playing field, setting the rules, defining success, and unleashing your team to do what they’re wired to do. Avoid these common traps so that you don’t stand in the way of your team’s brilliance!

Read the full post here.

Read more from Todd here.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

VRcurator

VRcurator

Bob Adams is Auxano's Vision Room Curator. His background includes over 23 years as an associate/executive pastor as well as 8 years as the Lead Consultant for a church design build company. He joined Auxano in 2012.

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

Want to Get More Done? Stop Doing So Much!

The world is accelerating, and there are more platforms and opportunities for expression than at any point in history. As a result, we often expect more of ourselves and others. If time is available for a project, then it seems reasonable to agree to take it on or to expect others to do so. However, as these commitments build they can quickly begin to suffocate our capacity to engage with the work. We find that we are still able to technically get around to everything, but our effectiveness is decreasing. We are sinking slowly into a sea of mediocrity.

This is why pruning is critical.

In a vineyard, the vine keeper knows that if a vine is not regularly pruned, new fruit will eventually begin to steal resources from the older, more mature, fruit-bearing parts of the vine. Over time, the unpruned vine will eventually succumb to systemic mediocrity because it simply can’t support that much fruit. There aren’t the resources available. The good fruit suffers in order to support the less mature fruit.

Read the rest of Todd’s post here.

Download PDF

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| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Henry

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COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.

What to Do When You’re Burned Out

It happens to everyone sooner or later. You’re producing great work, everything seems to be running smoothly, and in short – you’re on fire. Then soon you feel the first pangs of that fire turning on you, and within a short while you’re running on empty.

 

When this happens, ideas don’t flow as easily, and everything you try seems to take much more effort than you have available. Yet you still have to produce. You have to deliver the results you’re being paid to produce, and there is little reprieve from the pressure of the create-on-demand world.

So what do you do when you’re burned out? How can you begin to reclaim your creative energy and get “back in the game”?

Step One: Admit that you’re overextended.

This is critical, because many people are too afraid to admit such a thing because it breaks the illusion of invulnerability. Sometimes we’d rather perpetuate that illusion than engage in the kind of honesty that helps us be more effective. It’s important to accept that you have limits.

Sometimes it’s also helpful to share how you feel with your manager, though if it’s a season in which everyone is overextended, you’re likely to get the “yeah, me too” glare. Still, teams that are able to have these kinds of conversations openly and honestly are less likely to have massive explosions of distrust and anger down the road. (If you’re a team leader, encourage people to have these kinds of conversations with you, as it helps you gauge team members’ expectations and true limits.)

Create an inventory of your current commitments, upcoming obligations, and anything else that demands your focus, time, and energy. Get a good sense for where you are, how you got there, and the true scope of your current situation.

Read the rest of the article from Todd here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Leadership >

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Todd Henry

See more articles by >

COMMENTS

What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Christinah Facing the dilema in church planting has just given me sleepless nights with headache in this small town in Swaziland Southern Africa. The model we used is not working. People around are shunning our services. I do not feel like quitting, but some of my team members are discouraged now.
 
— Tau Kutloano Christinah
 
comment_post_ID); ?> I have found out more. I guess it's all about backing? ReNew doesn't have that. We are a mission church, in a small downtown area. We are a wonderful church though. I guess we also needed everyone to attend and possibly be of service all the time. If I could have it all over to again, I'd participate more, open my mouth more,....IDK, I still am holding onto God's intervention somehow. We have until Sept. 30th.
 
— Linda Speaks
 
comment_post_ID); ?> We are experiencing our church closing at the end of the month. We are all heart broken and agree that this is the best church family we've ever had. I personally can say I am not used to my attendance weekly being so important. I have never been to a start up church. We needed 3 things, an associate pastor, everyone's involvement and money. I cannot believe that the best church for so many people is closing. Being g a forever optimist, I can't help but think God will intervene somehow.
 
— Linda
 

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.