“Everything you want in the world is just right outside
your comfort zone. Everything you could possibly want!”
– Jennifer Aniston, actress
I once heard a joke that goes like this: “The only reason there are matinee movies in large metropolitan cities is for commission sales reps who have hit their comfort zone income early in the month.”
I remember my thoughts when I first heard this. I remember thinking that when I got near the production I needed to make my expenses for the month, I let my foot off the pedal. Once I knew I was covered, I just wanted to relax.
I remember how it was in the early part of my career, I was more interested in getting by than in succeeding. I didn’t have any goals, and I certainly didn’t see myself advancing in my career. Inside I was secretly hoping to go back to school and get my doctorate in psychology. I was just sort of hanging out in my job until the time was right.
What always interested me though, were the top producers. There were three people in my company who made considerably more money than me and it showed. They drove beautiful cars, and owned homes, and won all the bonuses. I had no idea how they did it, and it wasn’t until I heard about the concept of a comfort zone that I put it all together.
What I learned is that the only difference between my production and those of the top 20% was what we expected of ourselves, and how hard we were willing to work to get it. I learned that if I wanted to achieve more, in my job or even back in school, then I had to be willing to examine and step outside my comfort zone.
If I wanted more from my job, I had to get to work earlier, use a scripted, best practice approach, record myself daily, etc. That was the “try harder” part. But it also meant that I needed to expect more. I had to be willing to step outside of my comfort zone and think bigger.
This was the hardest part because it meant I needed to believe I could have and I could achieve more. It was hard to change my expectations and my beliefs, but I did it incrementally by setting small goals and achieving those first. It was then easier to raise my goals a little more. By doing this over time, I raised my comfort zone.
In my experience, everything and anything is possible if I’m willing to believe it is. I like to say that if anyone else has something or has done something, then I can do it, too. And so can you – as long as you are willing to get out of your comfort zone and put in the work.