Build on what you do well. I heard an interesting quote yesterday.
I was talking with someone about a quote she recently picked up somewhere. It was,
success begins at the edge of your comfort zone
The honest truth, I don’t like quotes like this. I’m sure the person who said it is terrific. And I get what they’re saying, but I disagree with it.
Quotes lack context. People tend to use them for their purposes rather than what the author intended. It doesn’t leave me with much to work. What do I do with something like that?
The phrase comfort zone doesn’t give me much to work with either. It’s more of an I know it when I see it kind of thing. And how does one get to the edge of it, let alone leave it? I write about building upon your strengths. I write about further developing what has worked for you.
People sometimes confuse this with the idea of resting on your laurels. Or with staying inside your comfort zone. I’ve never viewed it that way. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth.
To find the edge of our comfort zone we need to find a path. That means starting from the place where you are comfortable to a spot at the edge. And the only way to do that is to figure out your current skills, and how far that can push you. It relies on you doing the things you already do well to get there.
Build On What You Do Well
Last evening I spent time watching a talent show. Aside from the great performances, it was abundantly clear how much each person practised. For some, it wasn’t the first time they had been on stage. For others, you could see how new this was.
But there they were, standing and performing. It’s not as if they suddenly found the edge of comfort and stepped out. They got there by using the platform of their strengths.
What you know. What you do well. These are the how of finding that edge. It is what you use to build the path.
If I’m going to climb a rocky mountainside, walk up to the edge and push myself beyond my comfort zone by jumping off into a deep blue pool of water, I still need to rely on so many things that I do well already.
I need to use my skills of walking to carry me up to the mountain. And I’ll need to use my swimming skills once I’m in the water.
So, no. Focusing on what you do well; focusing on systems that work for you. Focusing on a step-by-step process, you have used to be successful in the past doesn’t mean that you are staying in your comfort zone.
Build On What You Do Well
It merely means that you were building on what you do well to lift you up to a place where you can find the edge and then take one more step.
So, I’m sure I don’t agree with the quote. Success began long before those kids reached the edge of the stage. And it took a whole lot of building on what they do well to get there. But I do know they took a huge leap forward.
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