Comfort Zone: A Misnomer

What is more comforting than chocolate cake? Three different types of chocolate cake from Cake Monkey Bakery. Mini malted chocolate, salted caramel and raspberry red velvet cake accompany a cautionary tale about too much of a good thing.

Chocolate Cakes

A True-ish Story

Once upon a time, a young bird called Russell, The Crow, would not fly. Russell, The Crow annoyed everyone. He squawked incessantly creating a terrible ruckus refusing to fly, get his own food or listen to advice. The other crows in the neighborhood shouted and pleaded for Russell, The Crow to fly. They flapped their wings demonstrating lift-off technique, but he said, “No, thanks. I’ll stay here.” And Russell, The Crow stayed on the ground for a few days until the neighbor’s cat ate him for lunch.

The End.

Our professional comfort zone is a misnomer in my experience. This phase symbolizes the antithesis of ease and moreover, a concealed impediment to progress and possible danger to our professional reputations. Refusal to leave the familiar territory of an outgrown position summons multitudes of unexpected challenges to our attitude impeding progress and promotion. Ultimately, we end up simmering in discontent, toying with concocted drama, a real threat to our respectability instead of forging ahead to the unknown.

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.

It is time to fly but for unknown reasons we don’t leave the zone of wearisome routine also known as a cushy office and daily habit of grumbling regarding predicaments we do not intend to solve. Should we stay, or go? Grousing might be a short-lived bout of cantankerousness or maybe the voice of wisdom compelling movement so real growth and learning can materialize.

Ask a colleague how many of these behaviors you resemble.

Refusing to fly?

• Re-structuring the company around what is advantageous for your personal goals and schedule is a frequent fantasy made known by self-centered schemes shared in staff meetings and sarcastic quips.
• Suggestions impacting your domain are shot down while you have opinions for overhauling every other part of the business, except yours.
• You’ve seen ‘em come and you’ve seen ‘em go. You bank on your tenure or title protecting your less than professional behavior.
Indignant is your middle name. Expectation for improvement personally offends you.
• You excuse your demeanor with stories of being passionate while plain old bitter and angry is the honest description.
• You are a Master of every part of your job, just ask you. So why are you still there?
• An insatiable appetite for recognition keeps you in a state of perpetual irritation at perceived lack of attention for your contribution.
• You surmise the company, or your division, will crumble without you.

If your colleague laughed in agreement with any of these statements, you are likely comfortable, entitled and in danger of damaging your reputation. You may be bored, gasp! Unsmiling consequences await, even if no immediate penalties are administered. Perhaps nobody is coaching you because you have been categorized a lost cause but understand every incident chips away at the reputation you worked to build and are dismantling to the dismay of those around you. Time to fly from your current nest to a new role within your company or another assignment altogether to save yourself from destruction.

Consider this, every year you inhabit the same role, a bit of perspective is lost. You stop gaining new skills and rust sets in around resourcefulness because autopilot replaced your hustle. Either nobody challenges you or feedback becomes persona non grata and no mirror reflects the true image of complacency. In my experience, leaders dug in too long have a warped perception of his/her contributions becoming stuck in a painful comfort zone. Address your own reluctance for progression directly inspiring either a change in attitude or position.

What are we waiting for?

When we won’t step-up and fly due to fear, painful consequences seem to find us forcing a change like Russell, The Crow’s cat or a new boss. Perspective is gained by being tested and realizing our limits, yet sometimes we need to be pushed from the nest because we don’t have the guts to jump on our own. If you know you need to go, then go. But if you want to stay, an attitude change may be in order as you get back to a learning mode by dialing back entitlement and expanding self-awareness with a renewed commitment to being of service.

Get back on track:

• Make a list of things you appreciate regarding your organization and colleagues.
• Thank the person (s) responsible for what you appreciate. If you usually express appreciation through email, then say it face-to-face. You may receive strange looks but do it regardless.
• Schedule one-to-one meetings with members of your team and ask them how you can be a better support. Keep asking until you have tangible action items.
• Schedule a one-to-one meeting with your boss and ask for feedback about where the organization needs your talent. Continue probing until you have specific actionable item (s).

The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others. – Gandhi

Consider how you feel after such an exercise and if you can’t shake the entitlement, then call your favorite recruiter. Be warned that these types of issues travel with you likely manifesting in your next organization until the root cause is addressed. Even so, you might need to learn this valuable lesson about the discomfort zone with a different group of people.

Finally, being ungrateful and entitled is a siren call to the Universe to bring experiences that will help you find gratitude and purpose once again. Are you manifesting the neighbor’s cat or learning to fly?

Disclaimer: The story above should not be considered advice as the readers and users of Chocolate Cake Mondays are not clients and therefore CCM is not liable for reader’s reliance on the information herein.

Published by HIRED GUN