Sometimes it’s actually smart to know when to stay in your comfort zone at work. It seems against the norms of executive thinking. But, I’m here to explain to you why it could be the smartest thing you can do for yourself.
If you struggle to open up at work this post may also be useful to you: Why Executive Leaders Must Talk About Elephants (opens in a new tab for your convenience).
When to stay in your comfort zone at work – script
It is important to know when it is the right time to be in a comfort zone or when to push yourself out of one.
Today I want to get a little deeper on the discussion we had on the comfort zone. (Important Skills For Leaving Your Leadership Comfort Zone). When is it wise and when is it good to be IN a comfort zone at work?
I personally get my support and my confidence from my family. I am very lucky to have a wife who tells me and remind me why I am doing this and what I am doing well and two lovely kids that I adore and we are a unit, we rally round each other when someone is stressed in other parts of their life or at home.
A lot of people tell me that I don’t take my work home and talk about it. My advice is that you should, it helps, you are only human. I would also tell you that even if you don’t talk about your work when you get home your family know, they can see it. They know when you had that great meeting with your boss, they know when you lost that deal or won that deal so you may as well share.
So let me flip it on it’s head, I go to the comfort of my home when I am stressed at work. So, what do you do at work when you are stressed or have troubles at home? That is when it is good to think about a comfort zone at work. Often people have ego or pride, us Brits call it the ‘stiff upper lip’. We feel that we can just solider on and we can cope. Well, you are wrong, you can’t. It is hard and at the end of the day you are only human.
It is good if you can find support at work and find a comfort zone. I chatted to a new acquaintance at work yesterday. He is very successful, he was telling me he is 1 year into his new job and that it is going well. He is having a tough quarter however, a hell of a lot of change, yet he wanted to talk to me about his career path and ambition, the political manoeuvres that were going on in his company, how he was coping with those, how he was keeping his career on track and keeps it going with a pace and urgency.
I just said to him, “but aren’t you about to go through a really tough divorce, buying a new house and about to acclimatise your children to this new way of living”? and he said “yeah”.
I said, “Look, it is okay to just slow down a little bit with your career and your ambition. Just turn the handle, get the quarter finished, do your day job which you love and are really good at. Just do that, whilst you solve your issues at home.”
If you are going through similar stuff, chat to your boss and see if you can get some support so people understand that you won’t be quite your normal self, you are not Buzz Lightyear, you’re only human!
So it is really important to find that comfort at work when you have stressful things going on at home. You are not a failure, it’s is okay to ask for help, we all go through it.
I work with thousands of people and I have learnt that everyone is going through their own fight, they are all going through their own stresses.
I have a friend who was also a customer, and this was about four years ago, he found out in one week that he’d lost his job (and this was a shock) and that his wife didn’t love him and was going to leave with the kids. It absolutely swept him away. It took him two years to come back from that. So, he was at his lowest point at home, his lowest point at work AT THE SAME TIME. It took him a couple of years to come back to being the guy I know. And that’s what it does. What he did was very smart. He was a very senior executive and he took the decision to go into an IC role in a job that he would really enjoy and be passionate about. And that he could deliver with his eyes closed, while he built back his confidence and built back his life. Really really clever move.
It is the people who DON’T do that are the ones that really struggle.
Even though I spend most of my time trying to persuade people to get out of comfort, there are times where it is good to be there and if you are a leader you need to think about your people and make sure you are aware of the kind of things they are going through and what support and coaching they may need from you.
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