Julie Grass


Time To Add
Some Square Footage
To Your Comfort Zone?

By Julie Grass  


Management Consulting + Coaching



  • What are the limits of your comfort zone keeping you from doing?

  • What are the limits of your organization’s comfort zone, keeping your organization from accomplishing?

  • If you were guaranteed success, what would you try?

  • What is one thing you're willing to commit to doing today that will stretch your comfort zone?




For a printable version
of this newsletter Click Here




Do you bump into yourself all the time?  Whether you’re at work or at home, do you feel like there’s never quite enough elbow-room?


In a tight economy, one of the most valuable and affordable ways to expand your “space” is to add some square footage to your comfort zone.  You don’t need to take out a loan and it doesn’t come with a mortgage.  As a matter of fact, rather than requiring that you make monthly payments, expanding your comfort zone will pay you major ROI.


Everyone has a comfort zone.  It is that invisible space where we are familiar with what we are doing, what is expected of us, and how to behave.  These self-proclaimed zones are places where we have been before and feel at ease.  We know where things are and how to fix the occasional burned out light bulb and when we look at ourselves in the mirror above the sink, we know exactly what we look like – we look like what we looked like yesterday!


By definition, there are no surprises in our comfort zones. Say, you have a favorite restaurant and you go there every day for lunch and order the meatloaf which is always fine.  That would be, well, fine.  But, do you ever just salivate for something other than meatloaf?  Say, a tuna melt or a spinach salad or a bowl of chicken noodle soup?  Until you order something else, there’s no way to know that it will be fine.  There is a possibility that it will be disappointing, but there is also a chance that it will be sensational.


Let me tell you about Sherry.  She is the executive director of a non-profit.  She leads a capable staff of 3 and she seems to bring out the best in each person.  She has monthly brainstorming sessions that often result in new ideas and she passes them along to the board president.


Recognizing Sherry’s talent for uncovering fresh ideas, the president invites her to take on a different role at the otherwise stale, really very boring board meetings.  Up until this time, Sherry attended meetings as a note-taker, an implementer, someone who made sure the room was the right temperature and that there was enough Sweet & Low.  She could do it in her sleep.  Now she is being asked to facilitate a 45-minute brainstorm at the upcoming board meeting.


Flattered?  You bet!  After five years of hard work, complaining to her friends that she is under-utilized and, now, she is now being recognized and being given an opportunity to shine.


Anxious?  You bet!  What if the board members don’t respond the way her staff does?  What if no one participates?  What if the president of the board stops her in the middle and says, “Sherry, what was I thinking you don’t know how to do this.”


The walls of Sherry’s comfort zone were being rattled.  Should she take the risk or should she stay with the meatloaf?


She went for it.  She did an excellent job and now she is very comfortable facilitating meetings and running creative brainstorming sessions.  She added a whole second story to her comfort zone!



TIPS for stretching your comfort zone

  • Start small.  Choose something that doesn’t have a huge impact if it doesn’t work as smoothly as you’d like.   For instance, ask a colleague whom you’ve wanted to get to know to join you for lunch.

  • Set yourself up to succeed.  Put your anxious energy to work for you.  For example, if you are going to teach a topic you’ve never presented before, spend extra time preparing and rehearse for someone you feel safe with.

  • Build in ‘comfort’ controls.  If you’re uncomfortable delegating because you are afraid someone won’t follow through, agree ahead of time how they will communicate their status and completion.  Then let go.

  • Use the resources around you.  If you are taking on a challenging assignment, ask someone who is familiar with the work if they will look it over and make sure you’ve hit the necessary points.

  • Acknowledge yourself.  Stretching your comfort zone takes courage.  Reward yourself when you're willing to move into new territory.




If you have questions or thoughts to share, please drop us a line at Julie@TheMomentumGroup.biz