It’s a common phrase, but what does “Out of your comfort zone” mean for both your personal and professional life? You can get stuck in your comfort zone and need a push to go through fear, learning, and growth. 

Irene Marshall - Tip Call Out - An elephant got me out of my comfort zone

Comfort Zone > Fear Zone > Learning Zone > Growth Zone

How did an elephant help me to understand this? My husband (Curtis) and I went to India for a month about 25 years ago as independent travelers. We loved it!    


We were comfortable with friends, a nice house, and jobs. We decided we wanted to go to another part of the world that was different from San Francisco. We picked seven cities in India.     


Then we unexpectedly got afraid. Would we get sick from the food? Would we be safe? What about the poverty? Could we take care of ourselves since we were not on a tour? 


We had a funny but unexpected experience while walking down a city street. There was a mahout (trainer) also walking his elephant down the street towards us. It was something absolutely normal. 


We stopped being afraid and started to relax and have fun. We were in the right place – seeing an elephant on the street met our objective to be somewhere different than San Francisco.  

What does this have to do with your career or a job search? Do you need to make a change by intent or in response to something that happened, such as getting laid off from your job.   

  • Think about what is in your comfort zone in both your personal and professional life. 
  • Then decide to do something else different.  
  • Plan, plan, plan, and then plan even more. Prepare yourself to be uncomfortable.    
  • What fear will you need to confront that is part of the new action you will be taking?  
  • What will make you lose that fear? 
  • What things do you want to learn?  
  • Can you connect with some people who can help you?   
  • Then follow Nike’s slogan and “Just Do It!” 
  • How have you grown by getting past your fear in order to start to learn?    
  • What action did you take?  
  • Are you more confident now?  

You can move through this cycle many times. I am a career and job search coach, and I help people find work they really want to do. If you would like to talk, you can schedule a free consultation.