Break Out of Your Comfort Zone: 5 Action Steps To Make A Change

 In Career Tips

iStock_000036914180SmallChange can be so challenging, especially when it comes to career. We are creatures of habit – hard-wired to seek comfort in the perceived safety of routine and what’s already known.

Whether it’s clinging to people, places, things, or the way we think and the actions we take, resisting change can cause stagnation and even depression – and it can shut the door to opportunities for growth.

If you’re ready to break out of a career comfort zone that is no longer serving you, but feeling overwhelmed and fearful about what lies ahead, here are five action steps that can help you towards new challenge and growth:

  • Brainstorm – Sit down with pen and paper and imagine ideal work scenarios. What do you see yourself doing? Think about ideal location, work culture, how your time is spent. Have fun with it!
  • Create a plan – Do some research to help translate these ideal work scenarios you’ve come up with into actual careers and, more specifically, actual jobs – then find out about companies that hire for these types of positions.
  • Start with ‘baby steps’ – Oftentimes we look at a job or career change as a huge mountain to climb.  We can get so overwhelmed that we feel paralyzed.  I love the quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu that says, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” …and it couldn’t be truer. Start with one small step…then add another and another, and, before you know it, you’re on your way to making positive changes in your life.  Pick a number that feels do-able, say three, and decide to do three things toward your new job/career each day. Find a way to reward yourself for following through on your daily goal.
  • Risk  – the thing that makes change so scary for so many is that there is risk involved. There’s no denying that going in for an interview or even picking up the phone to call someone about a job can be fear-inducing, but there’s no avoiding risk if you’re ready for change. Strengthen the ‘risk’ muscle by starting small and building up. Choose to do something that feels like a risk, at least once a day, towards your new job.
  • Get support – surround yourself with positive people who can provide counsel, wisdom, and network connections that will help make the process more enjoyable.

Breaking out of your comfort zone may propel you into a ‘discomfort zone’, but the ‘growing pains’ can lead you to a richer, fuller life. So take that first step, and then the second, and then the third. Stay the course and ask for help along the way. You have the power to make positive changes in your life.

With over a decade of career and professional development coaching experience, Caroline Dowd-Higgins has a desire to empower and energize people to achieve their personal goals.  Her training style is engaging, high energy, and positive with a focus on unlocking the self-advocate within each of us.  Read more from Caroline at

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