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Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

It's a new month which means a new theme to focus on in the next two blog posts! The theme for this month is GOAL SETTING. I'm so excited to go through the ins and outs of goals as I'm a huge dreamer with lots and lots of ambitions, so I love talking about how I have achieved some of my previous goals and how I plan to tackle future ones.

I have always been quite used to getting out of my comfort zone since I was really young which extended to my adult life when I couldn't imagine not at least attempting getting the things I wanted, despite the effort it would take. So, when the YES competition was advertised to me, I immediately jumped on board.

The YES competition aims to showcase the entrepreneurial side of the scientific industry to those in academic positions such as PhD students, Post-doctorates and Technicians. As I am part of the BBSRC Doctoral Training Partnership, this is a fantastic way to supplement the additional training and opportunities we receive in hopes of creating well-rounded scientists that can flourish in any role in the industry. My interests were peaked as soon as I heard about the competition as I had completed a business enterprise/marketing dissertation for my 4th year Honours project and worked part time for an entrepreneurial organisation for a year and a half. However, the competition consisted of working with people I had never met before to create a business product that added value to the medical field and presenting a business plan to a team of potential investors. Think Dragon's Den but specifically for scientists. I felt so out of my depth as I don’t consider myself very entrepreneurial and our product was fictional so we had to be extremely convincing that something we had created in 2 weeks was a viable and legitimate product (LOL). My skills lie in managing a team and being pretty creative so if anything I knew I would have a bit of fun and definitely learn lots of things along the way. Was it all comfortable? Nope, it wasn't (imagine staying up until 3am creating a presentation deck over zoom with your team mates the night before the presentation 😣😴) but I honestly would do it all over again. I learned an incredible amount, bolstering my pre-existing skills of team-working/managing/creativity/time-management … the list goes on and who knows, I might well have my own business one day, which felt so far-fetched 6 months ago. In the end my team did really well and impressed the judges but never made it to the final. Despite this, the goal that I had personally set the beginning was just to do the competition and come out having understood how to develop my business acumen, and I exceeded my expectations!

The number one aspect of achieving any goal is realising that you need to get out of your comfort zone to do so, otherwise you'd already have what you're dreaming of. It's not the easiest thing to do but over the next two blog posts I'm going to try and breakdown how getting out of your comfort zone can become a daily habit, in order to maximise the chances of you achieving the great things you aspire to have.

What is your comfort zone?

Think of home comforts that stretch out to every aspect of your life. It's the little bubble you put yourself in because it's safe, familiar and easy. Nothing is too difficult as you are so used to how things work and when things don't, you know exactly how to fix it. You don't need to learn anything new because all of the learning was done a long time ago and everything is already habitual. This results in minimal brain stimulation in terms of long-term rewards but instead reliance on instant gratification from the simple things. Your ideal goals often seem extremely distant and unachievable because you're worried about failure and disruption of the comfortability of life. You are either content or easily bored, sometimes both are intertwined.

Why is it important to get out of your comfort zone?

Throughout life we are expected to learn, adapt and change to the times as nothing is static. Due to this, we need to become comfortable with our environment changing which requires an internal shift to cope with the new-ness of everything. If you don't get out of your comfort zone, you will most likely end up in a continuous loop of all the things I mentioned above as nothing moves forward in the way you expect. Key word: expect - if you're personally happy with the comfort zone I've described above, then your expectations have been met and you shouldn't feel forced to change that. However, what often occurs are people's expectations of what their lives are supposed to look like never being met because they have no idea what to do about actually achieving them. Another pitfall is being scared of failure without realising that in the process of achieving a goal, it might change or the learnings from the 'failure' will pivot you in a different direction. It's important to recognise that without getting out of the box you've put yourself in, you can't expect to be a better version of yourself, have the life you desire and that no-one will help you if you don't ask for it. Without trying something new or different, you'll never understand your true boundaries and limits, making the process of achieving future goals much easier.

DISCLAIMER: I want to make clear that putting all of your effort into achieving a goal will never guarantee your expectations being met, nor will your life instantaneously become easier or better, but you'll never know without trying!

What do you gain from all of this?

  1. A sense of achievement, even if the end result isn't what you expected

  2. Long-term gratification that will live on

  3. The recognition of your capabilities, boundaries and limits

  4. An understanding of how it feels to step outside of your comfort zone

  5. Drive - this is what sets apart a dream from reality

There are so many benefits to getting out of your comfort zone not to mention the ones which are personal to each individual. Even if it's trying out food you once didn't care for, applying for that new job/course you think you're not good enough for, sharing one of your passions with others because you're scared of what people think! Stop living your life in your bubble and keep expanding it so no-one can define you by one thing. I can assure you that doing things that scare you don't seem so scary in hindsight and all you need to do is break each goal down into manageable chunks. With that being said, keep a look out for my next blog post in two weeks where I'll be sharing with you how I set SMART goals.

I hope you enjoyed reading and if you did make sure to like the post and share with anyone you think would find this useful. Follow me on my social media pages for more up to date content and SUBSCRIBE so you never miss a thing!

Until next time,

D x

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