ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTOR

Robyn Henderson
Robyn Henderson Global Networking Specialist, Robyn Henderson has authored and contributed to more than 30 books on networking, career and business development. She has spoken in 12 countries, presents over 150 times each year and has never advertised - all her work comes from networking, referrals and her website www.networkingtowin.com.au

Robyn Henderson has written 29 article(s) for us.

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Is it Time to Move Out of your Comfort Zone?

October 12, 2012 | Robyn Henderson

Whatever your comfort zone might be, it may be time to learn what's outside those comforting walls and how it can benefit you.
Whatever your comfort zone might be, it may be time to learn what's outside those comforting walls and how it can benefit you.

How long is it since you moved out of your comfort zone? You know that very comfortable 90 degrees segment of your life, where everything is comfortable (hence the name) and predictable. The trouble with living within your comfort zone is it can potentially become very boring. It’s safe, and it’s boring. So let’s stretch your comfort zone this month.

I would love to share one of my favourite stories – written by Daniel Levin in The Zen Book.

” Two frogs lived together in a pond. Day and night they swam together and were content with the life they had. One day the little frog jumped onto the land and told his friend that he was going to explore what was around them. Soon he was on top of the hill and couldn’t believe his eyes. On one side he spied the little pond he’d known his whole life, but on the other side, there was water as far as his eyes could see. Clearly, this was the biggest lake he’s ever seen!

Excitedly, he hopped down to his friend, told him what he’d seen, and beckoned him to come with him. His friend didn’t believe him and couldn’t be convinced to leave the small pond, asking the little frog what could be bigger than what they already had. After trying his best to talk his friend into coming with him, the little frog hopped off and lived forever in the wonderful big lake he saw.

So often we think that where we are is all that exists, when right over the horizon is something so much greater than we could ever imagine. We simply need to be willing to take the risk to go somewhere we haven’t been and do something we haven’t done.”

Here are 3 things that might stretch your comfort zone this month?

  • Write a short article and submit it to the next WNA magazine. Not sure where to start? Maybe you can identify the 3 biggest mistakes people make when they use your product or service. Start writing 50 words, 150 words, 500 words – whatever works for you.
  • Start a discussion on the WNA LinkedIn group. Read today’s newspaper and pick up on any one of the many controversial opinions expressed. Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb in expressing your opinion – you might find there are plenty of people who agree with you. Comment on discussions already on the discussion board.
  • Spend an hour on LinkedIn with the objective to expand your connections list by 20 people based in the same state as you. Again start with the WNA LinkedIn group. When you click on members you will see all the people, whom you are already connected to. And lots of members whom you may have met at a WNA function and many you don’t know. Start reading the profiles of WNA members whom you don’t know yet. There are stacks of really interesting members you can potentially connect to. Press the connect button on their profile and you will have options with sending them an invitation. One option is groups and WNA will come up as the mutual group you are connected to. Avoid just sending the basic “join my network” invitation. Why not add a personal message – I notice we are both WNA members, I liked your comments about the XYZ discussion, I would like to add you to my network.”

What is the worst thing that happens on LI? Your invitation is ignored. Before I learned about social media, I rejected literally hundreds of invitations from people I knew let alone those who were strangers. In hindsight, learning about social media was out of my comfort zone and I avoided it for months. How crazy was that? I was trying to avoid an avalanche by standing still. Silly me.

Now I have moved out of my comfort zone, grown my LinkedIn connections to 5,500+ and I can track 20 per cent of new business as coming directly from LinkedIn. Was it worth the initial discomfort of moving out of my comfort zone? Definitely.

Those three comfort stretching ideas will get you going. But don’t stop there, over the next seven days, why not eat and drink something you have never tried before. Go to the newsagent or library and select a magazine you would never normally read. Try on an outfit you would not normally wear, ensure its in a colour you have not worn before. You don’t have to buy it – you just need to feel that little discomfort when you are doing something for the first time. Start talking to strangers the next time you are in a queue – continually look for opportunities to expand your network and comfort level.

Remember, every best friend was once a perfect stranger.

Who have you met in your networking journey that you didn’t expect to be a long lasting and excellent business connection? Share your experiences below.