A comfort zone is an anathema in entrepreneurship. It should be too in other progressive sections of the society. It is an enemy of progress.
But comfort zones look good. Surely, being able to operate in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver kills creativity and success..
Highly successful persons routinely step outside their comfort zones, to accomplish what they wish. Otherwise, the sense of comfort mentally conditions us to
create and operate in mental boundaries. Such boundaries create an unfounded sense of security.
Like inertia, a person who has established a comfort zone in
a particular axis of his or her life, will tend to stay within that zone without stepping outside of it.
In fact, it is mostly this comfort zone business that is to blame for bureaucracy.
Illustration; I set up an appointment with a major government agency
recently. I thought (and still think) that I had an idea that I thought was useful to them in making them more effective.
I had pondered over this and put in
some research. So, I wanted to share my thoughts with them and I was to see the boss a week later, subject to confirmation. The appointment was on a Monday
Naturally, the confirmation should have come by Friday. It did not come. On the appointment day, I braved the rain (it has recently been raining in the mornings in Kigali) and went to find out.
The Personal Assistanr still said they would confirm. I am selfish with my time and this looked like a time wasting exercise.
Someone told me that the boss is in and there’s open door policy I walked into the bosses office. I was referred to the PA to set up
I left, fuming at the bureaucracy and wasted time. The confirmation never came. Clearly our friends are quite comfortable with their
system; even if it does not work!
My approach was not conventional but then if they can deal conventionally, where is the creativity and innovation? Clearly they have developed a comfort
They are not alone. How many times do you go to your neighborhood shop and ask for an item and the answer is a standard ‘ntayo’ (it is not available)?
We need to step out of the comfort zone and raise our anxiety level to engender stress response. This will result in enhanced level of concentration and
Eventually this develops the Optimal Performance Zone - a zone in which the performance of a person can be enhanced and their skills can be optimized.
This should be for a sufficient period of time so that performance can be achieved and become embedded.
Self-image may result from how you see yourself, how others see you or how you perceive others see you. These three types may or may not be an accurate
representation of the person.
All, some or none of them may be true. The boss and the shopkeeper would be much better off if they could spare time for ideas
and stock their shops, respectively.
The key questions are; does each of us see themselves through rose colored glasses or do we each have a big picture
from which each of us compares where they are vis-a vis where they should be? Do we accurately and without arrogance see what each of our role is in the
whole and its importance? If we each did this, I DOUBT if we would be in comfort zones because there is so much to be done.
Insanity has been defined `as doing the same thing in the same manner yet expecting a different result. We cannot stay in our comfort zones and expect to
phenomenally grow. We have to step out of our comfort zones, fast!
Sam Kebongo is a skills and business advisory services consultant. He also teaches entrepreneurship at Rwanda Tourism University College.