The world is very different than it was a few months ago. Going out and doing something spontaneous used to be skydiving or swimming with sharks, and now a trip to your local grocery store seems just as precarious. Because the world now seems more confined and limited, finding your growth zone, a period of time that pushes your boundaries to help you achieve more in your life, can be difficult.
As an ambitious working woman, you may be wondering what you could possibly do during these times to get out of your comfort zone. Well, it’s not going to be easy. You may not find a lot of really challenging opportunities.
It’s going to take some time to get used to this “new normal”, so the best way to embrace it is by discovering what small steps you can take to create a transformational phase in your life right now.
First let’s dive into why it’s important to find this zone.
The Characteristics of the Growth Zone
A growth zone is the area just beyond your comfortability. This zone may be related to your work environment or your level of responsibility. Growth zones are not limited by time or by space, but rather by small moments that catapult change and big milestones in which you can recognize you’ve developed.
A perfect example of a growth zone is that year right after you graduate and land your first job. That year is pivotal. You learn a lot about your industry that you never learned in school, you feel a bit uncomfortable going through a dozen first-times. Each small achievement – showing up for work on your first day, making professional friendships with colleagues, meeting your first client or customer – is the catalyst for growth.
Then, after some time you may be promoted or find a new job that pays a bit more, or achieve recognition at this job that makes you feel more confident and empowered to do more. You level up. After this breakthrough, you look back and see how all those small successes helped you get to that moment.
Sometimes, you recognize you’re in one of these transformational periods because it’s uncomfortable. You might feel like there is a lot of pressure on you or that you’re constantly dealing with mental or emotional pains.
These are growing pains. Just like physical growing pains, your mind and your energy will need to stretch a bit to achieve the next step in your life.
Sometimes, you may not recognize you’re in the midst of a growth zone. You may be excelling at something and learning, preparing yourself for that next move. Yet, you may not feel like you are doing anything productive.
These are still important times. If you’re someone who hates these down times because you feel you always need to be developing, learn to embrace them. We don’t always need to feel the growth for it to be happening.
During these times, it can help to relax, take a step back, and examine what small achievements you’re making. Just like a video game, every chapter of life has a different difficult level. It may not always be easy, so enjoy the times when you feel like you can breathe. Other times may not be as friendly to you.
If you feel stuck on a level or like your growth has come to a halt, then you may need to look for opportunities yourself. Covid-19 has brought our world to a bit of a standstill. Many people have lost their jobs and some have lost businesses. It may even feel like you’ve dropped down a few levels.
You may be struggling in a lot of different ways. Whether your confidence is shaken, you feel a little less than worthy, or you’ve gotten sick and haven’t been able to perform as well as you once were. Remember that what you’ve once learned is not forgotten.
Growth endures. You won’t lose the wisdom and knowledge you’ve gained. Instead, you have to look for your next period to evolve. Find a catalyst. Every one of these times starts with small actions that take you out of your comfort zone and push you to do something different.
How to Find Your Growth Zone
During these times of quarantine and isolation, it can feel almost impossible to grow. Staying motivated to work from home or keep your business afloat is mentally and emotionally exhausting. However, times like these are the ones that really make or break successful people.
Rarely does someone accomplish their goals by staying static and idle. Sparking internal evolution is as simple as finding a new hobby, or making an effort to meet new friends. It can help to volunteer or to hone one of your skills.
It’s possible that even the smallest changes in lifestyle, routine, or even attitude can launch huge growth within a person. To develop yourself and ensure you’re still evolving right now, think about the small changes you can make to each day.
If you’ve always wanted to be a morning person, wake up just 10 minutes earlier every day until you reach a time that feels achievable and maintainable. If you’ve always wanted to read more, then start a habit of reading just 10 minutes a day during lunch or before bed.
Maybe you’ve wanted to get out of the job you’re in right now and have been looking at a way to pivot. Now is a great time to take up some online classes to learn a new trade or even go back to school. Since more learning is happening online, opportunities are more abundant than ever.
Websites like Lynda.com or Hubspot Academy, offer training programs that can help you elevate your career. Although these times can seem dark and as if there is no way to overcome a stagnant career or work life, there is hope in the small changes you make.
Start your growth by writing down just one thing you want to accomplish during this crisis. Then, write down the small things you can do each day to achieve your goal. If it takes you 30 days or 12 months, it doesn’t matter. The hope is that these small changes will launch you into a period of your life where you are constantly evolving and become a better you.
When you achieve that milestone – be aware that you may not know what that milestone is until you’ve achieved it – you’ll know it’s time for your next level up.