Move To The Next Level Of Leadership

Are you ready to move to the next level of leadership? Obtain that next level of responsibility or to guide more people?

You might not like what it’ll take to get there. To step up to the next level of leadership.

Marshall Lawrence playing Les Paul guitar

Image by Hugh Lee

This journey won’t be easy. It definitely won’t be comfortable. However, it’s necessary. It’s worth it. And you’ll see growth.

The Comfort Zone

We all have comfort zones. Areas where we are competent and confident. Our skills can be displayed but they’re not really tested.

I remember trying to learn to play the electric guitar. There were weeks of lessons. Some practice. Lots of frustration.

Over time, I began to fall back on the song Glycerin by Bush. It was the first song I’d learned. The chords were simple. The melody easy to remember.

Glycerin became my comfort zone when playing the guitar.

You’ll discover your leadership has a comfort zone. A place where you really shine and know what you’re doing.

It may be you’re an extrovert and love interacting with others. You excel at forming relationships and connections. Life is good in this zone.

The Growth Zone

Because I kept focusing on playing Glycerin, I found myself not progressing as a guitar player. My skills weren’t being stretched and I wasn’t learning anything new.

This produced a problem. I had stopped growing. Until I stopped playing altogether.

Whenever we fall into the comfort zone, we’re in danger. We’re in danger of not growing. Of falling back. Of no progress.

Growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. It happens in the growth zone.

Getting into the growth zone is the only way you can move to the next level of leadership.

I’m not saying to leave your strengths behind and work on your weaknesses. We know this isn’t effective.

What I’m telling you is you need to step outside of the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. Find the edge of your comfort zone and step outside of it.

Go where your strengths are pulling you. Go where your strengths are needed. Most importantly, go where your strengths are tested.

Only through testing will your strengths become fully developed. You’ll level up your strengths.

As you do, you’ll begin to see more opportunities to lead.

This will allow you to step up to the next level of leadership.

Developed skills. Strengthened skills. Tested skills.

These are the keys to moving forward.

Question: What comfort zone do you need to step out of? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Joseph,

    Thanks for this post! Writing and thinking about comfort zones is one of my favorite topics. I am hoping to put together a video series about it soon.

    And the funny thing is, my comfort zone is creating certain kinds of content. It has become so easy for me to write 500 word, so-so blog posts that people probably don’t care much for. So, I’ve had to break through that comfort zone and actually have a 1,200 word post that I’ll be using for a guest blog post soon.

    It’s a big reason why I want to do video too. It’s going to require putting myself out there way more than I’m used to but I see the value of entering the Growth Zone as you call it. Great way to put that concept.

    What’s YOUR comfort zone that you’re trying to get out of right now?

    • My pleasure Jeff. If you put together a video series, please let me know. I’d love to check it out.

      My comfort zone has been blogging. Like you, it’s been easy to write posts and get them out to an audience. I need to break out of that and, like my buddy @kimanzi:disqus, start pursuing speaking engagements.

      • I’d love to hear about your process of pursuing speaking engagements and can encourage you that this would be a fantastic path to pursue. This is something God has put on my heart to pursue in the future.

        • I wish I had something to say about pursuing speaking engagements. Unfortunately, it’s an area I still need to break into and get out of my comfort zone.

  • Great post, one of my favorite topics is personal growth. This week is really stretching me and causing me to move outside of my comfort zone. I have a total of 4 speeches, video interviews, and trainings this week. I’m looking forward to the growth:)

    • Sounds like you’re moving forward Dan! That’s great you’re stretching and getting out of the comfort zone and into the growth zone. I know great things are coming for you!

    • DS

      Excited to hear about this. Hope to hear a few more details in some way about your experience, what worked well, what could be improved, and your personal reflections on it.

  • David

    Staying in your comfort zone, not only nets virtually zero growth, it also causes us to become complacent. Stay in your complacent comfort zone too long and before you know it, days, weeks, months, or even years pass you by that you can never recoup. I know … I’ve been there and done that.

    • I love how you brought complacency into the equation David. Comfort really does that to us, huh? Like you, I’ve been there too. It’s not a place I want to be anymore. How do you recognize the complacency and move away from it?

  • I’m working on two new talks this week and I’m always terrified of public speaking, I know I need to step out of my comfort zone!

    • Sweet, knowing you the speeches will be spectacular. Having seen you speak, I couldn’t tell you were terrified. You were smooth, calm, and effective.

    • DS

      I’ve been speaking in public since I was 13 – and I still get nervous/anxious. I think it’s a healthy respect for what you’re doing, and wanting to leave your audience better than where you found them. I know you’ll put in the time and effort of solid preparation. Keep pressing on!

  • Dave Arnold

    Hey Joe – great post! It’s so easy to slide into the comfort zone; I do it, sadly, subconsciously. I like what you said – growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone. It happens in the growth zone. So true!

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Dave. Know that you’re not alone in the slide to the comfort zone. We all do it at some point, it’s the recovery that really matters.

  • I fear telling people about my business because of past notions that have not been cleared. I feel sometimes that they will look and think of me in a different way. However, I am learning that passion trumps fear. In meeting Kimanzi last week, it was a great step and inspiration to see what he has done.

    • That’s cool you were able to meet with Kimanzi and connect with him on a physical level. He’s a great inspiration.

      As for telling others about your business, there will be those who won’t want to hear it and those that would love to be a part of it. It’s just like any other business except there are seem to be stronger feelings towards the business path you’ve taken. Prove them wrong and show them it’s legitimate!

  • DS

    You took me to a different place with your reference to Bush! We definitely do have to challenge our comfort zones – especially if we want to make a difference in lives around us. It’s one of the reasons we’re choosing to host an orphan from the Ukraine. See a need, fill a need, grow and learn from the experience all while making an impact.

    • Haha, is that a good thing that I took you to a different place with Bush?

      That’s awesome DS. How long will you be hosting the orphan? Sure sounds like a step outside of the comfort zone.

      • DS

        It was a good thing. She’ll be with us about 6wks. – we’re super excited!

  • Great post. I will more than likely be moving up in the next few years to a position that will force growth (and probably some pain). I know I can do it, but it’s great to read your encouraging thoughts.

    • Sounds like growing pains to me Jon! Thankfully the pain that comes with the new position is normally worth it.

  • This has been a big lesson for me – I’ve seen a whole lot more good come from those times I stepped out of my comfort zone than when I stayed put. This is where the growth is – feeling a little uncomfortable but doing it anyway.

    • Exactly Tom. What’s been the best thing you’ve seen come from being outside of your comfort zone?

  • “Growth doesn’t happen in the comfort zone.” So true! I’m stepping way out of mine and starting a podcast. Excited!

    • Tammy, that’s a great step to take. Podcasting can be quite the stretch. I hope it does well and you get the results you desire! I’ve heard podcasting brings in big audiences these days.

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