When asking for advice on how to progress with a career in sport, you’ll often hear people say, “step outside of your comfort zone” - something that is far easier said than done. However, such advice is well founded. Being able to push yourself out of your comfort zone is seen by many sports business leaders as a critical career success move. Not only can it support your drive to work in sport, but evidence shows it will also liberate and empower you as an individual.
The comfort zone is an individual’s anxiety-neutral state in which steady performance is delivered using a limited set of behaviours without any sense of risk. By operating in this manner, the likelihood of significant progression or success is low, and that’s why we hear the aforementioned advice delivered so regularly.
Being able to step outside of this zone, for example, embracing ‘an element of risk’, can have a tremendously positive impact and create a fast track for accelerating your career trajectory. It is, of course, possible to be successful by maintaining the status quo, but true differentiation is achievable only for those who are willing to embrace unfamiliar opportunities and challenges.
Here are 4 ways that stepping outside your comfort zone will benefit your career in sports and also develop you, as an individual:
Your day-to-day actions are observed by those around you. Whether you recognise that this is happening or not. By challenging yourself, taking risks, pushing for the best and delivering positive results, you are in turn inspiring those around you to do the same. This applies not only to the workplace, but in the sporting arena too. At some point in our lives, we’ve all had a person who has motivated us to go further than we believed we could; by stepping outside of our comfort zone, we can be that person for other blossoming sports industry professionals.
Deviating from the orthodox path gives you the opportunity to live and work on your own terms. It is likely that at some point you’ll be forced into action anyway, but why wait when you can be the initiator of new rules and change? This control over your lifestyle has been proven to increase performance, lower levels of stress and increase job satisfaction.
At some point in life, you’ll realise that nobody is perfect, despite the quest to reach this, ultimately, impossible summit. Once you have accepted this, barriers will become small hurdles, confidence will rise, and you’ll take more risks. Granted, risks carry a chance of failure, but your new mindset will rather see the opportunity for great success. By embracing failure, we become wiser and take these experiences into future projects.
The idea of bungee jumping may seem ludicrous – why would you want to jump off a structure from a potentially fatal height, supported by only elastic around the ankles? However, watching people jump, survive and describe their positive feelings is likely to bring this view into question. Regret is generated when we wonder, but do not act. The feeling of individual success far outweighs the preluding fear and immediately eradicates any regret. Take this attitude into the world of sports. Be bold, ambitious and embrace what you have previously feared.
Global Sports: the world’s leading specialist careers platform for the international sports industry