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Friday, March 20, 2015

Lean Quote: Comfort Zone Doesn’t Promote Growth

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.— Unknown

It’s funny that this quote is by ‘unknown’ because stepping out of your comfort zone is essentially stepping into the unknown. and it’s scary but that is how we grow and learn, we must face what is new to us head on no matter how scary or difficult it is.

Your comfort zone.  This phrase can be used to describe many areas of our lives, both personally and professionally.  It is a place where we are, well, comfortable.

Change is necessary for growth. While it may be very comfortable to stay in a place of familiarity, we will never grow into the person we are created to be if we are unwilling to move beyond what is comfortable.  Many people have become complacent because the common notion is that change is bad. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Change can be very healthy and liberating. How we respond to change is a function of our mindset. Change your mind, change your outlook. And the reality is, change is inevitable. I like to say the only thing that remains the same is change.

If you want something that you have never had before, you’re going to have to do some things that you have never done before.  It’s like being a caged hamster on a wheel. You can expend a lot of energy, but never go anywhere. I‘ve learned that every step you take out of your comfort zone gets you off the “wheel” and onto a path of improvement.  Every step into the uncomfortable is building courage to take the next step.

Moving beyond our comfort zones is how we can best learn and grow. The challenge is to resist our normal human instinct to seek comfort rather that discomfort. The key is to continually push beyond the comfort zone and drive continuous improvement to develop and strengthen your Lean thinking.

Leaders need to challenge their employees to move out of their comfort zone. You can’t move forward if you don’t grow and you can’t grow if you never leave your comfort zone. When possible, give your employees challenging assignments. Help them prepare by providing them a safe environment to learn from the mistakes that they are bound to make.

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