There are three zones in everything that you do, your comfort zone, your stretch zone and your "omg are you kidding AHHHHH" zone.
The comfort zone is cute, fun and easy to be around. It makes you feel safe, like you are in control and have everything put together. Sounds good, no? The only issue with the comfort zone, is there is no growing, no moving up, no excitement, you stick to what you know and what you know sticks to you. This zone is really hard to get out of (I should know, its my favorite zone). But if you want to make a difference, want to stand out from the crowd, or just improve yourself, there needs to be resistance.
Resistance and challenge are your tickets out of the comfort zone. They help you learn and grow. This is where the stretch zone comes in. If you feel pukey, a bit of discomfort and uncertainty, congratulations you made it to the stretch zone. This is the zone where you have to do things that cause you a bit of discomfort to grow and learn.
There is this weird phenomena in the GCC where lots of students go for their PhDs with no experience in their fields. Having countries that pay for your tuition is amazing, and a gift but it can also backfire. A lot of students that continue their education aren't doing it to excel in their fields. They are continuing their studies, because there is less risk attached to an F then actually getting fired from a job. One affects your GPA, while the other your livelihood. Many GCC students choose to stay in university where theoretical is king and practical is for later because it is more comfortable.
I say this with confidence because I did it myself. I graduated from university, went back home, worked at Ernst and Young for a while and realized I did not enjoy it. There was too much risk, too many uncertainties, too many what if I fails. What I did not know at the time was I had just entered the stretch zone and these risks, uncertainties, fear of failures were the resistance I needed to push me up the professional ladder.
As I write this article, I see that I am once again in the stretch zone. Putting myself out there and showing my peers that life coaching is what I really want to do is scary. I am telling everyone "I really care about this, and I might fail". Putting this on blast has me feeling super pukey but that's good because unlike last time, I know the benefits outweigh the risk.
So put yourself in your stretch zone, do things that make you a bit uncomfortable. Bet on yourself against uncertainty and learn to enjoy the stretch zone. This is the zone where good becomes better. Don't push yourself too hard though, because you could overwhelm yourself and end up freaking out. When that happens, you have reached the "omg are you kidding AHHHH" zone and you need to turn back around fast.