As a young professional, there are a few things you may want to ask yourself. How big is your comfort zone and who is in it? How diverse is this group? How knowledgeable are you about cultures other than your own? Why does any of this matter?
The Cozy Comfort Zone
The comfort zone is the place where we feel most comfortable. In this space are the things and the people with which we feel the most relaxed. It can include friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, and others. On the flip side, there may be people in each of those categories that are not in your comfort zone, like the critical cousin who always has something negative to say about you or those you care about.
The comfort zone is a very predictable, safe space and many people live within it without ever breaching the boundaries of what they know and like. Some individuals manage to make progress in life without stepping outside their comfort zone. Those who do muster the courage to go beyond the boundaries find their horizons expanding. They also find they are living richer, fuller lives as a result.
Learning About Others Respectfully
Most people are comfortable within their own culture. You know and understand the rules and mores of your culture. At first, you may not see the value in learning about cultures other than your own. However, as the demographics of our world change, the knowledge you gain from those of other cultures will be valuable on several levels.
Learning about people who are different from you can help you be a better employee, a more active citizen, a kinder person. It can also help you become a stronger leader. Sharing your own culture will also enrich others and may also help you understand yourself on a deeper level as you take time to look at those things you have come to take for granted.
Stepping outside your comfort zone can feel intimidating to start with, however, the rewards are worth the effort. The more you do it, the easier it becomes, and your comfort zone widens as a result. Volunteer opportunities through JCI provide many openings for you to test the waters of new horizons. Contact us for more information and find out how to push the boundaries of your comfort zone.