Step Outside Your Comfort Zone


The allure of comfort can be quite strong.

We will often do most anything to get it or keep it. We are creatures of comfort, indeed.

But, in “Built to Last” by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras, they note that the visionary companies in their study – the ones that lasted for years and thrived along the way – did not have the objective of comfort. In fact, they often sought the exact opposite.

“Visionary companies install powerful mechanisms to create discomfort – to obliterate complacency – and thereby stimulate change and improvement before the external world demands it,” wrote the authors.

They got neither complacent nor content in where they were at. They wanted to keep pushing forward, to keep their people always searching for improvement.

“Furthermore, visionary companies apply the concept of self-improvement in a much broader sense than just process improvement,” wrote the authors. “It means long-term investments for the future; it means investment in the development of employees; it means adoption of new ideas and technologies. In short, it means doing everything possible to make the company stronger tomorrow than it is today.”

For example, Boeing would put together a team of managers during the planning process. They were tasked with the development of a strategy as if they worked for a competing company. It allowed Boeing to see weaknesses, where the competition could invade in the market, etc.

What does this mean for your recreation center?

It means comfort is the enemy. You might be rocking and rolling, with your programs overflowing and your student staff happy as clams. But, how can you make it better still? How can you grow and push your employees, student and professional, to continually reach for something better?

I’ve always been told if you’re stagnant, even if it’s in a really good place, you’re dead. We need to constantly pursue growth and change. It’s easy to want to coast, to be in our comfort zone for a while – but that can be detrimental to the growth of a program. I think campus recreation as a whole is pretty good at change and growth – you have to be with trendy students coming through your doors with new needs every year. But, it can’t hurt to reiterate this truth.

So, it’s key to remember that “success is never final.” It takes hard work and dedication to continually build for the future.

Are you willing to step outside your comfort zone?

Heather Hartmann
Heather Hartmann is the editor for Campus Rec Magazine. She can be reached at

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