In our day-to-day work, we move in different zones:

Illustration: Steinert & Büser (2018)

The comfort zone

People tend to avoid unpleasant things or at least not face them voluntarily. This behaviour very often leads to staying in your own comfort zone and doing things the way you've always done them.

The panic zone

If you are stuck in your comfort zone, you occasionally take an involuntary trip into the panic zone. In the panic zone, the pressure increases, you can no longer escape the new or the unpleasant and are forced to deal with it. For most people, this causes panic and great uncertainty. Escaping into the comfort zone, including further negative experiences, is pre-programmed.

The learning zone

There is another zone between these two extremes. It is elementary and yet is often not sought or even avoided. Why? You get into the learning zone when you push yourself to your limits BUT not beyond them. Such situations are associated with uncertainty. This is why unpleasant feelings also arise here. Some of the actions feel wrong or at least strange. But the fact is: you need the learning zone to develop further, to embrace new things and to grow in the face of challenges. So the wrong thing will eventually feel right.

What helps against insecurity?

  • Accepting that insecurity and the like can be a companion and are part of life. As already described in detail here, we should learn to dance with uncertainty.
  • Go to the limits, but not beyond them: Think about the maximum that can go wrong. 
  • Have a plan B ready: If you want to try something new, it helps to declare it an experiment. Experiments are allowed to fail. So you can try things out in a more relaxed way.

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Steinert & Büser (2018). Spot-Leadership. Sustainable leadership in an agile corporate world