Expand Your Comfort Zone

Most people, including students and educators, love to settle into a comfortable routine and embrace the stability and predictability of their comfort zone. We find that happy place where we understand the status quo, can effectively navigate most obstacles, and are generally satisfied with our surroundings. However, comfort zones don’t energize.  Comfort zones don’t inspire and comfort zones often prevent students and educators from branching out and exploring new personal and professional horizons.

As educators, and busy adults, days often consist of a chaotic, yet predictable series of events.  Day after day, and lesson plan after lesson plan, a well established comfort zone begins to develop. The alarm goes off at the same time. The bell rings and students arrive in class at a precise moment. District regulations or organizational bureaucracies often limit or dampen creativity. Through all this, even the most inspired and passionate teachers can find themselves in an inspirational rut where neither they, nor their students, are progressing as curious lifelong learners or inquisitive global citizens.

For students, their comfort zone is varied, but looks much different.  While their days can be routine as well, they often settle into a safe and comfortable station in school and in life. They find a like-minded clique at school and rarely socialize or communicate with peers outside their social network. This self imposed segregation is rarely enlightening and can often perpetuate stereotypes and squelch open-mindedness and critical thinking.  This, coupled with the one-sided immersion into western culture creates a comfort zone that students must be encouraged to break through.

At No Barriers we talk a lot about “reach,” one of our No Barriers Life Elements.  Reach is a person’s willingness to stretch beyond their comfort zone, to set and conquer new goals, all to grow as an individual and inspire those around them. As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit one of our core missions is to provide transformational expeditions that create the environment for individuals to shatter their comfort zone and to re-evaluate what’s possible. We do this by providing educators with the tools, resources, and support to effectively infuse their in-class curriculum and educational goals into a domestic or international expedition that creates new and exciting teaching opportunities that fundamentally transforms how students see the world and their role in it. No matter the destination, every student will expand their comfort zone in their own way. It may be by trying new foods, practicing their language skills, communicating cross-culturally with a peer, witnessing developing world poverty, investigating a pressing global issue like human trafficking, or by just gaining a little independence and learning important interpersonal skills. As a result, educators see the inspired eyes of engaged students and their own passion for teaching and leadership are often rejuvenated.

Tony Robbins said, “If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.” Whether it’s a new teaching methodology, an ambitious new goal, or an international expedition with students, take a chance, expand your comfort zone and see what’s possible when you extend beyond your reach.