Growth is painful. Change is painful. But, nothing is as painful as staying stuck where you do not belong. -N. R. Narayana Murthy

Growth and transformation in our careers and personal lives can be difficult. It can mean stepping out of comfort zones into places of challenge and uncertainty. To try new things literally means doing things we have never done before. It can mean unfamiliarity with new territory.

Challenge and growth are essential to any thriving career. It can mean the difference of staying where you are for years to come, or taking a few small risks to end up where you really want to be in the long run. Change is not easy. It can definitely hurt as we give up the familiar comfort zones for places of new challenge and experience. But it can yield great returns over time that will make us thankful we endeavored to try something new.

Status quo can be a good thing at times. It gives us a sense of what is ordinary. It gives us a reference point for where we are or where we have been. But growth and transformation often require us to let go of the status quo and to no longer judge our future according to what we are seeing and experiencing right now. It means being open to new challenges and finding new comfort zones as we step out of old ones.

As professionals, we must always be asking ourselves, “how can I improve my leadership skills?” or “how can I get better at what I do?” Whatever area it is in which you would like to see growth, be specific. Is it your leadership skills that you would like to see flourish, or perhaps communication skills? Maybe it is the extent of knowledge and experience you have within your field. Whatever it is, narrow it down and focus on it.

Focusing in on specific areas of growth will help you recognize a current status quo or comfort zone and help you find ways in which you can experiment and step out of it. More in-depth industry or job training can be one way to step out of a status quo. Networking meetings or taking on new clients with new needs can also stretch your skills. Even the simple act of setting your goals a little higher can expand your perspective and help you realize other things that you are able to do.

There is no growth without a little pain or imagination. There is no change without discarding comfort. What’s holding you back from change and growth? What’s keeping you from doing what you want to do? A little pain or fear of the unknown? Just remember that you will never know unless you try, and you will never try if you stay locked up in the comfort zone.

Monarch Executives is a leading brand management firm in Pensacola, Florida. Our training program allows each associate the opportunity to grow through hands-on experience and one-on-one training. If you are interested in a career that encourages you to grow as an individual and professional, contact our recruiters today.