Why Comfort Will Silently Kill Your Career

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There’s no denying the pleasure of putting on a favorite piece of well-worn clothing or diving into a home-cooked meal made by mom. Even plain ol’ vanilla ice cream can give you a certain sense of satisfaction on a hot summer’s day. Because it just feels, well, comfortable.

But get too comfortable, particularly in the workplace, and you’re destined to trade in your suit for that sweatshirt forever. Comfort will silently kill your career.

Comfort stifles drive.

Think about your work day.  Do you arrive at the last possible minute to barely be on time? Or do you arrive early to plan out and prepare for your day? Are you taking on projects as they’re assigned or actually seeking them out? Are your lunches getting longer as the weather warms, or are you maintaining a productive daily schedule?

Comfort stifles your drive to excel and produce more than the bare minimum. Coasting on what you’ve already accomplished and not taking any steps to grow in your position or as an individual is career suicide. You’re putting forth minimal effort and you’re kidding yourself if you think no one is noticing. Without drive, you’re just another (expendable) cog in the wheel.

Challenge yourself to do more than just the minimum. Give yourself 30 minutes each morning to set a game plan for the day or week. What do you want to accomplish? What do you want to change? Talk to your clients or superiors about how you might be able to contribute more to a new project. Take an extended lunch break to enjoy the sun but, instead of lingering over lunch, get in a walk and brainstorm ways to build a bigger portfolio.

Don’t wait for opportunity to knock, build a door and open it.

shirtless man

Comfort limits confidence.

It’s not likely that you want to run into the person of your dreams on the street while wearing your old college sweatshirt.  I don’t care how awesome your college was or comfortable that sweatshirt is, your confidence is taking a major hit. You want to be pulled together and putting your best foot forward, and XL cotton just isn’t it.

Similarly, comfort in your career limits your confidence.  When you’re comfortable, you stop challenging yourself, taking risks and trying to make yourself better.  “What’s the point?” you think to yourself.

Ultimately, you begin to doubt your abilities. You’re not coming up with creative ways to solve problems; you’re merely going through the motions just to finish the job. Eventually, you’ll get to a place where the self-doubt is damn-well near paralyzing, and then you’re totally operating on autopilot.  It’s a vicious circle, and you’re certain to be the one bitten in the ass.

Keep your A-game sharp by finding ways to hone your skills or learn something new. Mentor a colleague or someone that’s new to your field.  You’ll have no choice but to be more disciplined; sort of like having an accountability partner at the gym.

Comfort hinders passion.

Ideally, you’re doing what you’re doing because you have a passion for it. Or, at least, it interests you enough to keep your focus for the majority of your waking hours. But get too comfortable and you’ll find that passion cooling, your attention wavering and interest fading.

Passion energizes and motivates you to keep working. Whether it’s in a business you started or a project you’re spearheading, the passion to see your baby through is fueling your drive, confidence and ultimately success.

Hold on to that career mojo with all of your might and keep the passion alive. Just as with any relationship, it takes work to keep things interesting and keep you from getting too comfortable.  Continue to “date” your career: learn something new, become an expert in your field, etc. You’ll find ways to exert confidence, keep the passion burning and your career red hot.
You don’t get comfortable in your career overnight so take the time to prevent it from happening in the first place.  Make a concentrated effort to maintain the drive to succeed, give you every opportunity to exert confidence and keep that passion alive. Your career will be thriving, and then you can rock that favorite comfy sweatshirt all you want.