Doing This One Thing is Essential to Advance Your Career

If you want to advance your career faster, it’s not about taking on more and more work. It’s about taking on challenging work that gets you out of your comfort zone and shows your potential for greater responsibility.

Get Uncomfortable on The Regular to Advance Your Career


When is the last time you put yourself out there? Took a risk where you could fall flat?

If you aren’t pushing yourself outside your comfort zone on a regular basis, you’re not learning and developing. You are stagnating, and that certainly doesn’t scream high-potential professional who is ready to advance your career and get promoted.

I’ve seen many professionals who pride themselves on the amount of work they manage—all the extra hours, late nights, and weekend work. When it comes to annual review time, they come prepared with a laundry list of the projects they delivered. 

And while they will likely earn positive ratings because of their hard work, and possibly a healthy pay raise, they will become incredibly frustrated when they are passed over for a promotion. And even more upset when they see a colleague who doesn’t work as “hard” as they do move up the ladder.

It’s critical to recognize the difference. Taking on more and more work may help keep you safely employed in your current role. But it doesn’t do much to show you’re ready to move to the next level.

You need others to see your potential to take on more challenging and impactful work.

And this means getting outside your comfort zone on the regular to advance your career!

Get Uncomfortable to Advance Your Career

For many years, I worked comfortably behind the scenes preparing my teammates for important customer meetings, media briefings, analyst updates, product launches, and more. I would develop messaging narratives and strategies, and then gladly let others take the lead in presenting the information.

As a result, I found it difficult to get credit and visibility for my contributions to the business and repeatedly overlooked for promotions while my coworkers succeeded at moving upward and onward.

Until the day I was attending an industry conference, and my boss asked me to take his place on a press panel discussion. I admit, my first reaction was how could I get my coworker to do it instead.

Luckily, I kept that thought to myself, and realized this was an opportunity to get outside my comfort zone and face my “center stage” fears. So, I did it.

It was just the kind of break-through I needed. The experience boosted my confidence and left me feeling beyond energized. Did I overcome my fear of center stage? Not entirely, but enough to start presenting more often.

By stretching outside my comfort zone, I began getting asked to present to customers. And over time became a spokesperson for the company. And then an emcee host for large events. And then a keynote speaker at business conferences.

The point is, taking this one step outside my comfort zone opened the door to many more opportunities to stretch myself further, and develop myself more—and reach my career goals. 

Get Uncomfortable in Stages to Advance Your Career

Here’s the thing about getting outside your comfort zone—over time it builds up your confidence. The more often you get uncomfortable, the more capable you become and the more you believe in yourself. And if you believe in yourself, others will soon believe in your potential too!

Whatever it is that you fear or avoid is probably a good place to start. But this doesn’t mean you have to start by jumping into the deep end. It’s okay to get uncomfortable in stages—start small and build from your success.

For example, if it makes you uncomfortable to lead a team discussion, ask a friendly coworker to join you in facilitating a team meeting around a topic you know well. Small steps like this offer a low-risk way to set yourself up for success.

And be sure to tell your manager what you’re up to, as this conversation alone will speak volumes to your boss as they recognize you have a desire to learn, grow and advance your career!

Check out this post for more tips on how to get outside your comfort zone to advance your career.



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