68: On the self-help taboo of staying inside your comfort zone—when and how to reach with Andy Molinsky

As Andy Molinksy writes in Reach, chances are if you've ever been interested in the topic of personal growth as it relates to risk, you've heard tropes like "life begins at the end of your comfort zone" and have encountered this meme-of-all-memes: 


He says, "And then of course, there are the stories—successful and confident people who had the courage to go for it, and are now spokespeople for Comfort Zone, Inc., imploring us to do the same: Take the leap! Go for it! The only thing to fear is fear itself!" 

But what if, as someone asked me recently at the end of one of my keynotes, you're actually (gasp!) happy in your comfort zone? Do you always have to reach? I'm excited to unpack this question in this week's episode—Andy and I talk about when to reach outside of your comfort zone, how to build a risk portfolio, and common pitfalls that get in the way such as fear of what others will think, insecurities about our own competence, and resentment, or "Why do I have to do this in the first place?"

More About Andy Molinsky


Andy Molinsky is a Professor at Brandeis University’s International Business School. Andy helps people develop the insights and courage necessary to act outside their personal and cultural comfort zones when doing important, but challenging, tasks in work and life. His work has been featured in HBR, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, NPR and Voice of America. Andy is the author of Reach: A New Strategy to Help You Step Outside Your Comfort Zone, Rise to the Challenge, and Build Confidence and Global Dexterity: How to Adapt Your Behavior Across Cultures and Not Lose Yourself in the Process

Topics We Cover

  • When is it okay to stay inside your comfort zone?

  • Managing your comfort vs. risk portfolio: when to reach and when to adjust so you don't enter your panic zone

  • Authenticity and remaining joyful in stepping outside our comfort zone

  • The vicious cycle of avoidance

  • The three C's to successful reaches: conviction, customization, and clarity

  • We tend to catastrophize stepping outside our comfort zone. Clarity helps ground our perspective

  • No matter the reach or their outcome, it is all a learning experience

  • Our reaches are also the ways we support people

Podcast: On the self-help taboo of staying inside your comfort zone—when and how to reach with Andy Molinsky

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