When to Stay Inside Your Comfort Zone

Learning to stretch outside your comfort zone is critical for learning and growing, advancing in your job and career, and achieving your personal and professional goals. But is it always the case that you need to step outside your comfort zone to be successful? Are there situations when it makes sense to stay right where you are? Having spoken with people from a range of occupations about this exact topic over the past year, my resounding answer is yes. There are times when you actually don’t need to give the speech, make the point, or take the chance.

5 Steps To Break Out Of Your Comfort Zone (And why you must do it now)

Comfort doesn’t hurt us. That’s the wonderful thing about it. However, it doesn’t help us much, either. When we stay in our comfort zones, we don’t allow ourselves to grow. Many people live their entire lives within the boundaries their comfort has created. You’ve seen them – placid, stagnant, and a little bit boring. They refuse to challenge themselves, and they grow old before their time. Their lives remain small, and their accomplishments remain modest and predictable. Here are five steps to get out of your comfort zone.

Engineering vs. Business

It’s a classic struggle – the logical, practical engineer butting heads with the uncomprehending, inefficient business major (see: all of Dilbert). Or wait – is it instead the visionary manager struggling to focus a socially inept engineer puttering off on a inscrutable tangent? (See: popular portrayals of mad scientists.) Somehow, engineers and business people always struggle with communication.


One of the surprise bestsellers of 1956 – frequently reprinted throughout the 1960s – was an epoch-defining book by William H. Whyte called simply The Organization Man. Those were the blessed days when books didn’t have to have subtitles to tell you what they were about. One of my odd habits is re-reading important books of social commentary from the past.

Business Is Fractal

Do you know someone who has “risen without trace” — who is successful, yet you can’t work out why? When I was a callow consultant, my first project was for an Irish conglomerate that had a supermarket chain. The manager running it was something of a figure of fun, because he could never explain what he was doing — his discourse was long-winded and obscure. “Ah,” the group CEO said, when told that the manager had ended a strike, “he bored them back to work!” And yet, this inarticulate manager always made his numbers and they always went up.

Denise Shull’s Revolutionary Approach To Risk

Plain and simple, these people say, Wall Street is too greedy. To me, though, that analysis rings false. It’s hollow, and far too simplistic. If we live in a world where scientists have learned to split the atom, medical researchers are designing drugs that alter our body chemistry, major corporations are collecting individual data, and insanely complex high-frequency trading algorithms are killing the old-fashioned brokerage techniques, how can we justify summing up an entire industry, with countless parts and manifestations, in one biblical word?

Billions' Psychologist on People's Misconception About Success

For some of Denise Shull's clients, being in a slump might mean losing millions of dollars of other people's money. Shull is the founder of the ReThink Group, a performance coaching group that specializes in clients on Wall Street. She's also one of the inspirations for Wendy Rhoades, the in-house psychiatrist at the fictional hedge fund at the center of Showtime's hit show "Billions." Shull studied the neuropsychology of unconscious thought at the University of Chicago and spent 15 years as an equities trader.

What Your ‘Life Story’ Really Says About You

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live,” Joan Didion famously wrote in “The White Album.” In many ways, Didion was right: Stories may not seem like a basic survival need, but our brains naturally tell stories as a way to give structure and meaning to our lives. And according to research in narrative psychology, an emerging field of study that examines how stories shape our lives and personalities, the stories we tell ourselves play a large role in who we are.

How your personality affects your life story - with psychologist Dan McAdams

How do you tell the story of your life? Turns out a big part of your personality are the snapshots of experiences you assemble and re-assemble of your past and future. Of course, that means that you can curate and shape those things, refine them based on what works for you and how others respond. When you stop and think about it, we have a lot more control over the frames we choose then we think, a lot more control of how we design our own narrative and how it works with our character.

Why (and How) Some People Succeed in Business Without Getting an MBA

The list of successful businesspeople without MBAs is long, and cited often enough to be a cliché. Folks like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Sam Walton, and Anita Roddick don't have MBAs, and have done quite well for themselves as CEOs of large companies. And while CEOs consistently grab the headlines, millions of unnamed entrepreneurs and small business owners around the world have figured out how to be successful without obtaining an MBA.