Move out of your comfort zone to move into the learning zone with a new job

Baby touching a key board and looking back at us

Thomas Edison stated, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.  Most of us don’t have that kind of patience. On the other hand, what risks are you willing to take? Do you trust yourself to accept change or failure and move on?  Do you see change or failure as a learning tool to help you expand your horizons, or something that holds you back?  Let’s address these items to help you move out of your comfort zone and move into the learning zone. This article will focus on learning to find a better employer and/or boss going forward unless you are there already.  One of my mantras to my employees was to begin to prepare for your next job now. That’s because it probably does not even exist yet today, but it will within the next five years.


Why is change or failure hard?


We are taught to strive for success. What is success?  Success implies wining to many of us.  It is defined as “the accomplishment of an aim or purpose”[1].  That’s great, but when can success be other than the accomplishment or what you thought was a specific aim or purpose?  Perhaps we have to redefine what success is. 

For example, if winning is the only thing, then is cheating allowed?  When you play a sport or when you learning something new do you expect to be the best the first time you try something? No, you realize you have a lot to learn.

The key is to address the mental perspective that you have of success and repurpose yourself. 

Turn a “failure” into an opportunity.  This requires a change in perspective.


An example


A frustrated father looked out the window at the back of his young son in their back yard trying to hit a plastic ball with a plastic bat. His son kept throwing the ball up in the air and kept missing the ball with every swing.  Finally, the father decided to step outside to help his son thinking he too must be very frustrated.  He asked his son, “how are you doing”?  His son, said “I am doing great dad.  So far, I am throwing a no hitter”.  Think about his son’s different perspective on the situation.

By reframing the term of success his son was coping

with his inability to hit the ball in a way that made sense to him.  We can learn from that son’s example.


Consider reframing for yourself


We tend to view the world as right and wrong. That is binary in nature.  Zero to one. Zero is nothing and one is absolutely 100%.  Can you imagine if every time you took a test if you did not achieve 100% you failed?  You could not live with yourself very long, because how often do we achieve 100% on tests?  Instead of being disappointed with less than 100%,

strive to do your best and focus on improvement.  It takes patience, perspective, and perseverance to continue sometimes. 

In order to keep going,

it likely will require you to reframe the situation.

Yes, you want to win, but what else are you learning along the way? Are you enhancing your skills?  Learning something new? Meeting new people? Enhancing your own emotional intelligence?  Learning something about yourself? Learning that you do not want to do something in the future?  Determining that maybe you have a different passion and maybe you want to take your life in a different direction?


This is my story


Before attending college, I lived in the same house for the last 17 years.  When I went to college, I decided I needed to broaden my horizons and live somewhere else.  Each year in January I began to look for a new summer job.  These brought me to New York, Indianapolis and Chicago.  In New York I learned that I really enjoyed learning how to do home renovation, plumbing, electrical and plastering, but that was not going to be my vocation. This inspired me with an understanding wife to renovate three homes while living in them. In Indianapolis, I worked for the State Department of Natural Resources surveying swamps for a summer. Even though surveying sounded romantic to me, I decided that was not something I wanted to do for a living. In Chicago I inspected sewers and learned a lot about civil engineering. However, I knew I did now want to work in sewers the rest of my life. I also learned I could do about anything for 90 days.


What is your story?


Consider your own story.  Everyone has to overcome obstacles.  I am sure you did too.

Sometimes we accept that is not what we want to do as a type of employment, where we want to work, or who we want to have as a boss.

This could result in a step back. You hopefully won’t make that mistake again. On the other hand, consider Thomas Edison’s quote from above. 

Consider what is it you really want to do?  Where does your passion, skill set and ambition take you?

Do you need to enhance your skills? You will look for a better alternative next time. Hopefully, it will be two steps forward based on what was learned from the last obstacle.  If not, consider what you learned from another perspective. Check it off to experience and lessons learned.


Sometime we learn that you don’t want to work for that kind of boss


For example, maybe you had a great job that you liked, but you had a boss that did not treat you well or made unreasonable demands of you.

Most people leave jobs not because they don’t like the work, but because they have a bad boss[2].

Check out the three-footnote links below. Much has been written on this topic.

The next time you interview for a position keep in mind

you are interviewing your prospective employer too. Would you like to work for that employer and would you like to work for that boss?

If not consider what you learned from your last position and try not make that mistake again.


Other times it may be something else


Maybe the pay was insufficient.  Perhaps you had too many or not enough working hours. Could it be you don’t want to have that long of a commute? 

In today’s world flexibility is far more prevalent.  

Did you find a lack of flexibility given your personal needs? Are you looking for an employer that can offer you greater flexibility? Do you need an employer that can offer you flexible hours or what days you could work, working from home, working alone or in a group, understanding day care constraints, taking care of elderly parents, or other issues?  Today more employers are considering personal situations and adapting to employee’s concerns[3].

The results of flexibility are increased loyalty, productivity, and dedication.

Whatever the reason, learn from your mistakes and make better decisions going forward.  


Avoid the two stinky twins of BO and BS


Avoid the two stinky twins of BO (Blaming Others) or BS Blaming Self).  Bad things happen to good people. 

Accept that many things in life are beyond our control.  Don’t take it personally.  Rather, realize that sometimes bad things happen. When that happens, it is acceptable to vent and grieve. Take the time to grieve. Then make a decision on what you need to do going forward having learned from this instance.


Reflect, Reframe, Recommit


Use your network and friends and to help sort this out for yourself and then reflect, reframe and recommit to what it is you really want to do. 

Reflect on what just happened. 

Reframe from a win-lose to a different frame of reference and consider another way of looking at the situation.

Recommit yourself to what you can do going forward.

You have been given many gifts. Be grateful for what you have. Take the next step to create something good over that obstacle going forward.  If it’s to be, it’s up to me. Good luck.  May you find success in your next endeavor.


About the author


Mike Gregory is an expert with The Collaboration Effect ® Mike is an international speaker and he has written 11 books including Business Valuations and the IRS: Five Books in One, The Servant Manager and Peaceful Resolutions. Mike may be contacted directly at and at (651) 633-5311. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, NSA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]






About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]