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Nine Ways to Break Out of Your Comfort Zone

By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 04-23-2013 Print

Like any leader, a CIO is constantly under pressure to deliver. There are more deadlines today and countless curveballs to adapt to. And you practically need a scorecard to keep up with all of the IT innovations that are introduced seemingly every day. Under these conditions, a number of CIOs may be tempted to go into "survival mode," meaning they stick to what's safe and familiar, while avoiding any decisions that would endanger their status. But this would be a mistake, according to the recent book Your Survival Instinct is Killing You: Retrain Your Brain to Conquer Fear, Make Better Decisions, and Thrive in the 21st Century (Hudson Street Press). Today's agile business environment demands dynamic leadership that's more than willing to work without a safety net. Author Marc Schoen contends that CIOs and other senior execs must confront and overcome any fear of the unknown. And, while it may sound paradoxical on the surface, they need to become "comfortable with discomfort." Pressure is experienced as fear in the brain, Schoen explains, which paralyzes the ability to solve problems. Schoen is a clinical professor at UCLA's Geffen School of Medicine, specializing in performance research and decision-making under pressure.


Embrace Discomfort  Understand that uneasy feelings amid high-risk situations are normal. Strive to manage these emotions—even channeling it to drive optimal performance—rather than eliminate them.


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