Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone

Currently, I’m guiding a team that recently opened the doors of a new hotel in The Hague, The Netherlands. The team members were recruited during a casting day that was organised in a very distinct way. The result is a stronghold of enthusiastic, motivated people who all in their own way will bring color to the desired hotel experience, and create an unconventional hotel experience.


During one of the team training days, we worked on self-analysis. The better you know yourself, the more authentic you will be and the more pure the contact with the guest will be. A question during the self-analysis was “What is unthinkable for me in contact with guests?” We used the answers to these questions as a starting point for the next question: “What is, in contact with other people, something I rather wouldn’t do?”

My own limiting beliefs made me doubt the next step in the assignment. Was I or was I not going to let the team members go out and do what they rather wouldn’t do? And I did it and said to them: “You’re going out, and you’re going to do what you just wrote down.”


There they went. At that moment I realized how much power you have as a facilitator, and how thin the lines sometimes are. I forced the team members to step outside of their comfort zone. Fingers crossed. Some of them were very uncomfortable. During the assignment I witnessed a few team members making the step out of their comfort zone.

There were many beautiful, groundbreaking moments, which I will remember for the rest of my career. Some examples: one of the men, Eric, walked to the central point of a shopping mall and started singing a song. After just 10 seconds a total stranger came to him. She opened her arms and sang the song with him. Sophie walked to people and hugged them. Jacky, who was scared to ask for help and had trouble letting people close to her, asked people to roll up her trouser legs.

All the actions totally emphasised what starting to make a difference is all about: contact. And what the contact brings to people: connection. “Wow,” I realized, “what a job I have and what a fascinating privilege to work with real people to help them to initiate the first step themselves!”


We’re all programmed. Standards, values, experiences, surroundings are all reasons why we do the things we do the way we do them. I’m frequently surprised by the (extreme) influence my own beliefs have on the choices I make, and on the things I do and don’t do. My experience with this fantastic team makes me say: “I definitely would do the same next time.”

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