Getting out of our Comfort Zone

Recently I was having a discussion with one of my colleagues about getting out of comfort zones. While we both agreed it was essential to get staff (and ourselves) out of the comfort zone in order to make great things happen in school, we disagreed on how to go about that. My friend felt that in order to get people out of comfort zones, leaders needed to butt heads, ruffle feathers, and sometimes kick butt. He sighted Steve Jobs and that he was “a jerk” when he needed to be. Leaders can’t be nice guys if they want to achieve greatness with their team.

While I admit that people can be forced out of their comfort zones, I don’t think that is the best approach for long-term change. I’m not looking for a culture of compliance, but one of innovation. My goal is to create a climate where every staff member feels valued, safe, and challenged to be their best. When this type of environment exists, staff will be willing to take risks, challenge the status quo, and get out of the proverbial comfort zone. My friends and mentors Debbie McFalone and Derek Wheaton talk about the need for leaders to be “Warm Demanders” by setting high expectations while offering high levels of support. THIS is the way we can achieve great things for our students!

As educators, our challenge is to find that balance between feeling safe and pushing our limits, both for ourselves and for our students. We all agree that great things don’t happen in comfort zones, but there are many ways to break out. Sometimes we don’t have a choice, due to changing circumstances. Sometimes, we are forced out by directives. If we are fortunate, we leave on our own due to the culture and motivation that inspires us to do so. I’m fortunate to work in a district where I feel supported and encouraged to try new things and push myself. I hope to always create that same environment and inspire that culture among my staff and students so that we can all find our way out of our comfort zones!



“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch

“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” -Anonymous

“The sooner you step away from your comfort zone you’ll realize it really wasn’t all that comfortable.” – Eddie Harris Jr.


Dave Burgess                                  Shelley Burgess


  • Monday, September 10: Celebrate Monday 9:05 AM (RESPECT)
  • Tuesday, September 11: Achievement Team Meeting 8:15 AM
  • Wednesday, September 12: IEP (Jones) 8:15 AM, PTA Board Meeting 2:30 PM, Elementary Principals Meeting 1:00-4:30 PM
  • Thursday, September 13: Staff Meeting 8:05 AM
  • Friday, September 14: Fire Drill 3:05 PM


  • Monday, September 17: Celebrate Monday 9:05 AM, iReady Window 1 Closes
  • Tuesday, September 18: Achievement Team Meeting 8:15 AM, Tornado Drill 11:30 AM
  • Thursday, September 20: Building PD 7:50-8:50 AM, PTA Meeting 7:00 PM
  • Friday, September 21: Picture Day in the East Commons
  • Monday, September 24: Celebrate Monday 9:05 AM, Book Fair all week in East Commons
  • Tuesday, September 25: Achievement Team 8:15 AM
  • Thursday, September 27: No Staff Meeting! Curriculum Night / Open House 6:00-7:30 PM

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