Reach – by Andy Molinsky

Reach – by Andy Molinsky

‘A new strategy to help you step outside your comfort zone, rise to the challenge, and build confidence’

A lot of magic seems to happen outside of our comfort zone. We all need to do things that we don’t like doing, and we all need to be prepared to step up and grab opportunities when they are presented. But most people struggle to do things that test their limits. There are five challenges we face when stepping outside our comfort zone: authenticity, likeability, competence, resentment and morality. But there are three resources we can use to help us build confidence and rise to the challenge: conviction, customisation and clarity.

Grab a copy of the book here:


Here is a dot point summary of the book!



  • Conflict avoidant managers need to embrace conflict
  • Timit entrepreneurs need to pitch and promote themselves and ideas
  • Introverts need to network
  • Self conscious executives need to deliver speeches
  • People pleases need to deliver bad news


  • Goal of book is to give you tips and tools to take that leap, reach outside your comfort zone and do it in an authentic way


  • We all have a comfort zone, a place where we feel comfortable and at ease – but stretching outside the comfort zone is critical in many cases for achieving our goals / to get where the magic happens


  • Andy was afraid of saying anything in class – therefore ended choosing mostly lecture style courses



Part 1 The Challenge of Reaching Outside Your Comfort Zone


  • We are quite creative at finding ways to avoid uncomfortable tasks


Chapter 1 – Why reaching outside your comfort zone is so hard


  1. Authenticity challenge – this isn’t me at all


  • In today’s professional environment we are assuming new roles and responsibilities at a dizzying rate… In order to catch up we need to reinvent ourselves on the fly
  • This feeling is that the type of behaviour conflicts with your being at your core


Ii) The Likeability challenge: People won’t like this version of me

  • Afraid of confrontation , terrified they will hate you after


Iii) Competence challenge – people can tell I am not good at this

  • Imposter syndrome , fear of being found out


Iv) The resentment challenge

  • You dislike it or them


  1. Morality challenge
  • Firing someone



Chapter 2 – Our amazing capacity to avoid

  • We see bear or lion and run from the lion – which is good
  • The problem comes when you apply the same flight or high reaction to situations that aren’t life threatening, like a new role at work


  1. Full on avoidance
  • Avoid the person getting a glass of water at the water cooler


  1. Do the task partway – and not so well
  • Instead of giving a speech to your employees you post to FB
  • Going to a networking event and just sitting at the bar


  1. Procrastination
  2. Pass the buck
  • Someone else is performing the task you should me doing



Viscous cycle of avoidance

  • Negative feedback loop – you start constructing your work life to avoid the tasks that are  really important
  • It pays immediate dividends



Part 2 – How to successfully reach outside your comfort zone


  1. Conviction : Critical importance of having a deep sense of purpose
  • If there is no justifiable reason to act outside your comfort zone then you won’t do it
  • Gain has to be worth the pain
  • Conviction is the deep belief in the purpose of what you’re doing – that is this purpose is legitimate and valid and worth enduring  strain or stress to achieve


Chapter 4: Customization Finding your own personal way of performing the task

  • If you are terrified at speaking in meetings because they are derogatory use your own style
  • Or sit next to the client who always asks quiet questions


Chapter 5 : The power of honest perspective

  • Clarity as an antidote to avoidance

Being aware about the fact that you are avoiding and it is perfectly functional and acceptable

This is an antidote to the defences we put up


Clarity is the ability to normalize your reactions and perceptions of a situation so that distorted thinking doesn’t sabotage your behaviour


  • Referring to yourself in third person boosts clarity


Chapter 6 : The surprising benefits of taking a leap

  • Incredibly powerful effect of simply giving it a try
  • You will be surprised on what’s on the other side of the threshold
  • Positive feedback loop – easier to make the leap next time
  • A cycle of learning , growth and experimentation


Discovery 1 – this isn’t so bad after all

Discovery 2 – I can do this

  • Self efficacy goes up


Part 3 How to make your new behaviour stick

Chapter 7 Building resilience

Resource 1 : A thoughtful and effective practice routine

  • Go for a just right challenge
  • Create force mechanisms to avoid avoidance


Richard Branson

  • “IF someone offers you an amazing opportunity, but you aren’t sure you can do it. Say yes and learn how later!”


Resource 2 A mindset that supports learning and experimentation

  • Carol Dweck
  • Notice and appreciate small wins


Resource 3 – a healthy support system


Chapter 8 – Myths and realities

  • It can be better to stay at your comfort level , for example if someone is better for the task


Part 4 Practical tools applying reach to your own life


  • Speak up at meeting
  • Promote yourself during conference
  • Making small talk at the water cooler
  • Giving negative feedback
  • Asking for help
  • Having a difficult conversation



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