“Get out of your comfort zone.” We hear all the time how we need to get out of our comfort zone in order to learn and grow—and sometimes that’s true. But not always. Sometimes it’s good to think about your comfort zone in a new way, and stay in it, right where you are.

There are reasons why you have a “sweet spot” of abilities or gifts where you feel competent, confident, and thoroughly content with whatever it is that you’re doing. You’re comfortable there, and you’re in the zone. It’s your comfort zone.

Your comfort zone might be one of these activities:

teaching • serving • administrating • nurturing • problem solving • cooking • communicating • fixing • cleaning • performing • creating • building • playing a sport • designing • managing • crafting • encouraging • praying • planning • leading • analyzing • giving

Or it might be something else; the list is as long as there are different types of people.

Why are you comfortable there? It’s likely because you’re good at something. You have an interest in it; people ask you to do it or tell you you’re good at it; you’ve learned a lot about it, and/or you have a lot of experience with it. It brings you happiness or even joy.

Look back at that list above. Not all of those things are obvious “gifts,” are they? Yet they’re all gifts that some people have to a greater degree than others. And best of all, they all can be used to benefit your neighborhood.

Take some time to think about what gifts and abilities you have. Once you’ve identified your gifts—your comfort zone—think of the ways that you could use them right in your neighborhood:

  • If you have a gift for cooking or baking, you can use that gift to make new neighbors feel welcome, or to comfort someone who is going through a hard time.
  • If your gift involves fixing or cleaning, you could help an elderly or disabled neighbor with simple home-maintenance tasks.
  • If you have a love for physical activity, you could teach skateboarding or pickleball, start a morning walking group, or set up a hoop for some one-on-one basketball.
  • If you have leadership skills, think about organizing a block party or a fundraiser to beautify the entrance to your street or subdivision.
  • If your skills are in communication, there may be a neighborhood issue that needs to be addressed with your city government that you could take charge of.

The best part is, when you make use of your gifts in this way, there’s a very good chance that others will be inspired to do the same! Several years ago, my mother passed away after a long and complicated illness. My husband and I had four young children, and we were both very busy with all the things that must be done after a close relative dies. Our next door neighbor was a man whose comfort zone was in the outdoors, working in his yard. He was also very attentive to his neighbors and knew when things were not quite right, so he was aware of our recent loss. One day we came home to find that he had cut our grass—unasked—just to take that one small thing off our plate. We were so grateful. He actually did this a few more times until we told him we were back on our feet.

Everyone knew this neighbor to be someone who paid attention, saw needs, and had a desire to make people’s days just a little better. (This is the same neighbor who, at Halloween, set up a big table in his driveway with hot chocolate for every child and adult who passed by.) Over the years, I believe that he truly inspired many of us to ask ourselves, “What can I do to be a better neighbor?” And so often, this involves taking what we’re already good at and using that gift to be a blessing to others.

So despite the world telling you to get out of your comfort zone, here’s a great reason to stay in it: identify your gifts, do what you enjoy for the benefit of others, and make your neighborhood a better place.