A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.
Merriam-Webster defines the term grow as “to spring up, to develop to maturity”. In our backyard garden, it is easy to see when things are in growth mode. The seedling sprouts its first bud, the tiny pepper doubles in size and then, as if by magic, transforms its color to brilliant red.
In the garden of our life, it is not always that simplistic. Growth is synonymous with discomfort, a state most people spend much of their life avoiding. And even when we desire growth we are faced with the challenge of how? In what direction? Where does growth stop? All complexities that exacerbates the discomfort and reinforces our desires to stay put.
And let’s not forget the aptly timed “forced growth”, I will come back to this in a future weekly.
In order to be an effective in our business or our career, we must not succumb to the comfortable. Here are my top three pieces of advice about staying uncomfortable.
#1 – Keep Perspective.
One thing in life is certain, that nothing in life is certain – Mrityunjaya
Most likely wherever you are sitting at this moment is not the only role you have ever been in and will likely not be the only role you will be in for the future. Keeping in mind that whatever you are experiencing is temporary will help keep perspective.
There are a million anecdotal recipes for finding perspective and any one will do. Break down large tasks into smaller ones, find 30 minutes a day to do something non-work related you really love, get out of your desk and take a walk in nature, or find a community service project one weekend a month. In other words, find what works for you but keep perspective, this too shall pass.
And when all else fails, make a mental list of all the things you have endured to get to where you are. Did you burn the midnight oil on this start up before leaving your previous comfortable job? Did you study endlessly for that advanced degree? Have you endured a terrible boss or co-worker along the way that silently pushed you to be a stronger better person? Remember you could not have come this far if you were not able to handle the pressure and thrive.
In an article for inc.com, Chris Dessi, CEO of Silverback Social, outlines 7 ways to deal with discomfort. This one happens to be my favorite although I’ll offer a slightly different take on it.
Any entrepreneur or CEO knows all too well the flight response that begins to creep up as the temperature of your metaphorical pressure cooker increases. And with it comes doubt. Should I continue? Did I make the right choice? Am I capable of success in this? (Women are even more susceptible to this than men – in my ad hoc research.)
But remember, we may not be able to control the pile up of work to be done or even our initial feelings about said workload, but we can control the way we choose to react to it. In Chris’ words, “If you are embracing the suck by yourself, laugh at how ridiculous the situation is. You are building your mental and physical toughness points.”
#3 – See fear as a living thing.
In the excerpt below Dr. Joe Dispenza, a best-selling author and leading expert in Neurobiology, gives a perfect narration of this point.
Then the young warrior said, “How can I defeat you?” Fear replied, “My weapons are that I talk fast, and I get very close to your face. Then you get completely unnerved, and you do whatever I say. If you don’t do what I tell you, I have no power. You can listen to me, and you can have respect for me. You can even be convinced by me. But if you don’t do what I say, I have no power.” In that way, the student warrior learned how to defeat fear.
Excerpt from Breaking the Habit of Being you by J. Dispenza
We thank you for joining us for our inaugural weekly revelation. We hope you will find at least one small insight to take back to your own life and career. Please contact us with any and all feedback including future topics you would like to see discussed.
And as always, keep asking…
What are you InPursuit of?