Monday, June 1, 2009

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

One of the best nuggets of business wisdom I’ve ever gleaned from all the books I’ve read is to get out of your comfort zone.

The phrase itself struck me as a bit odd, if you are to work at what you are best at, and outsource everything else like many successful businessmen have noted over the years, under such a strategy would you not be comfortable all the time? Apparently not.

Getting out of your comfort zone means doing things you wouldn’t normally do in the name of your business.

It seems as if virtually every time I’ve felt anxious or nervous about doing something for my business that I wasn’t comfortable with, it has benefited me. Not always immediately, but in the long run doing things you aren’t comfortable with can make a whole heck of a lot of sense.

A Personal Example

A year or so ago I owned a company that was 100% virtual, no local employees, no office, nothing. In fact, if you were my neighbor you’d probably think I was dealing drugs out of my house, how else could I earn a living if there was no noticeable sign of an incoming earner at my home. I’d park my Saab convertible in the driveway, hop out with a big smile on my face, and spend the next hour hanging out with my dogs in the backyard. If I were my neighbor I’d have been skeptical! Life was nice, it was predictable, it was comfortable.

Not much less than a year ago I decided to truly grow my company from a million dollar operation to a ten, or dare I write, hundred million dollar company I had to get out of my comfort zone. Those that know me, know I’m never satisfied, even with the life as good as mine had been for the past few years.

So the time had come, I had to try new things, make myself feel a bit odd, by, gasp, hiring a local staff and getting a real office. I know, it sounds ridiculous, but my business had become too mature to run out of my living room, or even a storage unit. In the short time that I’ve had an office and a local staff member we’ve grown substantially, cemented new relationships that would otherwise be moot ones, and best yet, we’re hiring again.

So the moral of the story is even if something feels awkward or stressful, get yourself out of the comfort zone that you’ve built around your business with the internet. Marathon runners probably don’t always feel like running 10 miles a day to train, yet the good ones nearly always do.

Take a risk, make yourself uncomfortable today.

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