How do you feel your business is doing? Are you comfortable or can you do more? There is a quote from Manoj Arora the author of ‘From the rat race to financial freedom’, that I’d like to share with you:
“Comfort is your biggest trap and coming out of a comfort zone your biggest challenge.”
Running your own business can be the most invigorating roller-coaster you will ride and you experience the whole gamut of emotions. This exhilaration can be an energising experience as you grow and develop your business. However, it can diminish as you start to feel the contentment that comes with success. The secret is to ensure you know when you’re in that comfort zone and have a plan to stretch yourself.
Let me tell you about some clients of mine who faced that problem.
They had a good business, a solid income and a stable life. Then one day they called me, from their tone I thought that they faced some major crisis and needed some help.
They were doing what they have always done very well and getting a consistent reward for their efforts. However, they knew that they could do more, learn more and grow more as people and as a business. But they felt apprehensive about the next steps. They didn’t know it but they had entered their business comfort zone.
This is a place many of us visit at some stage in our life.
Entrepreneurs have to take leaps of faith to succeed. Jumping over what appears at times to be a chasm but what is a part of the journey which is essential for success. But what happens when the scary becomes comfortable and when the risky becomes routine? Yes you have guessed it, we get complacent and when this happens, we can become lazy and more importantly we can stagnate.
My initial response with my client was to calm them down and coach them through answering 6 questions:
They gradually came to their own conclusion that they were in a comfort zone.
Then it was time to get them to help themselves.
I asked them to write down the list of business activities that they felt were within this comfortable zone and those things that are outside of it.
Then, I encouraged them to think about the top five activities they believed would enrich their business but that they are avoiding, delaying or ignoring, for whatever reason.
Once we had got this clear, I encouraged them to think about the key steps they could take to achieve the activities they had identified. Basically what could they do to overcome their fears or perceived obstacles?
To reinforce the opportunities they had now written down, I asked them to quantify if possible the business, emotional and personal cost of not acting.
This certainly got them to focus and achieve clarity and I was happy to help.
However, only they could change and being your best friend when you reach a comfort zone can be invaluable. Because changing your normal routines and settings or taking yourself out of your norm completely can help you get to know yourself better. Thankfully they started to put an action plan in place.
I’d like to ask now, have you stopped taking those leaps of faith and exploring new opportunities?
If so, or if you feel you’re in a rut, or entering the dreaded comfort zone, try using my questions. If you identify those dreaded fears that are holding you back be your own best friend and begin to help yourself.
Once we write these fears down, we can make a plan to face up to them, one at a time and move forward.
Then we identify what we can learn, who we can work with and what fears can we overcome?
Yes it’s not easy, but at the end of the process you’re in a different, better and more profitable place. So come on take that leap of faith.
And remember even small shifts in your normal routine can allow you to challenge yourself and get to know yourself better and get you out of that comfort zone.
John Joe McGinley Glassagh Consulting November 2017