by David Byrd
Comfort is a good thing, right? We look for comfort in the furniture we choose, we enjoy comfort food on a cold, rainy evening; we even have heated seats in our cars. Being comfortable is satisfying, desirable; even safe. Comfort is what we strive for every day, perhaps without even realizing it. Our natural, human instincts actually drive us toward safety and comfort. Why, then, must we get uncomfortable?
Your comfort zones serve no purpose other than prohibiting your own growth and keeping you from achieving.
I know that is hard to hear. But the truth is, you cannot grow and be comfortable at the same time. Growth feels uncomfortable because it pushes you out of your comfort zones. To grow, you must develop your potential, and that potential always lies just beyond your comfort zones.
Everyone has comfort zones that they must systematically push past in order to achieve. So where do we start? If everything in our makeup and every instinct we have is hard-wired for comfort, how do we break through that?
Choose to have a positive attitude
A positive attitude is a predetermined habit of thought dominated by faith, hope, and positive expectancy. If you do not assume personal responsibility for developing your own effective, positive attitudes, the world around you will shape your attitudes with average thinking, which is usually negative and unproductive.
You must choose to maintain a positive expectancy despite the pessimism and negative thinking that saturates your surroundings. Intentionally choosing to maintain an effective, positive attitude will be your most significant lesson in life. Your daily management of the choice of attitude, on a moment-by-moment basis, is a key element in your future achievement.
Learn and practice a new skill
Developing confidence in a new skill requires practicing something that you have never done before. Whether it is cold calling, practicing your prospecting techniques, or learning a new software program, developing a new skill will not be easy, but you will develop confidence from the experience of successful attempts. You try something, it works, and you have more confidence for the next attempt.
Of course, those successful attempts are often surrounded by unsuccessful ones. The experience is usually uncomfortable in some way. Resist the urge to revert back to your normal routine when you experience discomfort. It is in this uncomfortable position that you experience growth, and growth is foundational to achievement.
Be accountable to your mentor
It is important to seek an outside-in perspective to bring about the kind of change you need for sustainable achievement and growth. This perspective can come from a mentor or group of people with like-minded interests to whom you choose to be accountable for your goals. Find someone who has achieved at the level to which you aspire, learn the right things to do from that person, and then report in to them regularly about your progress.
When you choose to be accountable, you make a commitment to do what you say you are going to do and consistently increase your performance until you reach your goals. Without that accountability, it is much easier to slide back into old patterns of ineffective actions and behaviors.
In order to achieve, you must posture yourself in a way that allows you to get uncomfortable. Pushing past your comfort zones into new territory is not easy or even natural since your brain instinctively views this growth and change as a threat and encourages you to retreat to more comfortable activities. That is why unproductive habits are so difficult to change! It is also why mediocrity is the norm, and achievement is the exception.
Make yourself the exception by choosing to have a positive attitude, learning and practicing a new skill, and being accountable to a mentor. You can rise above those comfort zones, get uncomfortable, and you can take control of your achievement and destiny.