Welcome, and please accept my apologies for skipping a post due to unavoidable circumstances. Today I would like us to consider the phrase ‘beyond the comfort zone’.
I know that some people will be challenged at the start when we read that phrase. Of course there is a sense of discomfort already in it and some people do not like any form of discomfort. However, let’s take this journey together. Shall we? Incidentally, this was the subject of my first motivational book in which I considered issues such as the perspective of comfort and discomfort, common comfort zones, traps of the comfort zone, fundamentals of breaking out of the comfort zone and other issues. The book is available on Amazon. Don’t ask me how many motivational books I have written though! I will keep that to myself for now.
In the words of Michel De Montaigne, I quote; ‘I conceive that pleasures are to be avoided if greater pains be the consequence, and pains to be coveted that will terminate in greater pleasures’. This in essence is the subject matter of beyond the comfort zone, though there is a lot more in it. For an entrepreneur, and even beyond entrepreneurship, some discomforts and pains must be accommodated and tolerated as they later terminate into business pleasures. On the flip side, pleasures and discomfort that translate into bad consequences should be avoided as much as possible.
So, what are we talking about? Why must an entrepreneur operate beyond the comfort zone? I trust that you can easily identity your comfort zones, and also understand when you have exceeded those zones in your business. What are some of the reasons why you must consciously choose some business pains in order to enjoy business pleasures later on? Why must you exceed your comfort zone and enter the discomfort zone in your enterprise? Let’s take a quick look at some of the issues. Ok?
- Many things about entrepreneurship are beyond the comfort zone. By the way, I guess you must have already known that most things about business or entrepreneurship really are beyond the comfort zone. You can’t be very comfortable when you invest some hundreds of thousands of dollars in a new business, whose market you are not even very sure of. You can’t be comfortable when you spring up with a new product that nobody knows about at all. You can’t be very comfortable in working day and night during the early stages of your start-up, because most probably you don’t have the required support staffs you need. Promoting your products is another task. Haven’t you found some kind of buyers who stare at you like you are from another planet? Or the type that keeps you visiting over and over again with the pretext that they are yet to decide on whether to buy your product or service or do otherwise? I could go on and on forever, but my point here is this – you must acquaint yourself with discomfort if you are an entrepreneur, because most things you will do to succeed in your business are beyond your comfort zone.
- Audacious business and personal goals can only be achieved by operating beyond the comfort zone. Now, talking about audacity, this brings into memory Barack Obama’s book entitled ‘Audacity of Hope’. Quite a good read I think. This is my opinion, and you are entitled to your opinion. Ok? So, back to audacious business and personal goals. To be a great achiever in your entrepreneurial dreams you need to think and dream big. You need to come up with audacious goals and objectives. If you are an entrepreneur who sets very lazy goals this will also give you a lazy pace and you end up going nowhere. Don’t you agree with me? Some people do things so lazily like ducks! I mean, you need to set audacious or pretty high and even crazy goals that will kick-start the flow of adrenaline to work towards achieving those goals. Now, tell me if this is not operating beyond your comfort zone. Tell me if you will achieve those audacious goals when you do everything at your own pace and comfort.
- Avoiding traps of the comfort zone. Another reason why you should operate beyond the comfort zone in your business is the fact that this will enable you to avoid traps of the comfort zone. In my book mentioned above I talked about traps such as assigned dreams, opportunity blindness, illusion, learned helplessness traps etc. You might begin thinking that you are not destined for that big achievement or dream, and you might indeed remain in your low esteem forever. You might fail to see opportunities that come passing by occasionally. You might live an illusionary life, pretending to be what you are not, and this even saps more energy from you and stops right thinking. In learned helplessness your thoughts and actions begin to justify your failure or poor state, and these become ingrained in your core being. These traps are very dangerous and we should always work to avoid them. Their effects on your business and even your personality can be very detrimental. Don’t you think so Mr. Entrepreneur? Therefore, learn to operate beyond the comfort zone and automatically overcome the traps of the comfort zone.
- Deliver more than expected. Now, this is what the market loves by the way. The market loves to get more than what it pays for. In this world, if you always deliver more than expected, your successes and blessings will not stop flowing. I mentioned in one of my blogs that some people are hopelessly exact in creating and delivering value. I mean, why can’t you do more than expected of you? Why can’t you exceed customer or market expectations regarding your products and services? Why can’t you discomfort yourself to go beyond expectations? There are tremendous positives in doing this. You need to get this in the right perspective, otherwise you can choose to turn this upside down and down upside, and do any weird things you like. Don’t just work to meet expectations. Work to exceed expectations and your business will always succeed. You will have tons of referrals simply because you always operate beyond your comfort zone to deliver more value and performance than expected. Isn’t this true? Come on Mr. Entrepreneur!
- Human beings achieve more in a pressurized and energized environment. In my opinion, if you need good success in your enterprise, you need to create an energized working environment in the business. You need some pressure. We all know that some reasonable level of pressure makes people achieve good results. By the way, don’t overdo it, because it could lead to something else. This is somehow linked to the audacious goals I mentioned above. You will not be able to do this if you don’t compel yourself to work beyond your comfort zone. Tune your enterprise, your teams, staffs and everything to operate with energy and some discomfort. This will certainly give you some positive effect in your business.
- Execution culture and business effectiveness and efficiency. Yes – we are back on the aspect of execution culture and business efficiency and effectiveness. I’ve oftentimes referred to these points in my blogs. I do hope I don’t get some people bored by this. I simply like to keep on reminding people about the importance of these. If you don’t execute in your business, you will slowly destroy it. If you are inefficient and ineffective, you cannot stay afloat for long and operate sustainably in this very competitive and increasingly dynamic business world. Don’t you agree with me? The successful enterprises you see around today, which are continuing to deliver value to meet client’s needs and wants, place due emphasis on execution, efficiency and effectiveness. In short – a business is not sustainable in the long-term without these. These things don’t come cheap. They require some discomfort and operating beyond the comfort zone. It’s you the entrepreneur, and your senior officers to drive this. Don’t think that some consultant will come and do this for you. They will stop at advising you, and the rest is yours. Do you get the point?
So, in conclusion, let me give you another quote here. In the words of Mark Twain, ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover’. I end on this note.
The Wise Entrepreneur