Often times in business & in life we reach a point in time that we gain a great sense of comfort in our roles, position or routines. Many human beings are creatures of habit & for many being comfortable is a very inviting reality. Some people seek comfort above all else not realizing that seeking a comfortable relationship, job, position or post is actually one of the most dangerous things you can do. Before we discuss this further let's look at just a few things that lead people to long for a "Comfortable" position.
Habits & Routine. Let's face it "Doing things the way we have always done them" makes people comfortable. Those who may be entrenched in their ways will run from change agents & coalesce in a tribe of other comfortable people. Where mediocrity is celebrated as the norm. The many protect the individuals & then eventually the dinosaurs all die at once.
Fear. Many people cannot abide being pushed outside of their comfort zone. It's fear of failure, fear of loss of comfort that allows people to remain content or to just be comfortable. Fear of failure or fear of being found out is what creates a steadfast unwillingness to adapt and change. Fear leads to excuses & excuses are the tickets to the "comfortable show". Fear gives you a front row seat, so settle in for the comfortable show or face your fears now. What an uncomfortable thought, to face your fears and address your weaknesses.
Laziness. Now for those who would argue that being comfortable does not mean that you are lazy, let me say this. I am speaking about the type of comfort that leads to inaction & stagnation. I am certainly not confusing comfort with fulfillment or a sense of purpose. In fact the majority of people I encounter who are fulfilled & carry a strong sense of purpose are in fact the hardest working, hardest living & hardest loving people that I know. So let's get back to laziness. People who are comfortable are lazy, period. It is routine & fear that deliver them to the doorstep of lazy, rings the bell & runs away. The house of laziness is always waiting for the comfortable to show up at the door & ring the bell. Comfortable people are often lazy & laziness manifestes itself into a staunch un-willingness to learn & blocks personal mastery.
In business & life alike personal development, constant self-assessment & skill development lead to growth. A consistent & relentless pursuit of improvement leads to mastery & mastery is never achieved by those who are comfortable. If you want to master something & reap the rewards that come along with mastery then get uncomfortable, now!
The Silent Killer. Nothing will ruin your goals faster than letting comfort which you may find along the journey allow you to take your eyes off your goals & rest. Make no mistake, in every worthy pursuit opportunities to do the comfortable thing or to stay in a comfortable position & not push forward will present themselves. Nothing will kill a vision faster than people who are comfortable; conversely comfortable people usually are incapable of committing to & pursuing a strong VISION for the organization. Individuals with goals, dreams & visions of what the future holds should run towards discomfort, do the hard things first & OWN their path to personal & organizational mastery.
The Multiplier of The Silent Killer. Risking Careers & Livelihoods. When people who are comfortable are tasked with leading teams then the organization that has entrusted these comfortable leaders into their leadership positions has in effect signed the death warrant on those who would seek personal mastery inside that team & sealed the fate of the organization. People who want to build & grow, who want to strive, seek, learn & win are constantly going to be faced with opportunities & choices to veer towards a more comfortable path, highly driven people will usually selfcorrect when they are heading down a path towards comfort. However; many people end up rationalizing a more comfortable route even when they know in their heart they should do the hard, uncomfortable thing. What these strivers need is a leader who casts a strong vision & is also in their own heart & mind, not satisfied being comfortable in the personal lives or their business. Only then can individuals who are the strivers inside the organization truly live up to their full potential. A growth focused leader who does not seek comfort will experience unparalleled success when they can rally a team, channel energies & keep strivers focused on MASTERY. This leads of course to fantastic organizational success as well, benefiting everyone in the organization.
What's almost equally important as appointing leaders who crave growth & are comfortable being uncomfortable is what happens when leaders who are comfortable take control of an organization or are allowed to remain in control of an organization. When this is the case two things are bound to happen. 1. The strivers will leave the company & go somewhere their talents will be developed & mastery can be achieved. Or conflict will arise because the leader is comfortable and the follower may be seeking more. So conflict fills the void. The strivers become unsatisfied and the comfortable leader becomes defensive & detracts more into the comfort zone, silently killing the organization. 2. The organization will begin to take on the shape of the leader & being comfortable will now be here to stay. This is the greatest risk of all because leaders should be able to help people grow & they should encourage personal mastery, which greatly benefits the organization as a whole. Often times that is EXACTLY what most organizations need from a leader (constant growth & seeking/encouraging personal mastery), but when a comfortable leader is in place look out, talent will leave or conflict will arise and above all organizational growth is threatened.
How Do You Learn To Become Comfortable With The Uncomfortable? Being comfortable with the uncomfortable is only achieved through a dogged pursuit of self-improvement, a clearly defined vision & the ability to take massive action. It helps to have a leader who seeks the same, but it is not necessary. Being comfortable with the uncomfortable leads to mastery. First make sure your on a team with a leader who will sheppard your quest for constant improvement & mastery. You may very well outgrow your leaders skills, which is fine, as long as your team leader continues to mentor you, cast a big vision & encourages your continued personal growth. Isn't that what leaders want, to surround themselves with strivers who become better than they are? That's a talent factory! It's important to remember that you will be faced with the choice to take the easy & comfortable way out on many occasion. You must seek a power partner who will guide you & coach you so you can reach your full potential. If this is not your reality then seek a coach & mentor outiside your organization who exhibits the right traits. Second make sure you have clearly defined your vision & that you understand the gap between your vision and your current state. Taking a close inventory of the distance between the two will motivate you deeply to take massive action. The stronger your vision the stronger your commitment to massive action & the easier it is to become comfortable with the uncomfortable.
Above all understand that you can achieve anything you focus on & obsess over. Seek self improvement at every turn, seek feedback & show a hunger for knowledge, a thirst for mentorship & coaching. Surround yourself with an inner circle that pushes you, not one that placates & validates you. Be able to check your six & often self asses. Define your goals & prioritize high gain activities first, take MASSIVE ACTION and learn to be COMFORTABLE with the UN-COMFORTABLE.
Remember- When your trying to BUILD SOMETHING avoid comfortable people like the plague. They will infect your dreams, your vision and your mission with comfort which is a Silent Killer.
Take time to do the hard thing first. Many don't, you should, trust me on this one. Huge dividends will be paid to leaders who know the payoff is doing the hard things first. Human beings can learn stuff, so if your comfortable right now, put down the blanket of comfort, get up, stand up, go outside, breathe & RUN! Your team will thank you. In life and in business you must keep moving.
Michael Stachowiak -Sales Leader & Constant Learner.