“Growth demands the temporary surrender of security.” – Gail Sheehy
I remember as a kid overhearing a conversation that had to do with someone who was approaching retirement. The gist of the conversation was that the individual in question had worked hard, had a great career, and was now set up to do whatever they wanted with their lives. I specifically remember the phrase “he did well enough that they can live comfortably” being used.
I know what was meant by the individual who said it. They had enough money that they wouldn’t have many financial worries in their retirement. And that’s great.
But now, when I think about that phrase, I think about it more broadly. How many people go about their lives with the idea that success means living comfortably? Not just financially, but being in your comfort zone, being around people like you, being in an environment where you’re relaxed and at ease all the time. For so many people, being comfortable seems like the goal.
And yet, so many people seem to be frustrated that they haven’t accomplished what they want or seen the results they want. They didn’t get the promotion, they aren’t doing what they’re passionate about, their business is struggling, etc.
I think those last two paragraphs, in many cases, are related. All the things people say they want – we’ll call it success, however they define it – require growth. We have to improve, we have to change, we have to take on new challenges. In a word, we have to be uncomfortable. So if we’re chasing comfort, but we want growth, aren’t we destined to be fighting ourselves? Won’t we always be disappointed?
All growth happens outside our comfort zones. As leaders, we have to constantly be pushing ourselves to take on things that make us uncomfortable. If you spend most of your day doing things you’re comfortable doing, then you’re probably not having the impact on yourself or on your business that you should be having.
Ask yourself – what’s on my agenda for today? What am I going to do when I’m done reading this blog? If the day’s list doesn’t include anything that makes you uncomfortable, or nervous, or scares you just a little bit, then it’s not a great day.
Look for ways to be uncomfortable. Look for opportunities to be challenged. Only then will growth happen, and only then will you have a chance at real success. Good luck.