“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” – Neale Donald Walsch
It’s in our nature as humans to seek comfort. It probably dates back to our time as cave dwellers. If you’re sitting in the cave, and you have a fire, and you have food, why go outside where the lions are? Just stay safe and comfortable and live to see another day.
Most people still function that way, albeit on a 21st-century level. We want to live in comfortable places, make comfortable amounts of money in comfortable jobs, and so on. The average person really isn’t looking to push themselves out of their comfort zone.
Leaders aren’t much different. There are a lot of people leading organizations who tend to look for the comfortable path. Don’t rock the boat, don’t try new things, don’t do anything out of the ordinary. Just keep doing what we’re doing because we’re comfortable.
But great leaders can’t be that way. Organizations have to continually be growing, and that can’t happen if the leaders aren’t growing, and ALL growth comes outside out comfort zones. Show me a leader who’s nestled in their comfort zone and I’ll show you a leader – and an organization – that isn’t growing.
The good news is that we can learn to be comfortable being uncomfortable. The more we push ourselves outside of our comfort zones, the more we feel OK about doing it again. When we push ourselves to get uncomfortable on a consistent basis, pretty soon it becomes habit.
Think about yourself. Are you comfortable? Do you purposefully seek to be uncomfortable? Or, if it happens accidentally, to you immediately go scurrying back to your comfort zone? As leaders, we have to set the tone for those we lead, and that means looking for growth, and that only happens when we’re uncomfortable.
Don’t look for a comfortable career. Don’t be a comfortable leader. Push yourself and everyone around you to be uncomfortable. Your growth depends on it, and so does your future. Take the leap.