Don’t Get Comfortable: Life Begins at the End of Your Comfort Zone
We all know, life begins at the end of your comfort zone, but doesn’t everyone want to just be comfortable? Whether in business or in our personal life, we often strive to get to a level where we feel comfortable, safe, stable. The problem with that is in reality, being comfortable and always doing things that make us feel safe don’t really challenge us and don’t push us to grow. Over time, this holds us back from trying new things, being open to new challenges and growing personally, physically and professionally. And it holds us back to grow our business to the next level.
GROWING BY DOING
In a recent meeting with a client when we were pushing them to do some new things out of their comfort zone regarding business branding and design, one of the people in the meeting said, “You are making me uncomfortable.” My response was, “Good.”
“If you were comfortable with everything we were proposing we wouldn't be doing our job as your branding consultants and change agents.”
After our meeting, I began to think about the idea of challenging our clients to do things that often push them out of our comfort zone and hopefully push us to grow. In this ever-changing retail landscape, brands that are comfortable and “stay the course” are rewarded by diminishing sales, declining market share and shifting customer loyalty; think Macy’s, The Gap, and Office Depot.
Instead those brands that push the envelope, challenge the status quo and constantly surprise and challenge their customers are the brands that are winning. An alive and relevant brand stays on the other side of the comfort zone. Think American Giant, Everlane, and Hugh & Crye (if you don’t know some of these brands, trust me, you will soon).
3 Things You Need to Do to Challenge the Status Quo
These brands are small, nimble and have looked at industries that are comfortable and challenged the status quo. They have thrown out the conventional ways of doing business, making products and marketing. Instead they are forging their own path and in the process gaining fans, customers, and loyalists who will reward them with sales and market share.
These are brands that have created a culture that embraces change and are constantly looking for new and different ways to improve how they connect with their customers, suppliers, and employees.
#1 Pushing Our Limits to Achieve a Better Version of Ourselves
Today we live in a society where we are constantly being asked to push ourselves both physically and mentally. In the age of Tough Mudders, Soul Cycle and Bikram Yoga, we are constantly being challenged to push our physical and mental limits to achieve a better version of ourselves. In a recent article in Fast Company, the writer extols the virtues of cold showers, ice baths and extreme sport activities to push our physical limits as a way to build confidence in our abilities and to do something that makes us uncomfortable every day.
#2 Leaving Our Comfort Zones to Explore Who We Really Are
The point of the article is that by pushing our own physical limits we begin to see what we are truly capable of and that affects other areas of our life. Getting into the habit of making ourselves uncomfortable EVERY DAY makes us more open to new ideas, challenges, and opportunities. It builds our confidence and shows us that we can do more than we think we can.
#3 Feeling Uncomfortable So We Can Grow (and Our Brand too!)
As a brand consultant, I often find myself in the role of change agent. I'm the guy that’s going to make you a little uncomfortable, push you out of your comfort zone and hopefully grow.
As I think back on my career I have noticed that this seems to be a role that I like as I keep putting myself in it.
How to Change Your Personal (and Business) DNA
In my personal life, I have embraced pushing myself physically (triathlons) and mentally (public speaking) as there is a certain level of excitement and gratification.
What I have learned through the years is that if you do something every day that makes you uncomfortable (either as a person or a brand) it becomes part of your DNA.
After some time, change and new things suddenly don’t seem so daunting because you know “I got this.”
It’s not all going to work out.
Sometimes you fall down, stumble or just make a bad choice.
And that’s ok.
If everything you do works out perfectly than you probably are not pushing yourself (or your brand) to the point of growing.
The brand American Giant says it best - don’t get comfortable.
Comfortable has no guts and comfortable never dares to be great.