by Paula on June 18, 2011

For 8 years I drove the same route to the same office every working day. It wasn’t great, it wasn’t awful, it was just what I did. Very rarely something came along that was different or new and when it did, I worried about it.

I’d have days / weeks before to think about it and mull it over, and I’d sometimes even convince myself that it was just too scary to do. I managed to say no to presenting at a number of conferences before I was gently told that only Yes would do! Being the only thing outside of normal routine in my day made this into a big thing though, and I’d worry and be nervous and not sleep… know the feeling. I managed to convince myself I couldn’t do these things when in actual fact the only problem was that with so few other challenges around I had nothing else to do but analyse the every in and out of this new scenario.

Fast forward to these days and running my own business. Every week I face something new that I’ve never done before. I go somewhere new, I meet someone new, I say yes to something new, so I must be all churned up and terrified right? Wrong.

The fact is, that two major things have changed.

  1. This is my business and my life. Saying no to things that grow my business, expand my mind, broaden my experiences and increase my network is not an option, so I say Yes!
  2. The new and scary things are no longer rare occasions in long periods of normality, they are regular, frequent and I just don’t have the time to worry, I am far too busy planning and organising to make sure they are a success!

Comfort Zone

I’m learning a lot from this process. A comfort zone is only hard to break outside of when you let it get too comfortable! If you sit down, pull up a beanbag and let things settle and stay the same then it can get hard to move. If, inside that comfort zone, you are forever walking and pushing then those walls never get too set in stone.

How is the comfort zone of your business? Are you forever growing and changing and embracing new developments? Or are you firmly entrenched in the way you always did things and really sweating and fearing change?

 Social Media is one change that’s come into our business worlds and at a fast pace and shows no real sign of slowing down. It’s changing the way we communicate, the way we do business, the expectations of our customer service levels and the visibility of our brand – both in and out of our control.

If we are too resistant to change, ignore it because it’s too daunting, and stay firmly in the walls of our comfort zone then this great opportunity to be part of something might pass right by. At best we are missing out on something exciting and rewarding, at worst our competitors and clients could be right out there expanding their own worlds and leaving us behind.

Think about your comfort zone – both your personal one and your business one and take my advice. If a change is looming and it seems daunting, plan a few more changes too, dilute the worry and dive right in. The next time you might find that your comfort zone has a lot more room in it, and walls that are ever such a lot more flexible.

Good luck!

{ 1 comment }

Kevin June 23, 2011 at 4:25 pm

Very good article Paula. For my own part I know how easy it is to slip into the routine and not think about where are going to, where you have come from and not even realise how you got there in the first place.

Everyday planning is an essential tool in life be that work or life planning, although I guess to two are inextricably linked.

To make plans to progress you are always going to reach the point where the next step involves moving out of your comfort zone, be that a particular meeting, presentation, trip away or relationship.

Whilst it can be daunting to consider taking these steps it is often only the anticipation which is scary. I know from my own experience one taken, that step can be not only less painful than anticipated and in some cases very enjoyable and can lead to personal or business advancement.

So yes I agree with everything here.

Do one thing every day that scares you. Eleanor Roosevelt US diplomat & reformer (1884 – 1962).

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