“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
I love this quote – I try to remind myself of it on a frequent basis. It jolts me a little when I realize I may be living in my “comfort zone.” I have always been fascinated with human nature and why we always seek comfort. It makes sense. We want to avoid danger or uncertainty. We certainly do not want to be uncomfortable… or do we?
I have had the honor of working with, hanging out, or training with world class martial artists, SEALs, motorcycle club leaders, Special Forces, numerous CEOs and Executives, world-class athletes, accomplished mountaineers, and skydivers. I love speaking with exceptional people like this because of their mental toughness, tenacity, and ability to accomplish super-human things. The concept of fear and comfort zones was something they openly spoke about. They all wrestled with it. The common denominator for overcoming it was their ability to face it without hesitancy. In most of their experiences, they recognized it, as well as the associated feelings, created a strategy – and immediately confronted and overcame it. Now, many of them actively seek to be uncomfortable because they know the growth will lead them to become an even better version of themselves. I have heard it said that “your comfort zone is where your dreams go to die!”
Why is this an important subject to share with you? In my opinion, it is because we all have it – and it keeps us from being our best. Think of the times when your back was against the wall, when the odds were against you, and you had no choice but to confront the issue(s) and face your fears. I am betting that two things happened:
- You were amazing. You did something you could not have imagined doing until that moment. You persevered and overcame the challenge.
- You were no longer fearful of that challenge. You grew because of it.
The world we used to live in has changed permanently. Life before covid was somewhat predictable – now it is most anything but predictable. When you think back to the massive changes that took place, almost every aspect of your life was affected. What did you do? You faced your fears/ anxieties and employed new strategies/ tactics to overcome them. You succeeded, where you first may have thought it was going to be far more traumatic than it was.
“Change” is a constant. You will find that by embracing it, you will learn to quickly overcome anxieties. The growth will catapult you into accomplishing things you may not have attempted just a few months ago. I remember talking to a CEO of a client company where I shared this perspective. He laughed and then challenged me by asking, “So what you’re saying is that we should always want to be uncomfortable?” I thought about that for a bit and said, “Yeah – it’s the only way you can achieve and become someone that lives close to their potential.” Of course, like all of us… I am still a work in progress!
This is the time of year where you have both an ending and a beginning. You have left 2021 and your accomplishments but have entered 2022 with a “blank slate.” It is the ideal time to set your professional and personal goals, then determine the plan to accomplish them. While the new year will bring a fresh perspective and hope for success, it will not bring a strategy and the tactical items that will vault you to the next level.
Embrace your fear and think about what you would do if you knew it would lead you to the next level of performance or your career. Here are some actions you may want to consider:
- I am going to focus on speaking with more Senior Executives and I will set a goal of “X number” of discussions per month.
- I am committed to asking for introductions to higher level people on every call where appropriate.
- I will refuse to negotiate pricing until I have been able to establish business value with the right contacts.
- I will always ask for the next step in the process, as well as the order.
This is the time to expand your knowledge and expertise, engage with higher level client contacts, and learn new account management skills. Define what the next level looks like and make the decision to pursue it! IF you choose to leave your comfort zone and confront your fear and anxieties, watch how quickly you see results!
The choice is yours. I hope you will always remember “Everything that you ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
Nothing happens until you decide on what you want and embrace the discomfort you will feel when you begin to pursue what you have defined as success. You WILL be uncomfortable – change always is. Write down five actions and five personal goals you will commit to this year. The more uncomfortable, the better. Share the list with people that will hold you accountable.