Your comfort zone can seem like a beautiful, safe place. It’s like a big ole’ comfy couch with lots of cozy blankets. There you sit, wearing your leggings and collegiate hoodie, wiping queso off of your face with your sleeve. Yea, it’s a good place.
In business, landing in your comfort zone, ironically, comes from success itself. You didn’t get to chill on that couch by accident, you’ve figured out a strategy in your business that led you to that success. Whether it was impressing a client that led to organic business growth or you launched a campaign that expanded and developed your brand. Maybe you set monetary goals and exceeded them. These successes, of course, should be celebrated with bubbles, helium-filled balloons (not just those human-air-blown-up ones) and a boujee dinner where they fold your cloth napkin for you when you get up to go to the bathroom.
But it’s what happens after that first bout of success that really defines the path of your business or organization. It’s easy to stay in a lane, keep doing what you’re doing, live by the ‘if it ain’t broke’ mentality. It’s easy to set attainable goals, repeat the past, and continue maintaining a structure that allows you to stay in full control. In fact, just saying the words, “full control” can make you want to live on that big comfy couch forever.
It’s easy to stay in our comfort zone because when thinking about what comes next, our first thought is a feeling of fear; fear of what others might think, feelings of self-doubt, and ultimately fear of failure. It’s important that in this moment of fear, we take the opportunity to learn. Learn from those around us by asking questions of other successful entrepreneurs in our business. Sometimes we’re afraid to reach out to those on similar paths, as we fear facing things that we could be doing better. It’s important that we learn not to re-invent the wheel, and that asking for advice and help is an important step in the learning phase of getting out of our comfort zone. After all, we’re all fumbling through this whole building-a-business thing together, am I right?
Imagine this: you’re hosting your first Thanksgiving dinner and you want to make sure that your very first pie is baked just right. You decide to stick to a recipe that you’ve mastered and perfected – your famous apple pie. This is a pie recipe that you’ve poured your heart into, starting from scratch and creating a masterpiece. And hey – there’s no shame in this decision, especially since you want to ensure that your pie impresses the crowd. Just as you had hoped – it does. Your family and friends hug you tighter with every bite of pie, (you think you even see a small tear of joy drip slowly down their faces) and they ask you to subsequently bake your famous pie for every gathering afterward.
But soon – you’ve been to three family reunions, four birthdays, and a bar mitzvah and all you’ve ever brought along with you is that classic, clutch, go-to apple pie. You realize that although your family has all raved about the pie and love your recipe, you probably need to step up your dessert-baking-game and try something new, say German chocolate cake. But what if it doesn’t turn out right? The fear of failure creeps in. The expectations weigh on you as you think about the extra time, extra ingredients, and extra care that will need to go into this next level of dessert delivery. (BRB while I literally go get a snack after all of this dessert-talk.)
But when you take the extra time and care to learn a new recipe, you will be taking the successful steps out of your comfort zone that will lead you to growth. Not only growth in this recipe as you perfect your cake, but growth in the kitchen, expansion of future recipes, and excitement in finding even more recipes you can share, and the impact they will make on your loved ones’ taste buds.
Like in baking, we have to take risks when growing our business. A successful comfort zone in business means that you have grown a client base, provided effective services, and have earned a living doing something that you are passionate about and proficient in. So why stop there? Strive to continue expanding your client base. Ask for referrals from your current clients, and actively continue to seek out new ones. Also, ask and learn from experts in your field. Compare your services and skill set to others in your industry who are doing it successfully and at a larger scale.
Don’t let the fear of stepping out of your own box stand in the way of learning from others, and subsequently growing from it. Keep detailed notes of those moments when you’re kicking ass and those moments when you feel defeated. Run towards, instead of away from, those moments of defeat and use what you’ve learned in your moments of triumph to grow. Consult those you admire, consult those with opinions that vary from your own. When you show your cards, ask for help, ask for advice – you are taking a risk. Your business is only as passionate, transparent, and vulnerable as you are, so don’t be afraid of what your authentic, true self will bring to the table.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, you’re going to need to eat a lot of pie. (Really that could be the end of that thought, right?) Ok, you’re going to need to “eat a lot of pie” to continue growing in your business journey. Because when the comfort zone transforms into the growth zone, you are realizing your potential, carving out your own path, and achieving your goals. And trust me, the dessert tastes even sweeter because of it.
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