Something that is common for all of us is change. It’s inevitable for all of us. It’s the same for all of us. Change is going to happen in our world and it’s probably going to be uncomfortable. We like to sit where we’re comfortable, within our zone of comfort. Yet it’s outside of that comfort zone where big things happen, where success happens, where growth happens. Just look at what happens when you are going to the gym or doing exercise. Unless it hurts, unless it’s painful, you know that you’re not extending yourself. You’re not growing and developing muscles. It must hurt a little bit for you to have that growth.
I know for me personally, being an entrepreneur, being in business, I sometimes get scared to make decisions. There’s a level of fear and discomfort in the unknown. However, there’s a part of my brain that says, unless it hurts you’re not going to grow. Unless it feels uncomfortable, the growth isn’t going to happen.
I recall being at a leadership conference years ago, watching a woman being recognized and applauded on stage for her incredible success. This was a woman who had not graduated high school and neve read a book in her whole life. One of the things that she was forced to do as part of her leadership growth was to read for 15 minutes a day. It was a big contributor to her success, because she was reading about business and entrepreneurship.
Small Changes Equal Big Wins
Jeff Olson in his book, “The Slight Edge,” talks about the little things that you can do, the slightest edge, the smallest step that over a long period of time, can have the greatest impact. He shares the story of his favourite shoe shine lady. She wishes she could have grat success but has never had an education. She had next to her, piles and piles of romance novels. When he asked her about them, she shared her love of these books and how she reads one a week. He lamented that if she had only spent just a fraction of that time reading something towards her personal growth she may well be a different person.
Mark Bouris is the founder of Yellow Brick Road Home Loans, and star of the Australian production of “The Apprentice.” (The American version is what made Donald Trump famous).
Mark shares simple tips and advice regularly on social media. One of the most intriguing was advice he was giving to the young camera crew filming him. He was unaware that he was being filmed, yet the advice he was giving was fabulous. Fortunately, the producers had the foresight to preserve it. His advice to these aspiring filmmakers was every day do something different from what you would normally do. Mark shared how each day he would alternate which hand he used to brush his teeth and shave. This enabled him to not become complacent and rest in a comfort zone. It forces him to be in a state of discomfort and a constant state of growth and learning. This allowed his brain to be sharp, to think and approach things in a different way.
Habits and Addiction
Recently, a colleague who has achieved a high level of financial and professional success shared with me her story. She had grown up in a dangerous and volatile situation, often not knowing if she would be safe or how to feed her siblings. She believed that her family had a disposition for addiction.
She had family who’d all suffered in some way with addiction, and she hadn’t. One of the things that important for not only her success but her survival was to break habit. To be comfortable with change and things being different. She recognized that habit is so closely associated with addiction.
Her mind was accustomed to thinking of escape routes, of thinking ahead, of being on top of her game but this was only possible if she constantly broke habit. She would do little things like changing the route that she would use to drive home, in public spaces she’d imagine what her escape route might be in a disaster. She was constantly thinking about what alternative outcomes could be in a situation. This behaviour has trained her brain to be versatile, to think ahead and to think through problems.
Changing habit or habitual thinking and being comfortable with discomfort will be linked to your personal growth.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this, and what things you do to break habit, to push yourself and to allow growth and change in your environment.