This week’s Step Up Leader Tip borrows from Leading Blog. As you enter 2015, I invite you to explore how uncomfortable you are as a leader. It’s not good or bad; it’s simply a barometer of where you are. It’s not an indicator of what you may be able to grow beyond. With curiosity and openness to explore, your results and satisfaction can jump exponentially.
But, there is a correlation between our growth and success in life and the discomfort we’re willing to impose on ourselves. Growth necessarily takes us outside of our comfort zone.
In a world of rapid and continual change, radical personal growth is required. We need to get used to it.
If we are going to stay relevant, we are going to be uncomfortable. If we are going to grow, we’re going to be uncomfortable. It’s difficult and unsettling. It’s just doesn’t feel right.
If a behavior or thinking has gotten us by, we just keep repeating it even if it really isn’t serving us well. We won’t take another look at our underlying assumptions until it lands us in a crisis. Typically, until we are uncomfortable, we don’t see the need to do anything different. We just keep repeating what we know until it’s too late. Staying within our comfort zone limits us.
And here’s the thing, we can put ourselves into an uncomfortable position, or in time, it will be trust upon us—and not on our terms. Every time we avoid the opportunity to grow, the stakes get higher.
Discomfort motivates us to change, to explore, to seek out new answers. It spurs on creativity. It gives us confidence. We need to learn to systematically reassess what we are doing and look for alternatives to the way we do what we do.
Real growth happens when we go into the unknown knowing that whatever happens, we will come out a different person—even a different organization. We will no longer think and act in the same way we did before. This expands our view. Provides us with new opportunities. Previously unseen solutions.
Richard Branson says, “If your vision is to reach a distant beach where, because of the reefs surrounding it, no one has ever set foot, then the chances are that reading the same old charts as everyone else has used isn’t going to get you there either.”
When it comes to leadership, we’ve been reading the same charts for too long. Running over the same old ground. We must develop the discipline to challenge—our beliefs, our assumptions, and our “tried and true” responses.”
Are you uncomfortable enough to do something different this year? Request an appointment with me! I enjoy having a conversation in which the uncomfortable can become comforting.