There’s a lot of “wisdom” around phrases like “Get into your (comfort) zone…..”
Presumably, it’s about getting into a good routine, building a rhythm or cadence, replicating what you’ve done to be successful.
We hear and read variations of this all the time. Advice that’s well intended but perhaps the most dangerous advice we could follow.
The moment we start seeking comfort or to be comfortable, we start to lose.
We stop learning, we stop improving, we begin to settle for mediocrity.
My friend, Mark Modesti, say, “We don’t know our own capabilities until we stretch them by doing something a little scary.”
As sales people, we sell change. Whether it’s a new approach to business, an improvement in operations, a switch in suppliers. Our job is to create healthy discomfort with our customers, helping them to continually improve.
Yet too often, we fall into the traps of becoming comfortable or complacent. Why change, it worked before–even though we know it isn’t working as well now–but we compensate by doing more faster. But we do the same thing we’ve always done because we are comfortable with it.
We need to actively seek discomfort. Just a little, every day. We need to stretch a little more, trying something new, trying to improve.
We know in training for a sport, to improve we have to push ourselves a little more each time. Whether it’s increasing the training intensity, adding a few pounds to the weights we lift, improving our time or score a little. We don’t get better until we start getting uncomfortable.
Yet in our work, we settle in. We stick with the familiar, the routine. We use the same script, we make the same phone calls, we send the same email, day after day.
We do these things because they are what we’ve always done. We do these things because we are comfortable with them. We do these things even if they aren’t producing the results they used to.
We are asking our customers to be uncomfortable, we are asking them to change.
Yet we don’t push ourselves, we aren’t comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Try something new with one customer every day. See what happens, learn from it, adjust and keep going.
Learn one new thing every day, then try applying it the next day. See what happens, learn and improve.
Help your people stretch in one way every day. Whether it’s to try something new, change an approach they’ve been using, go after a different customer or different opportunity. Help them learn from it, improve.
Choose one customer and present a new idea every day. Help them think about it, engage them in a discussion about what it could mean. Learn together and move forward.
You, your people, and your customers will learn that being uncomfortable isn’t that frightening, but it’s the path to progress and improving.
Afterword: Thanks to Mark Modesti for pushing me on this!