If there’s one universal truth about being an entrepreneur, it’s that stagnation is bad for business.
When entrepreneurs only hang out in their comfort zone, never stepping outside of the proverbial box, they don’t have the same drive to move forward, to reach for new targets or objectives, to take their business in a fresh direction. Without that drive, and by only ever doing the same things without change, your business will get stagnant. It won’t grow.
Getting out of what feels like a safe space and into an uncomfortable zone can be very motivating. It can also be terrifying. But this isn’t about running head long without thinking things through or planning steps. The old proverb says: “a rolling stone gathers no moss.” It does not continue by saying: “so run around like a chicken with your head cut off and hope something you do sticks.” Instead, look at it this way: being a little bit uncomfortable will help most business owners stay on track with planning, motivate them to do better and reach farther, to properly strategize and implement those plans and, ultimately, to succeed in growing their business.
Ironically, in this like so many other things, practice makes perfect. Even those with truly entrepreneurial spirits will take awhile to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. The key is to engage in your transformation one step at a time, taking calculated risks and pushing beyond the fear that comes from a place of change. What other ways can you get comfortable with being uncomfortable?
Start and don’t stop
Once you’ve decided to step in a new direction with your business, start. If you’ve done your planning, there’s no point in dithering. Just start. And if you’re a month into your new direction and you’re not happy with where it’s going, don’t stop. Of course, you should slow down and take stock, see if there is a course correction that you can make that will help move things forward. But don’t stop looking. Don’t assume that because you’re outside your comfort zone, that it’s the wrong path. It might just need a little tweaking. You don’t have to know all the answers (and in fact assuming that you DO is a mistake!) but you do have to be on the search for them.
Don’t give in to the voice that says you can’t
We all have that voice. It’s what prevents us from jumping off cliffs with cement boots on. It’s a good voice and an important one, but when it comes to being uncomfortable, it can also be a major distraction. It’s okay to be uncomfortable at first, when you’re taking a new direction with your business. That voice that’s telling you that you are on unstable ground is just you protecting yourself. You do have to distinguish between discomfort and utter folly but don’t let that voice talk you down from trying something new.
This might seem trite, but here is a lot to be said for the power of positivity. This isn’t about failing and dancing around the carcass of your business, professing to be happy about the turn it took. That’s just pointless. Rather, it’s more about predicting that your endeavours will work out rather than assuming that they won’t. A positive outlook, a dream, hope, all of these things can help with putting yourself in the realm of the uncomfortable. Your outlook won’t get the job done, but it will set you on a better course.
Surround yourself with similar people
Jumping off the cliff won’t seem so bad if you’re not doing it entirely on your own. Having a mentor or coach that sees your vision, who thinks more or less along the same lines and who will hold your hand on the way down can make things a lot easier and, as a result, more likely to succeed.
Put your customer first when planning
A lot of people start a business because they want the lifestyle or because they want to make a lot of money. The satisfaction of their customer is really not their first priority. But it should be. If you want to be sure that your new path or direction, despite your personal discomfort, is the right one, think of you customer. What would they want? What would they respond to? Would they like your new offering? Does it set you apart from others in the same business? Think on these questions as you decide on whether a specific brand of discomfort is worth it or not.
Ultimately, getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is something you can master. You can stretch yourself, even if it’s with baby steps, to new heights and your business can grow because of it. If you don’t, your business will stagnate and you’ll be polishing up your CV. Don’t let go of your dream because you’re afraid. That’s the regret you’ll never get rid of.