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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 28, 2020 • Issue 20:12:02


Get comfortable with discomfort

At a time when many of us are doing strategic planning and goal setting for the new year, I've been thinking about what happens when someone does everything right—writing down appropriate, measurable, attainable goals; mapping out the small steps needed to reach the goals; and setting deadlines for achieving them—but nevertheless comes up short when the deadline arrives.

For some folks, this happens year after year, and it's deflating. Are there hidden flaws in their plans? Are they lacking support? Did their motivation flag? These and other factors are likely at play, but I think the primary culprit is an urge toward comfort over progress. This hampers people across the spectrum from low achievers to spectacular successes. The lure of comfort, the drift toward the familiar holds more sway over us than we generally like to admit.

Personable merchant level salespeople who break the ice with prospects in person or on the phone every day—landing plenty of new accounts in the process—might appear to be stepping outside of their comfort zones. But are they? What if connecting with prospects is the one thing on the job they are most comfortable doing? And what if the new technology their ISO just rolled out mystifies them, but they brush it off, because, well, they're signing accounts, aren't they? If so, they aren't getting out of their comfort zones, and their failure to keep their knowledge current is limiting their success.

When comfort isn't good

So, when making plans for the new year, let's embrace the notion of getting comfortable with discomfort. This will require that we take a hard look at our behavior and feelings and be honest about what we're shying away from, perhaps because we don't notice, think we can work around an issue or believe it doesn't really matter that much. One way to start this process is to identify three things that help you feel comfortable but might hinder you from realizing your goals.

What could they be? Maybe you spend an hour on social media every evening; you enjoy the interaction and are comfortable on the various platforms. Your goal, however, is to start a new business, and you never seem to have enough time to make it happen. Or perhaps your lunch three times a week is fat-laden nachos from a drive-through QSR instead of a fresh salad you've made yourself. You savor the nachos, but your goal is to be more vibrant so you can reach more prospects in a day and spend time in nature afterwards, too.

You see where I'm going with this, right? See if you can identify comforts that are so habitual that you haven't even considered how they might be holding you back. Your spending is one area to look into. Where is your money going? If you make a lot impulse buys that delight you in the moment when you really want to save money for a down payment on a home, isn't it time to embrace a little discomfort for a greater cause?

So let's all take a good look at our "comforts" now and commit to letting go of those that don't serve our goals, so we can soar higher than ever in 2021. end of article

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