Think about the last time you learned a new skill, grew significantly or created something amazing. How did it feel? Were you comfortable doing it? Chances are, you experienced some discomfort or even fear at some point during that process.
I’ve noticed over the years that people (including me) experience the biggest career (and life) highlights doing things that they didn’t think they wanted to do at first … maybe even the things they dreaded. In fact, I recently had a moment exactly like this.
Our family was at the beach for a weekend recently and on day one I promised my boys that I would boogie board with them. I delayed and delayed, staying in my comfortable (and dry) spot on the beach reading a book. On our last day at the beach, I was reminded of my promise by my middle son and even though I really didn’t want to get wet, look ridiculous, or embarrass myself in front of the boys, I finally dove in. It turns out that I wasn’t as terrible as I thought I would be and after about 15 minutes (with my 17year old coaching me a lot) I finally caught a wave. I now have some pretty amazing memories with my kids… and a new skill for next time I’m at the beach. I was willing to put comfort aside and take a bit of a risk.
This was a small and minor example, but indicative of something that can really hold us back. Are there places in your work or career where things are SUPER comfortable? Flowing easy without you really needing to think about things? Chances are you are not actively growing in those places right now. You may be on auto-pilot. While that can be okay at times, it may be a sign that there is an opportunity for you … to build stronger relationships, to accelerate progress, to deepen your skill set, to create a breakthrough.
If you are a leader, think about how you can create a work environment in which people are willing to get uncomfortable and be vulnerable. These are building blocks for growth and will really create a foundation for development of your employees and the team!