Originally published on Entrepreneur Magazine on December 14, 2015.
Let’s get real here. As a business leader, you want constant growth. But how can you expect to experience growth if you’re doing the same things over and over again? How can you experience growth if you’re unwilling to see new possibilities? Failure to do so is what is known staying in the comfort zone.
Research on the topic of the comfort zone is abundant. You can see in a 1908 study by Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson where achievement happens beyond the comfort zone. The research continues in the work of Dr. Brené Brown who is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work for the past 13 years. Brené asks, “Are you willing to choose courage over comfort on a daily basis?”
I was giving a speech to a group of CEOs a few months ago when someone said: “But it is hard to be uncomfortable.” My answer was clear. “Yes, it is hard. But it is worth it.”
To break away from the normal patterns, you have to unlearn certain things so you can see the world with a fresh point of view. It’s kind of like reverting to a beginner’s mindset in some ways. In simplest terms, now is the time to be curious.
It’s about taking that big jump in your business rather than incremental steps. Opportunities are everywhere.
The potential to build new relationships with people who could potentially help you are out there. Are you willing to be muster the courage to put yourself out there? Or will you allow your inner critic to block your path to greatness?
Do yourself a favor and unlearn these three things:
1. Unlearn waiting.
Are you waiting for the referrals and the prospects to find you and your business? For them to discover your greatness? Are you waiting around for potential clients to notice how awesome you are at what you do? If you are continuously waiting for business to find you, then what you actually get are the leftovers — compared with those getting out there and making it happen for themselves.
Keep in mind that leaders create their own world. They do not wait for it to happen for them. Unless you are a big-time celebrity or very well known or have a multi-billion dollar business — then yes, maybe speaking gigs and new clients come to you. However, if you’re reading this, you are probably not one of those people.
Be proactive and go after what you want. Get crystal clear on what you want, and the relationships you need to cultivate to get there.
2. Unlearn blaming.
The reason you don’t have what you want is not because of your education, financial status, network or years in business. It’s because you’re placing blame on someone else. You are externalizing the blame rather than taking responsibility for the success of your own business.
This is yet another thing you want to unlearn, because when you blame, you give something outside yourself the control to change things for you in order to have what you want. The reality is — it’s all you.
Accept that you are 100 percent responsible for your success. Jumping in the driver’s seat here will catalyze a more proactive attitude, a healthy mindset and help you take necessary action steps to move forward.
3. Unlearn selling.
Think about it — most people get their way of selling based off of what they learned from someone else, either done business with or someone whom they admire. Most of the time, they haven’t enhanced those skills. What if you learned selling from someone who was not really good at it (but you thought they were)? Take a moment to reflect and ask yourself if you sound just like them.
Wipe away that old perspective and objectively look at how you are selling. The idea here is to sell in a unique way that allows you to be seen differently. This is exactly what allows you to be seen as an authority or trusted advisor. Likewise, it allows you to position your business to the next level.
When you understand selling in this century, you will add value to the buyer with each step in the process. Selling is not something you do to them, it is something to do for them. Selling is all about the customer experience.
“We’ve become blind to customer service, support, branding, experiences and even product quality. Sixty-percent of a purchasing decision is made before a customer even contacts you.” Scott Stratten, author of Unselling: The New Customer Experience.
When you decide to unlearn these three things, your business can really take off. This is because you are consciously changing your view of yourself and the world around you. That is what will give you the success that you want. That is what will bring you closer to your goals. If you continue to see things the way you have always seen them, how can you expect to see those changes required to get you to where you want to be?
Remember that perception is always a choice. And the world you see around you is of your making.