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Time To Get Uncomfortable

By Gary Rich on Oct. 31, 2011 in Leadership Bites

Lifting weights is uncomfortable, so is running up hills, dieting, studying for a calculus exam, learning a new language or discussing your fears with a therapist. I can’t think of anything we do that facilitates our individual growth or development that’s as comfortable as sitting around in familiar surroundings, doing the usual.

Sadly, developing leadership skills is no different than any other kind of growth. Each time you’re in an uncomfortable new business situation you’re likely growing. If you’re looking to eradicate that uncomfortable feeling and to finally achieve a point where you know exactly what to do and are completely in control, you may be slippers-and-robe comfortable, but realize that you’ve also ceased becoming a better leader. It should only be a place to catch your breath before going forward to challenge the status quo.

At the end of a great work out we feel pleased with ourselves for having the discipline to give ourselves a decent “butt-kicking” Think about your job the same way. Take a look at the things on your to do list that you’ve been avoiding because they unsettle you. Dive into the part of your business that you know you should understand better than you do: meet the angry clients, the shareholders that lost money. Whether it’s commending great performance or confronting poor performance, mingling with the troops or studying the details in isolation if it feels uncomfortable, ask yourself why, then do what’s best for you. Growth happens when we are operating at the margin of our competence, not in the safe zone, or as Zorba the Greek said: Embrace the catastrophe.


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