This evening I got this email from an old colleague of mine who lost his job. The reason he wrote the email was to tell his old friends that he was able to get a great job – even in these tough times – and he is having a great time – professionally and personally.
That was a great story. Something most of us can relate to. We don’t like to get outside our zone of comfort. And yet, when we get kicked out of it, we often find that we can do even better in the new circumstances.
We build our zones of comfort and like staying there because that is where we can drive most value – or so we perceive. We believe we are an expert and have experience in that area. But above all, we hate change. There is nothing like getting “settled down” that makes us feel that we “know what we are doing”. (BTW, as an aside, we all believe that we personally love change – it is just that everybody else in the world hates changes).
I am sure you can think of a few cases in your life when you got pushed out of that zone – suddenly and definitely not following your calendar. And most of the time you look back and say – Wow, that was the best thing ever happened to me. I learnt lot more. I now understand lot more. No doubt, when the change happened we felt very uncomfortable, to say the least.
Of course, we do not want the environment to create the changes for us always. The trick is how do we incrementally but surely, keep pushing ourselves outside our zone of comfort? So as not to let us settle down. So as to make sure we are learning continuously and adapting to the environment. So as to keep our reflexes and judgment as sharp as ever.
I suspect it is tougher than it sounds. But I guess the best leaders make a practice of pushing themselves beyond their current “boxes” – so to speak.