Why Being Too Comfortable is Every Leader’s Enemy

Unfortunately, for most people, pain is the greatest teacher. People don’t begin to make changes until they really get uncomfortable.” – Dr. Richard Moss

At times, it seems to me as if everyone in the world is rushing around trying to achieve or go somewhere – lose weight, make more money, land that deal, get the promotion, buy a bigger house, take that vacation, etc.. We are busy, busy, busy and yet all that busyness doesn’t always result in achievement of our goals. What’s getting in our way?

A friend of mine told me that she started working out more often when she realized that “A body in motion, stays in motion. A body at rest, stays at rest.” Such a simple, obvious truth. But, when she applied it to her life, she realized that if she could just get started, inertia would carry her through the rest of the way.

Leadership = generating inertia.

I’m just as guilty as the next guy or gal when it comes to saying things like, “I wish I had…” “If only I could…”and then doing absolutely nothing to make it happen. Maintaining the status quo is just so much easier than creating change. I get into a comfortable groove and before I know it, the groove has become a rut that’s going to take herculean strength to haul myself out of.

And that’s the rub.We don’t like where we’re at, but our little (or big) rut seems lined with velvet in comparison to the discomfort of getting ourselves out of it. This is the very definition of a “comfort zone” and it’s the enemy of progress. As leaders, creating progress is our job, which is why we must not allow ourselves to get too comfortable. Ever.

With the words in the sentence above still fresh on the page, I know it’s impossible to never get into a rut. It’s going to happen from time to time, so I suppose we’d better know how to haul ourselves out of it, even when we’d rather lie down and take a nap.

Here are 3 key actions you can take that will help you break out of the addiction to comfort trap…

1. Reaffirm your commitment to learn and grow.Even though you’re in a rut right now, you’ve likely accomplished a lot in your life. None of those accomplishments would have been possible without an inner drive towards growth and knowledge. Sometimes that drive gets buried. But, it’s in there. To uncover it, ask yourself:

Am I willing to truly be uncomfortable, to get out of what feels familiar and safe, to step into the unknown? Where am I most resistant to change right now? How am I favoring comfort over going after what I really want?

2. Recommit to the work required to accomplish your goals.Being committed to your goals is not the same thing as truly committing to the work required to achieve them.

If we’re not actually committed to the work, it’s better to accept that and move on than to keep saying we want something and then not doing what it takes to go after it. Whatever your biggest goals are right now, make sure you’re truly committed doing the work.Then go one step further and ask yourself whyyou want to achieve the goal in the first place. This key question – understanding the reason you want something– is key to staying motivated to the work.

3. Make a list of the things you will need to do to achieve your most important goals. You may not know every step, and that’s ok. In that case, finding out what you need to do becomes a task in and of itself. Pay special attention to those tasks that are a stretch for you and that make you a bit uncomfortable just thinking about them. These are probably not only the most important tasks on the list, they are the things that are going to pull you out of your comfort zone and cause real growth.

As much as possible, pay attention to the times you find yourself making an excuse or resisting something you know is directly tied to the achievement of a goal. Those moments are the times we have a choice: slip back into what’s comfortable or move forward into the unknown.

We all know which option produces the richest rewards.  Without risk there is no achievement.

About Dan Finerty

Dan Finerty is the Director of Marketing at the Mountain West Credit Union Association, a Credit Union champion, a Credit Union Development Educator (CUDE), and an award-winning marketer. Dan has over 14 years of marketing experience in communications, retail, packaged goods, and, of course, Credit Unions. He believes that Credit Unions have an incredible story to tell and works with some of the brightest Credit Union professionals to help promote Credit Unions to the public. Dan holds two Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing and in Management. He is also a swell guy.

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