“Steve, I encourage you to check-out one of our Yoga classes,” DeAngelo, my trainer urged. “I think you’ll like it, and it will support the work we’re doing in the gym.”
A few months later, I slipped into a Saturday morning Yoga class at Sky Fitness. The only open space was upfront in the middle of the room. Ellice, the instructor, welcomed me, and yes, I was uncomfortable.
THE PEOPLE COIN
There are two sides to “the people coin.”
Heads: your capacity to grow, to change, and to get better
Tails: your desire for comfort. (Which explains, in part, why it’s so easy to get stuck)
You must travel the Next Level Journey to engage change, expand your influence, and enjoy your breakthrough performance. In summary, there are three zones:
1. The Comfort Zone plays off your commitment to comfort and resistance to change.
2. The Safety Zone recognizes “the risk,” but you go for it.
3. The Growth Zone engages your ability and willingness to learn and change.
Opposition to change limits both your personal growth and your team’s performance.
It’s easy to settle for the “status quo” because of a bias to keep things the same. The familiar feels safe; it’s what you know, so there’s less self-doubt, stress, or tension. It’s comfortable.
If you expect a breakthrough to Next Level performance to be comfortable — individually or for your team — you’re in for a big surprise.
The Comfort Zone appeals to your desire to stay comfortable.
MAKING OF A COMFORT ZONE
Comfort Zones can develop as a result of success.
At one point in your development journey or business growth, your goal was to move from Here to There. Something had to change — a behavior, a process, or the structure — to improve performance.
Over time, what was once a challenge became familiar and comfortable. Your job became less risky. Congratulations, let’s celebrate.
Let’s face it; you’re good. Your behavior is helpful and unselfish, and you can influence people to get things done. The new process works. The revised structure is supportive of high performance. You’ve navigated the changed required to get better.
So, how does success evolve into a Comfort Zone? There are three steps:
Step 1: COMPETENCE. Exercising your ability and willingness to learn and change has paid off. Your expertise is equal to the challenge. You now know what you’re doing. You’re terrific. Which leads to step two.
Step 2: CONFIDENCE. You get it and know what to do. You feel self-assured as you appreciate your abilities and bask in your success. You believe you can rely on yourself, on the skills that got you to your next level. You’re not only good, life is also good. Your team is following your lead.
Step 3: CONTROL. Your competence and confidence have created a winning season. You not only believe in yourself, but you’ve also proven you know how to get it done. Until right on cue, the next disruption enters the Story. Now, pressure mounts as your role, the market, or your business changes. You are promoted. There’s a new player in town, or an unexpected turnover happens, or an emerging leader challenges the status quo. The unexamined disruption cultivates fear, anxiety, and doubt. So, what better time to let your control freak loose. Surely the exercising of your power to direct people’s behavior or course of events is the answer.
Unwittingly, the mixture of competence and confidence and control creates a new Comfort Zone.
Welcome back to Stuckville.
PLANNING YOUR BREAKTHROUGH
Are you willing to get uncomfortable?
Jim Rohn speaks to the commitment of successful people when he writes, ”Successful people do what unsuccessful people are not willing to do. Don’t wish it were easier; wish you were better.”
A Stuckville manager asks, “Why should I change how I communicate; it got me here?”
Where the Next Level Leader acknowledges, “I got here in spite of myself,” and asks, “how can I communicate better?”
A Stuckville department head tells talented people how to do everything and denies the “micro-manager” reputation.
Where the Next Level Leader sets clear expectations and delegates the responsibility allowing for innovation from the front-line.
Like a Next Level Leader, you can celebrate a victory and discern when it’s time to develop new competencies and gain the confidence to meet disruption. Performance improvement happens as you release control, sets expectations, and lead your team.
To set the stage for your breakout from Stuckville, remember these realities:
- What got you Here, won’t get you There.
- While Here is to be celebrated, There is greater.
- To get There (to get better), something has to end, or you’ll be stuck Here.
Competence fuels confidence, which over time, can slide into status quo performance.
Disruption offers you the opportunity to improve get better. Whether the structure, a process, or a behavior, improvement requires leading change.
Disruption calls for a new level of competence and confidence.
CREATE SPACE TO THINK
Since stepping into my first Yoga class, I now go every week. As my competence and confidence grow, I’m reaping some of the benefits of Yoga. Having stepped into the Growth Zone, I discovered another instructor and enjoy Shannon’s Yoga class, too.
Disruption is a call to move to the next level; it speaks of the opportunity to get better.
The Next Level Journey is the work of a lifetime. To improve your performance, you must get comfortable with being uncomfortable again. When you hear the call to change and see the potential of getting better, it’s time to get uncomfortable and lead the way.
What’s going on in your Story? Where do you feel stuck? Where are you frustrated?
Where are you, underperforming?
Where would you like to get better?
Where are you uncomfortable right now?
What must change for you to write the Story you want to tell?
How can I help you write that Story?
Alternatively, you can check-out the following:
- Resources for your Next Level Journey — my blog or my books, The Journey, The People Project or Leaders Create Space
- Explore my Leadership Coaching Programs
Here’s to your Next Level Journey,
Transform disruption into clarity for life and work!