“Does getting out of your comfort zone have an impact on success?”
This is the question I often ask myself.
Right from my earliest memories, through early childhood, into my teens, as a young adult and even now, I have consistently been forced or gone willingly out of my comfort zone.
As a young child my upbringing was less than ideal. Growing up with 4 sisters and 3 brothers our lives were filled with challenges. With physical and emotional abuse we spent our lives walking on egg shells until we were able to leave home, for most of us we didn’t stay under the family roof much past our 16th birthdays.
I was a reasonably talented footballer and had an opportunity to go overseas at the age of 14, going to both England and Argentina allowed me to “get out”.
The thing is, at home I was forced out of my comfort zone daily - in fact I don’t think a comfort zone even existed, so I jumped out of one non-comfort zone into another and spent a long time dealing with life, loneliness, being a teenager and struggling to be a professional footballer in foreign countries where I couldn’t even speak the language.
On my return to Australia I spent years trying to resurrect a football career, trying to become a young adult without any guidance from a father or a mother or a mentor. I made mistakes, lots of them; I got myself into my fair share of trouble.
So as far back as I can remember I was always in and out of my comfort zone, “it was almost normal” complete with all the gut wrenching feelings that come along with it. For me this is one of the biggest contributing factors in my success as a businessman and in some ways, I would be afraid of it being any different in case it altered who I am today.
When you are out of your comfort zone you often feel anxious and scared - scared of failure, of what people will think of you, of how you’ll perform, of what decisions you will make, if you will be liked…Lots of emotions and negativity that go on within the conversation you have with yourself in your own mind.
In the words of the great John Maclean, “you need to change the conversation” - that internal dialog that goes on in your head that tells you “NO you can’t” when you need it to say YES I can. When this happens I really believe we start to work out what we are really capable of and success will start to flow in all parts of your life.
In recent times, two of my four sons, Jacob and Campbell, have experienced being out of their comfort zones. Jacob was playing div 3 football and was scoring 60+ goals a season, clearly in his comfort zone. He had an opportunity to trial for an elite football club, the conversation in his head was a clear NO - there was no way he was going to go! It was going to take him way out of his comfort zone and he was going to have to prove his ability. Would he be good enough? Would he fail? Would he be liked?... some of the questions he didn’t want to know the answers to. Well, he went to the trial very distressed, trialled, played well, got selected and walked off with a massive smile on his face.
He had just found out a little bit more of what he is capable of.
One of my most loyal and trusted staff members, who is now an integral partner in Nickaz and its future, started with me as an 18 year old fresh out of school answering my phones.
Alison Meurant’s journey has taken her through every role within our company and as soon as she looked comfortable in a role I challenged her again in a brand new one, in her first 8 years she has rarely been in her comfort zone here at Nickaz.
I think this is the reason she is already, at the age of 26, so respected by all our clients, the construction industry and anyone who has the pleasure of doing business with her. Again it’s clear to me that a big part of Alison’s hidden learning has been learnt out of her comfort zone.
So for us in business, WHAT ARE WE CAPABLE OF and HOW DO WE FIND OUT?
I’m convinced that if we don’t put ourselves out there, take some risks we will never know.
0416 024 369
Board Member, The John Maclean Foundation, jmf.com.au
Address: Suite 101, 22 Brookhollow Avenue, Baulkham Hills NSW 2153
Phone: 02 9659 3387
Wesbite: www.nickaz.com.au (currently under construction)