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I recently presented to women business owners at The National Association of Women Business Owners chapter in New York City (NAWBO-NYC). The women were smart, talented, and driven high achievers from a variety of industries – finance to business strategy to multi-media production. Some CEOs of their own companies, and some working other full time jobs as they prepare to launch their own businesses.
As I talked about strategies for better juggling work and life and balancing the change in our lives, we all found common ground in recognizing that change and growth are critical to our success. We must adapt and innovate.
We can juggle more – with grace and ease – when we find the right pattern, or mix of priorities. This takes time and exploration of new, creative combinations, and can result in discomfort until we build the skill to master our new pattern.
But…Magical things begin to happen when we get outside of our comfort zones.
So, I taught the women of NAWBO how to juggle 3 balls – a process that, in the beginning, can get you feeling awkward, uncoordinated, doubtful, and uncomfortable! I’ve found that we internalize ideas on a deeper level when we experience them physically.
Here’s what happens as we push through the discomfort of learning something new…
5 Reasons To Get Out of Your Comfort Zone:
1. Develop Patience.
Attempting something new can be humbling. We’re forced to be patient with ourselves as we stumble, make mistakes, pick up and try again. Patience with ourselves translates to patience with others, and leads to improved business and personal relationships. We gain empathy and become more tolerant of our own flaws as well as those of others.
Remember – the expert in anything was once a beginner. Frustration disappears when we acknowledge that results are cumulative over time.
2. Become a Better Leader, Coach, Teacher.
To grow our businesses, we must build a strong team and learn to be an effective leader. In addition to becoming more patient, the discomfort of learning something difficult reminds us HOW to break a process down into steps. Our big vision can be broken down into goals, projects, strategies, and actions. We’re then better equipped to communicate tasks clearly to those we lead. We can develop a step by step process and empower our teams to achieve by demonstrating how skill, knowledge, and experience is developed over time.
Great leaders don’t tell you what to do. They show you how it’s done.
3. Strengthen Interpersonal Bonds.
Building a strong, bonded team will lead to greater successes. Laughter and feeling incompetent together can be an incredible bonding experience! The best team bonding exercises level the playing field with an activity in which everyone is a beginner. Participants fumble through learning something new together, and that process requires them to support, challenge, and encourage each other. They bring different perspectives and backgrounds that can help to generate new solutions.
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford
4. Learn to Think Differently.
Stimulating the mind and body regularly allows the creative juices to flow, and we generate more new ideas. When we break out of our existing routines or patterns, we find new connections. Exercising our creative problem solving muscles helps us to innovate in our businesses.
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” – Albert Einstein
5. Feel Refreshed and Rejuvenated.
Learning something new requires intense, concentrated focus. We can’t be thinking about that email, unfinished report, or dinner menu! Similar to meditation, other thoughts and worries fade into the background. When we tune out distractions and become fully absorbed in the moment, we gain clarity and are left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready to tackle new challenges.
“We must always change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves, otherwise we harden.” – Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
The NAWBO-NYC participants agreed that getting out of their comfort zones was a good thing. They talked about learning to let go and be flexible, being challenged to think in a new way, finding it easier when working together, and embracing the power of practice.
But don’t just take my word for it!…
Thank you to the women of NAWBO-NYC and Grace Institute (our host venue) for having the vision to try something different!
Leave a comment below and let me know WHAT you do to get out of your comfort zone and WHY you do it.