Stretch your Comfort Zone

This week I have had the privilege to speak in Switzerland at the ‘Brits in Business’ event organised by the Department of International Trade. The three-day trip was very interesting and worthwhile. The feedback from the talk was really positive and the interest shown at the end was very encouraging.

I believe that stretching my comfort zone to see how far I can go in this business is really important. In life you can coast or you can push yourself to see what you can achieve. Having a purpose and striving to achieve that purpose, is a fulfilled and exciting life. You have to put the work in to achieve anything worthwhile but it is worth it.

I came across the following in the Forbes magazine and it makes a lot of sense:

“Business is not rocket science, and success comes from pursuing a basic set of action steps well past your comfort zone – with innovations and perseverance that exceed competitors.

These actions steps include the following:

1. Solidify a positive “can-do” mindset. The mindset I’m looking for is one that sees the business challenge as exciting rather than threatening, setbacks as learning opportunities and a conviction that effort and perseverance will overcome any obstacle. In addition, I look for do-it-yourself confidence that minimizes any dependence on outside help.

2. Document and commit to specific goals. Building a specific business requires a roadmap or business plan, much like programmers needs specifications to keep them on track. Entrepreneurs who have no formalized goals often spend years in a random walk, without realizing they have no way of knowing if they are about to achieve their dream.

3. Gather resources and skills for the journey ahead. The idea to run a marathon pales in comparison to the difficulty of the actual event. Smart entrepreneurs prepare for their business marathon by building a support team around them, honing their skills, and assembling resources in anticipation of stretching their comfort zone beyond past limits.

4. Stop talking and start executing. Action trumps thinking and talking, especially when you are blazing new paths. I hear entrepreneurs who talk about their plans for years, but never get around to starting. You can’t learn much while you are talking. Your best learning will come from mistakes and pivots, so don’t fear those possibilities.

5. Focus your efforts and prioritize tasks. Focus means starting with a single problem and solution, rather than broadening your solution to solve everyone’s problem. Lack of focus only confuses customers and dilutes your scarce time and resources. Practice the Pareto Principle, where 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of the tasks you see.

6. Define and use metrics to measure your progress. You can’t make a correction if you don’t know you are off the path, and you can’t fix what you don’t know is broken. If your comfort zone is relying on gut reactions, it’s time to stretch your understanding of what constitutes customer acquisition cost, margins, pipeline closure rates, and sales Return on Investment.

7. Celebrate small successes with the team. Affirming and rewarding team members for every step forward creates momentum, excitement, and loyalty. Constant team communication and accentuating the positive may be outside your comfort zone as a technologist building a product, but these are key drivers to business success.

Creativity and innovation in building the business are just as important as in building the solution. Yet too many entrepreneurs approach business building as a standardized process that can be learned from textbooks, or outsourced to professionals. If you are not stretching your comfort zone to learn and practice the business principles outlined here, even your best new idea will likely never get to the finish line.”

Principles to make a difference

These few simple principles can make a real difference to the progress you make in your chosen field. Whether you are a business owner or work for an organisation, you can benefit by using some of the principles above. I am certainly stretching my personal comfort zone in many different areas and it may seem painful at the time, but it will pay dividends.

Recently I have had the privilege to speak to year 11 students at an Academy in Birmingham. This was a great experience where I spoke on Mental Resilience to around 60 students at a time for 3 sessions. The feedback from this was excellent and this has made me think about the potential for sharing my knowledge with younger minds.

Inspiring young minds

I have another talk coming up later this month for around 150 sixth form students from an Academy in Nottingham and I can’t wait to inspire these young minds with the knowledge that has helped me build a career in professional basketball and more recently my Mental Resilience business. I have some simple principles and techniques to share which can accelerate the learning process.

Over the past few weeks I have been to Scotland, Poland, Switzerland and all over the UK. This week I am in Wales then Bristol sharing the good news of Mental Resilience. All this is stretching my comfort zone but I love being busy and I also want to know how far I can reach in this business before I finally retire in my 80’s.

3 thoughts for the week:

1. Are you comfortable where you are right now?
2. If you are comfortable and coasting there is another level beyond your comfort zone – do you fancy experiencing it?
3. There is pain beyond your comfort zone but there is also tremendous excitement and fulfilment. Are you prepared to try something a bit stretching which goes beyond your comfort zone and see what it feels like?
Well that’s it for this week and I look forward to sharing some more thoughts with you next week.

Have a lovely weekend and stay positive.

Warm regards


Off the Wall – How to Develop World Class Mental Resilience available here (Special free delivery offer currently available)

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