A couple of weeks ago, I did something I’ve never done before. I went horseback riding through an obstacle course. It was a 3-mile course and 23 obstacles were set up.
My friends and I thought, “No problem. We’ll be able to breeze through this and maybe do it a second or third time.”
Three and-a-half hours later when we arrived back to our trailers, we were exhausted!!
Read more of the sordid tale below (hint – it involves PVC pipes and comfort zones), but first here’s a preview video 🙂
During the obstacle course, it was mentally exhausting to think about what we needed to do to get our horses to do what we wanted.
For me personally, the long PVC pipes were our downfall. And they were in about 8 of the obstacles. Anna Marie (my horse) decided that those PVC pipes were going to eat her alive, and she was going to get away from them as fast as she could.
Now, imagine this… I’m holding the PVC pipe in one hand, have the reins in the other, and I’m trying to get her to stop moving sideways at 100 miles per hour (okay, it probably wasn’t that fast, but it seemed like it!). I’m sure it was quite the sight!
Our other big challenge was just walking up to fences or barrels, for example, so that I could get something from the side of them.
I get back home and decide I’ll be prepared next time (if there is a next time!). I found a long PVC pipe I could use, and I had plenty of things I could step up to sideways. The weather straightened up enough this week that I could finally start practicing.
And do you know what that crazy horse did wrong?
She could have cared less about the PVC pipe. The video is me swinging it back and forth over her head 30 seconds after picking it up.
And we maneuvered me right up to anything I wanted her to.
I was telling my husband and he said, “Well, of course. She’s at home and comfortable here. Try taking that PVC pipe with you when you go riding again and see what happens.”
People are the same way. When we’re in our comfortable environments, we rock it! But when we get plopped down into a situation we’re not comfortable, we may fall apart. This is normal and not a problem if it happens occasionally. To be a successful entrepreneur, however, we need to learn to make peace with a certain level of ‘discomfort’ outside our comfort zone.
Moving outside our comfort zone in business isn’t easy. There is a reason it is called a comfort zone. It’s where things are familiar, you know what to expect, there aren’t many surprises and you are secure.
This isn’t a bad place to be, unless you stay there.
Entrepreneurs who never move outside their comfort zones become static, stop growing and eventually become irrelevant.
The only time we grow is when we challenge ourselves, become a little uncomfortable, learn new things and develop both personally and professionally. Yes, it is hard and requires that you face some fears. But the payoff is new skills, richer opportunities, more confidence and often a better bottom line!
Face Your Fear
Susan Jeffers wrote a book with a title that sums up the comfort zone fear factor. The book is called, “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway.” And this is one of the best ways to deal with the fear that comes when we move away from what is familiar: acknowledge the fear and then move forward, knowing that it will get easier.
Moving into the unknown is easier when you are prepared. Regardless of what your new venture is, equip yourself with whatever knowledge and familiarity that you can beforehand. Granted, you can’t prepare for everything, but do the best you can with what you have. Just make sure you don’t get stuck in the planning and prep stage and never actually start!
Everything is hard before it is easy. What is uncomfortable today will eventually become part of your comfort zone, so you will need to step outside again. This ensures you never become static and irrelevant, but you continue growing and developing, moving closer to your goals.