It is natural for us to always look for the easiest path through life. It seems so much more pleasant in the short run if we can avoid struggles and conflict. However, hardship and struggle are key ingredients for personal growth. Without these ingredients, it is hard to see any substantial personal or business growth.
As Gary Keesee says, “If you are not doing the hardest thing you have ever done, then you are not growing.”
Looking at all of the amazing, humanity-altering discoveries and inventions made over the last century, I am not aware of even one that was made by a person who sat around all day shooting the breeze, drinking coffee or playing video games.
However, I can give many examples of people who embraced challenges, hardships and struggles and created world changing technologies, products and businesses like; antibiotics, vaccinations, microchips, X-rays, MRIs, SpaceX rockets, personal computers, the Internet, iPhones, Google, Amazon, and the list goes on.
These things have all impacted the world we live in but they were not created without extreme struggle and hardship.
Challenging Yourself Has Many Advantages
Even if you don’t create the next Facebook or medical breakthrough, challenging yourself has many advantages. For example, it:
- Forces you to step out of your comfort zone and grow into a better person
- Makes you more valuable in the marketplace and allows you and your business to charge more for your innovative and ground breaking products and services
- Gives you more self confidence
- Opens up your eyes up to a world of new opportunities that you didn’t know existed
- Connects your current worldview with new world views resulting in an infinite number of new ideas for products and services
- Inspires your employees and coworkers and all those around you to step up their game. This creates an organization of growth minded people!
- Can create a buzz of energy and excitement inside your business and foster a culture of innovation
14 Easy Ways to Move Out of Your Comfort Zone and Improve Yourself and Your Business
If these advantages have inspired you to step out and embrace a challenge, the opportunities for challenges are infinite! If you don’t know exactly where to start, you could start with one or more of the following:
- Take a class that will challenge you intellectually in any area of interest
- Take a class that will challenge you in an area that you might not have any interest
- Take an exercise class or do something that challenges you physically
- Join toastmasters and do a few public speaking events
- Write a short EBook on a topic in which you are knowledgeable. Send it around to your Facebook friends and LinkedIn contacts
- Start a blog in an area of interest
- Sit on the board of your favorite charity or community group
- Commit to reading two books a month and have an accountability partner hold you to the commitment
- Do an activity that you have been scared to do but always thought would be amazing: downhill mountain biking, skydiving, surfing, snowboarding, kayaking, etc.
- Step through a product development class
- Take a business start-up class (Sam Altman and Y-Combinator)
- Lead a fundraising or charity focused initiative
- Begin developing an idea or product that you have been thinking about for years
- Take four weeks and run your business remotely from a foreign country while integrating or interacting with the culture you are visiting. It’s amazing what you can learn and the ideas you will get by operating in a place you are unfamiliar with.
Spend some time this week and define a challenge that you and/or your business need to embrace. Step into the challenge, learn relentlessly and take action boldly. Be the example your business needs to empower employees and create an enduring culture of growth, continuous improvement and innovation.
What challenges are you going to take on this week?
“A company that empowers its people to think critically, question relentlessly, and act boldly is by default an innovative company, the kind that will own the future.” Lisa Bodell
Leave a comment below on the challenges you want to conquer.
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Watch for the upcoming release of my two new books: 12 Steps to Business Transformation and The Thinking Business System