I recently began working on a project that I have been putting off for over a year. I have had many excuses for avoiding it, most of which weren’t very good excuses.
But, excuses don’t need to be good ones when you’re looking for them.
This particular project involves professional videographers and studio time. One of the reasons I’d long given myself for putting off this kind of venture is that I didn’t want to waste anyone’s time by not being sure of what I wanted to do whenever I did step into the studio.
Of course, it eventually dawned on me that until I began getting in there and hitting roadblocks, I would never actually figure out the things I need to know.
I also realized that I was ignoring the advice that I am constantly giving others.
Mistakes and setbacks are not the enemies of success. They are part of the success process.
If your aversion to temporary frustration and discomfort is greater than your commitment to reaching your goals, you are all but guaranteeing those goals will always be out of your reach.
After getting in the studio and messing up a bit, I became fired-up as things began clicking.
It is easy to forget how exciting learning from initial mistakes can be when you avoid situations outside of your comfort zone.
It’s something of which many of us are guilty. We reach a certain level of competence in our jobs, become comfortable with what we know and do every day, and go through the (productive to this point) motions.
The problem with that behavior is that it relies on our situations, our industry, our employers, and our customers remaining static.
Staying sheltered in our comfort zones gives the illusion of being safe.
Most of us have an innate drive to avoid situations that make us nervous or increase our chances of failing.
I get it. It’s practically a human survival instinct to avoid situational ineptitude.
However, it is the overcoming of initial fears and developing of new skills that tend to become the most motivating factors of our jobs.
Maybe the only thing as motivating as personally improving our own skillsets is being a person who helps others leave their own comfort zones to improve theirs.
How are you – and your team - going to break out of your own comfort zones this month?
I will admit to often being as susceptible as the next guy is to finding people I agree with to be just all kinds of smart.
When a person says or writes something you already believe…that person sounds like a genius. Following that logic, so are you.
It’s a happy place when we’re all feeling like geniuses.
That said, I found myself practically shouting “Preach!” and “Thank You!” during a basketball practice with my son’s team this week.
My friend, Frank, is a seasoned basketball coach who has worked with players of all talent levels, from kids just picking up the game to AAU guys heading off to play college ball.
He has been nice enough to volunteer once a week to work with our guys, and it’s been educational and motivational for all… including me.
Beyond the specific drills and conditioning they work through, the mental training he introduces into practices impresses me. At the latest practice, he had the boys work on developing new offensive moves while being closely guarded by defenders.
He stopped after a minute or so to tell them, “This is called practice. This is where you can look bad. All of you are avoiding things you aren’t good at so you don’t look silly. This is the place to look silly! Now, work on what you are supposed to and stop trying to hide what you can’t do… because you won’t be able to hide that stuff in a real game!”
I’m not sure if I raised my hand to testify when he said that…but I can’t promise that I didn’t.
A little later, he said something that actually did make me laugh out loud, because I’ve said some version of it more times than I can remember.
He told the boys, “Look, if I’m getting on you, it’s because I know you can do better. If a coach isn’t talking to you, he has given up on trying to help you. He’s not going to waste his time. If I’m getting on you, it’s because I know you have potential.”
It is common for many of us to resist coaching occasionally. We tire of being challenged.
Yet, many of the same people value and respect coaches and trainers who push them to their maximum potential for sporting competitions.
Our careers are arguably the most important competitions in which we compete.
People who care enough to coach and develop us within our jobs greatly improve our prospects for winning careers.
How coachable will you allow yourself to be today?