How comfortable is your comfort zone?
"Before you begin a thing, remind yourself that difficulties and delays quite impossible to foresee are ahead... You can only see one thing clearly, and that is your goal. Form a mental vision of that and cling to it through thick and thin." Kathleen Norris, Writer
I am often asked how I cope with driving 60,000 miles a year, when most of those miles come at the end of a busy day working hands on with a client. The answer is simple: I love what I do and therefore don’t notice the miles.
I’m lucky, in fact very lucky, that I love what I do. Yes, I have days that are less than ideal or perfect; however, I have a fundamental belief that a positive mind set can overcome most things and definitely more so than a negative mind set will.
I try hard not to let the less than perfect days get in the way, and never carry a poor day in to the next one. That would mean getting up in the morning on the following day and “putting on misery”; what would be the point?
I also try my best to maximise the time I have in the car, thinking about and reflecting on my day to ensure we have maximised the outputs for the client. All that thinking goes into my feedback notes back to the client and, of course, supports my own on-going development.
I set goals every year, some of them are set over three years or more, but I have mini goals underpinning these that allow progress to be made continually. It is constant and on-going work to achieve those. Along with delivering remarkable outcomes for my clients, achieving my goals is what keeps me motivated. This is underpinned by using the time in the car to listen to audio books, mostly biographies and motivational/inspirational pieces; always looking for new ideas, a new way to work or approach a problem, and never just to pass the time.
The day I stop loving what I do (if that ever comes), it will be time to stop and do something else. Nothing will make me want to drive 60,000 miles if I do not love what I am doing. The hard part at this stage is imagining what that “something else” might be; however, what I do know is that if/when I reach that point, I will not press on doing something I no longer love.
This is a point Mrs M and I have made to our children any number of times – you must love what you do or it will be all slog and little/no pleasure. We have encouraged them to explore every opportunity that comes their way and to try and avoid prejudging what they will and won’t enjoy. Above all else, the message remains to get outside their comfort zone and turn what they believe is impossible at that point in time, into something else achieved.
There is a fantastic quote from Dale Carnegie, who is a motivational expert: "If you want to conquer fear, don't sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”
Why did I select that quote? Put simply, in all aspects of life perception is your own reality. In other words, until something comes along which changes your perceptions and beliefs they will remain exactly as they are. In delivering any sort of change you will therefore need to change mindset (perceptions and beliefs), and in all likelihood you will need to overcome any fear you may have of change.
Now, I hear you ask, how can anyone be frightened of change? To a point you are right. If, for example, you walked through the door tonight to be told you had just won £5,000,000 on the lottery you would welcome the change; however, for most people confronted with any change, they fear having to move outside their existing comfort zone and/or work practices and will do everything they can to resist – even when they can see the change is right for them.
If you still don’t believe me, look around you for people who love what they do. I promise you they are out there and not all of them are millionaire sports people who get paid to do things most of us would, and often do, for nothing. Many of the people you see loving what they do are low paid, many volunteer and some pay to achieve the opportunity to love, even just for a moment, what they do.
Now I don’t believe Tom Kitchin, the youngest winner of a Michelin star and owner of one of my favourite restaurants, in my home City of Edinburgh - The Kitchin, reads my blog; however, I live in hope that one day I get the chance to cook just one dish alongside him.
Tom clearly cooks with passion and a clear love of what he does. I also discovered that his team start at 07.00 on a Saturday and finish well after 11.00 at night the same day – that’s one shift. Yes they get breaks, but what a shift! Clearly he has people with the same passion and love for food working alongside him. Some will no doubt go on to follow in his footsteps and open their own restaurants, which means at some point moving outside of the comfort zone they work in now. That will ultimately mean going on to do something they love and conquering any fear they have of making the break.
There are numerous examples in everyday life of people with a passion and love for what they do. If that isn’t you, I encourage you to take time out and reflect. Look at your values (if you need a list to work from you will find that here: http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2004/11/list-of-values/ and work out what’s important to you. Get a list of 15 and focus down to that 5 that must be met every day and you can start to see how many/few are being met in what you do.
From there the rest is down to you. There is nothing to be gained in staying in “comfort” when the reality is anything but being comfortable. Indeed, I have a close friend who recently lost their job. After careful consideration, they decided to head down the tribunal route. They didn’t realise that it takes a fair bit of time to reach that point, which of course meant in the meantime they started to explore options for working. The result was by the time they took all the evidence to a lawyer, they were already settled in to a new role that they loved way more than the role they left. Result? The lawyer advised that while they would be likely to win at tribunal, as they are already in a new role, earning more and suffered minimal loss of earnings, there was nothing to be gained. Better to go and demonstrate to the old employer what they missed out on, demonstrate how much they now enjoy (love) the new role by being even more successful.
On writing about them just now I made a quick call to be told, the old employer “did me the biggest favour ever, as without that impetus I would never be doing what I am now doing – and LOVING IT!” In fact, their philosophy is that everything happens for a reason, even the bad things; and whilst it might not seem so at the time, good things will come from the bad. This person is a living example of that.
Commit today to making your personal change. Prepare yourself and be ready to overcome the obstacles you are likely to face.
Having the skills is not an issue! However, you must have the passion, drive, burning determination and the ability to bounce back when you meet problems and obstacles. Everything else can be learned and practiced. You will also learn from your mistakes and failures along with way – but these must not defeat you.
On committing to make the change, as a minimum define what is missing from your current role. Then move on and spend time defining your ideal role, before you go out and find it. Don’t settle for what appears comfort, when there is so much more on offer if you break free and go find what you love.
If you are thinking of developing an at scale provider organisation, or about delivering any form of change, or you would like to know more about any of the business cases we have for service provision, and would like more information on how BW Medical Accountants can support you, or to arrange to speak to one of our experts please contact email@example.com or call 0191 653 1022.
Additionally, if you should have questions for us please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer these within the blog.