They say the biggest enemy of a great life is a good life, which is accurate in many ways regardless of from what perspective you look at it. As humans, we are creatures of comfort. Typically we have been programmed by society during our younger years only to fix what is broken, and to just work hard enough to be comfortable. But perhaps, working to be comfortable is the biggest problem we’ve created for ourselves.
Think about your growth through your regular job. The more you work and the higher your title and salary, the bigger your house, the nicer your car, and the higher your debt. In most cases, you are in the exact same financial position with just more stuff.
Perhaps it is because we are trained to want continually to improve our comfort rather than push our limitations. Most of our goals are often focused on comfort as well, like buying things such as a bigger home, a nicer car, better clothes, etc. Very rarely are our personal goal based around learning something completely new that has no relevance to our immediate acquisition of more comfort and money.
When owning your own business, this becomes the biggest obstacle that typically kills many of today’s small business owners. They work just enough to make enough money to provide, rather than to keep growing their business. The goal of being self-employed is not to just trade time for money without having to answer to a boss. The goal is to create residual value, especially in the business itself, which requires taking things significantly past the stage of being comfortable.
So how can you create change that leads to further growth, rather than comfort?
1) Set a goal that is not focused on a reward.
Goal setting is usually something those that seek comfort do, as goal setting itself is done to ensure you measured up to your own expectations and ambitions. The best way to get out of that comfort zone and keep pushing the envelope of being great – not being good – is to set goals that have nothing to do with revenue and everything to do with your vision for the business.
I can remember years ago, my goals in one of my businesses, VIP Motoring, was to break the $3 million in revenue mark, which we broke pretty quickly, and then plateaued for two years. It wasn’t until I changed my views on my goals and chose to create goals like, “have a strong market share in Europe and Dubai,” that we broke past the $10 million mark.
The idea that the goal wasn’t focused on my comfort or the rewards I would attain based on my accomplishments, but was a goal focused on the overall growth of our brand, is what ultimately led to more rewards anyways. The uncomfortable part for me was the lack of network support in those countries which made me believe that creating market share there would be as hard as starting a business all over again.
2) Change your environment.
In the earlier years of my life, my environment played a very large role in my growth; with my continued focus on growing within my existing environment, I forgot how small my environment was. While it feels good to be a big fish in a small pond, it also makes you more complacent and lazy. Once you officially become the biggest fish, it usually puts you in a state of maintaining rather than growing.
By changing your environment regardless that it is from a location standpoint or the entourage you form around you, you force yourself to adapt once more by being the smaller fish in a larger pond. You are ultimately forced to grow to keep up with your surroundings.
Personally, I like to change my home location to an entirely different state every 5-7 years, to experience and learn how things work elsewhere, allowing my mentality to grow and adapt rather than become satisfied with being that big fish.
One of the qualities of being a real entrepreneur is having the ability to react and adapt to change with haste, to the point where you are eventually ahead of the change and no longer reactive it. By creating discomfort and change for yourself, you will always push yourself harder to be able to compete.
Once you reach the top, it is only a matter of time before someone else outworks you simply because they still have the hunger, and you have become full.