Many times in our careers, we take a baby step outside our comfort zone—a small, calculated movement to experiment with something unfamiliar.
In hindsight, it might prove to have been the catalyst for the many amazing things that came after.
But there are also times when those subtle moves just feel wrong somehow. Like they’re not quite enough to really push you out of the cocoon and into a truly game-changing new deal.
You need more of a rocket blast to get you beyond where you’ve been.
We have fewer of those big, flashy, highly pivotal moves—because it takes a lot to literally blow up the way we used to operate.
But like actual rocket launches, you probably don’t make a move before lots of study and clear-headed thinking, talking with close friends and those who’ve made the same journey and a few (or maybe lots of) sleepless nights tossing and turning on your options.
Other times your world changes in a nanosecond—your job disappears, a whale client says buh-bye or a global pandemic wipes out your client base—and you have to follow suit.
So how do you make this kind of big, life changing move as smoothly as possible?
You do two key things: 1) make the decision to change (this is also how you get your power back when the initial decision wasn’t yours) and 2) find a coach or expert to teach you whatever you need to master.
Because even unplanned blasts need some preparation, some initial steps to get you moving in the right direction.
Anders Ericsson, in his book “Peak: Secrets From The New Science Of Expertise” would call this “purposeful practice”.
That includes pushing yourself just enough out of your comfort zone to stretch yourself (push too much and you’ll give up before your breakthrough to the next level). He says it’s not about “trying harder, but trying differently.”
So when should you start evaluating whether it’s time to blast yourself out of your own comfort zone?
Easy answer: Your business is stalled (or tanking).
You’ve created a set point that you just can’t seem to budge: a revenue plateau; a set of bad-fit clients or work assignments; a strategy that doesn’t seem to be working.
Harder answer: You have a big idea that needs a mindset shift. Maybe you’ve been focused on building clients and revenue, but now you’re ready to build your influence and impact beyond your immediate business.
In both cases, it’s hard to know what to change when you’re firmly entrenched in the status quo.
So seek out a fresh perspective from someone who’s at the right stage of the game to teach you—or lead you—to what you need to learn.
Adopt beginner’s mind and ask for help, learn from who—and what—is available to you.
Because if you’re feeling like you’re ready to be different, it’s time to do different.