What makes you uncomfortable? Perhaps it’s cold calling or speaking in front of a group. Maybe you find it hard to talk with strangers at networking events, or you don’t like to write, or … whatever. If you never venture out of your comfort zone, you’re missing lots of opportunities to grow your business.
This week, try challenging yourself to do something uncomfortable. Seek a leadership position in your professional organization. Start a blog. Follow up on a sales lead you uncovered. Make a publicity pitch to the media. Ask to interview an expert in your field. Or propose a joint venture.
The first few times you do something new, it may not feel right to you. It might even be terrifying! Have you ever gone skiing? Your first trip down the Bunny Hill was probably a little scary, and you felt out of control. But when you survived, you did it again. And again. After a while, it was actually fun.
The problem is that too often we don’t try a second or third time (or even a first!) with activities that seem difficult. I was terrified the first time I gave a speech. But I got up and did it anyway. You can, too.
I’ll confess that I chose to give my first speech in front of a roomful of people I was never going to see again, just in case I was really awful. Well, I wasn’t very good, but I wasn’t really awful, either. I lived to speak another day, and I got better. Now, I have given so many speeches, presentations, seminars, etc., that I don’t even get butterflies before getting up to talk to a crowd. Practice makes better, if not perfect.
Take small steps, and reward yourself for the attempt, even if your first attempts aren’t successful. Making ten calls is an accomplishment, even if you haven’t gotten any appointments yet. Reward yourself with a treat, then get back on the phones tomorrow.
Be realistic. Don’t expect that you will get an appointment every time you make a cold call. Don’t expect that your first press release will get you on the cover of Time Magazine. Each marketing activity plants seeds for successes. Some sprout and bear fruit quickly, but others will take time—weeks, months or even years.
Imagine the worst thing that could happen if you do what you fear. Will you be run out of town? Will your family disown you? Will your career or business lie in ruins? Chances are the worst possible result is that you won’t do as well as you’d like, and you might feel a little embarrassed. That’s not fun, but it’s not the end of the world.
Then, think of the good things that can happen. Imagine getting that appointment and making the sale. Imagine people calling, seemingly out of the blue, because they heard about you through the marketing “seeds” you planted. Imagine having the business and success that you’ve always wanted.
Now, go out there and get a little uncomfortable to help it along!