Among the many challenges facing small business owners is the lack of an external support structure. They are like young David’s facing down the giant. However, in business, the giant can be a larger competitor, a vendor, or a desired client. In any case, identifying and executing action can be daunting. As with David, there is no alternative to taking a calculated risk. The most important thing to keep in mind is that a business decision or action is not likely to be a life-threatening event. Many of actions business owners take can be corrected if necessary.
The first step is to understand exactly what a comfort zone is. It is a self-created, self-protective space where conditions are familiar and events are predictable. It is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security and therefore important to remember that in life, the only constant is change. Without change there is only death. In business as in life, if you are not moving forward you are moving backward.
Once you’ve established that a comfort zone is a nice place to visit but not so helpful for a long-term stay, you can begin to plan and choose what action would be most beneficial and most reasonable for you to take. Whether it is making a cold call or a financial investment, it is certain to generate fear and hesitation. The next step is mental preparation.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before venturing out of your zone:
- What do you want to gain? What is your desired result?
- What challenges might you face? How can you manage them?
- What is the absolute worst that can happen? How will it affect you and what will you do to recover?
- How can you break your plan down into smaller, achievable steps so you are not overwhelmed by fear, or a heavy workload?
- How will you acknowledge or celebrate your successes?
Once you’ve executed on your action, you’ve expanded your comfort zones and will find it increasingly easier to take new and powerful actions toward your personal or professional success track.