If Your Goal is Comfort, Success Won’t Be Your Results

By Linda Henman, Ph.D.

Since referrals are the coinage of my realm, I recently asked an executive coaching client, Greg, the CFO of a large company, to refer me to another executive in his organization. Apparently it worked, because a week later one of the vice presidents set up a meeting with me.

When I met the vice president, I asked what had influenced him to choose me as his coach. Without a moment’s hesitation, he replied, “Greg said you really made him uncomfortable.”

“What a stunning endorsement!”  With referral sources like this, who needs detractors?

During our coaching tenure, Greg made significant changes, which resulted in enhanced performance in his CFO role, his positioning to take over the CEO role, and The Business Journal naming him CFO of the year. Greg made success his goal, not comfort.

In addition to coaching executives, I serve as a Master Mentor in Alan Weiss’ Private Roster Mentor Program. In this role I frequently encounter consultants who want to continue to do what they’ve always done but with better results. When I suggest an alternative approach, they often reply, “I’m not comfortable with that,” or “That’s not my thing.” To which I reply, “That’s exactly why you should do it!”

When we start a new exercise program, our bodies respond with soreness and fatigue. In other words, we make ourselves uncomfortable in the short run to reap the rewards of long-term gain of physical fitness. The same principles apply to you business development.  If you don’t make yourself uncomfortable on a regular basis, you are resting on laurels, playing in an easy league, or simply giving up. In other words, you will achieve your goal of comfort, but dramatic growth and success won’t be your results.

To recall the immortal words of Jimmy Dugan in A League of Their Own:It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

Words that should give us all comfort.


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