The 30 second elevator ride with only you and the company CEO. The networking event at which you know absolutely nobody. Getting grilled by potential investors with legitimate questions that you'd hoped wouldn’t come up following a pivotal presentation. Facilitating an 'open dialogue' session and hearing nothing but crickets. Getting scrutinized by a client when, in fact, you were absolutely at fault. The first tee at a company golf tournament where you’re grouped with your biggest prospect…and you’re a horrible golfer.
Do any of the aforementioned scenarios provoke ulcer-eliciting symptoms within you? Or are you one of those ‘go-getters’ who claim to thrive under pressure and such situations do nothing but invigorate and excite you…?
Regardless of your reaction and ability to absorb these ‘pressure moments’, one thing is true: fear is real. We all know exactly what it feels like to do something we ‘know is right’ even if, while doing it, it feels extremely uncomfortable, unnatural or even forced. Are these necessary, everyday scenarios that occur on the road to business success? Why do we put ourselves in these situations? Do you find yourself avoiding such adversity and pursuing the less-arduous alternative?
In business, as in life, often the most memorable, defining moments come from instances where you feel ‘comfortably uncomfortable’. Comfortable in the sense that you know that what you are doing is important and beneficial but uncomfortable in the sense that you’d rather be in your pajamas watching Netflix.
In challenging instances, true character will arise: the 30 second elevator ride with your CEO when she finds out that you managed to complete the company proposal even while you were home taking care of 2 sick kids. The networking event where you connect with the individual who ends up being your most reliable business partner. The investor presentation where you answer tough questions honestly and, in turn, end up gaining not only the financial resources for which you'd originally sought but also trust, credibility and respect from resourceful investors. The silent facilitation session where you learn that shyness is often a characteristic of unchartered wisdom and that, once overcome, ideas become plentiful and innovation is revealed. The confrontational client who turns into your most loyal patron. The mis-hit golf shot that veers into the woods off the first tee followed by your biggest prospect stating, “thank you so much for doing that before I do the same thing!”.
As a company, you must find the courage to seek out opportunities in the places you have come to fear the most. The most influential, uniquely differentiated and timeless components of your company brand will come as a reflection of your response to potentially adverse situations.
These are the situations that build a memorable brand, solidify trust & character, produce heightened customer loyalty and increase the likelihood of establishing a profitable business.
It’s ok to be ‘comfortably uncomfortable’ in business; it is the internal meter which gauges the efforts of successful companies.