The Value of Being Uncomfortable in Business

“Get comfortable being uncomfortable” – Jillian Michaels

The subject itself may be a bit disconcerting but ask anyone who is running a successful business / considered as being successful and they will tell you that they were not afraid to being uncomfortable in business and in their life. In fact the discomfort has been one of the main drivers to achieving their vision and goals. Being uncomfortable in business is about pushing yourself and the people that work with you, outside their zone of comfort in order to achieve greater heights. For example – if there is a member of the team who is shy and reticent, a manager would do well by allowing the person to lead a project or be the spokesperson of the team. Professional growth is what everyone aspires for but it cannot come with being uncomfortable in business. To motivate each person in the company it is imperative that leaders put themselves and the employees in situations that will force them to think innovatively and push them to learn and discover. With such a go-getter attitude, the company’s business and profits grow as customers receive great service, high quality products, are more willing to trust the company and also tell others about their positive experiences.

Being uncomfortable in business is when the goals and vision of the company make people nervous. When a company and its people ‘stretch’ themselves and take calculated risks – like coming up with new ideas that seem far-fetched and could most likely be rejected – but the payoffs are often worth it. The impact of being uncomfortable in business can save a company from inching forward slowly and making one giant leap towards unparalleled success. Customers, investors and other stakeholders are ‘fond’ of companies that display passion and sensible fearlessness and are more willing to stand by such companies – success does not take very long to come about then.

Companies that appear motivated and self-driven are run by leaders with such mind-sets and the employees too have similar thought processes. They are not averse to being uncomfortable in business and in fact their best ideas and most bold thoughts come when they are out of their comfort zone. When people are comfortable being uncomfortable in business they are more prone to keeping conflicts at bay and would do whatever it takes to resolve these conflicts. Since they are ‘uncomfortable’ they would much rather focus on improving the quality of their customer service, products, daily operating processes and the work environment. They would aim to create products that don’t exist or don’t seem doable. Being uncomfortable in business is like a stimulant – it does away with lazy habits, improves motivation, fosters creative and harmonious thinking and people are more prone to finding ways to constantly forge ahead. In the business world, these attributes are very hard to beat, given that products and pricing are almost at par in most companies and such differentiations are what take customer service to supreme levels, which in turn insures that customers make the company more profitable and work with it to ensure success.

As we discussed, a happy and motivated workforce is a highly efficient and productive one and have greater ability to working well even when being uncomfortable in business is the norm of the company. Their ability to relate to and power through discomfort and crisis is enhanced and the challenge of these situations makes them perform even better. Such people are happier at home too, which completes the cycle of then being happy at work. When they move out of their comfort zone, they are more likely to want to succeed since it is hard to be in a place that one is unfamiliar with. Any company would benefit both short term and long term from such ‘daredevilry’ and dedication and the customers, investors and other stakeholders of the company would be more willing to invest their resources in such a company. Given the highly competitive business environment, this trust and willingness from external sources is hard to come by and the company that can create this will be poised for success.

Being uncomfortable in business is about asking oneself some tough questions – the ‘what if’ and ‘why not’ questions. No one likes rejection and companies face this often – however, the willingness to being uncomfortable in business allows companies to acknowledge this fact and yet forge ahead by taking calculated risks. They are completely aware of the worst case scenarios but are unafraid to try. The reason for their readiness to being uncomfortable in business is because they explore, investigate, inquire and examine the myriad possibilities before jumping into anything. Being uncomfortable in business does not imply being blind to the issues and problems that could possibly arise, it simply means acknowledging that the stumbling blocks will be there but being ready to face and overcome them. Companies with such a forward thinking approach, unabashedly use their business networks, look at their operating systems, cut costs and minimize those instances that would stand in the way of them achieving business glory. Are your company and its people comfortable with being uncomfortable in business?

Even if a company is successful, there are no limits to it and if being uncomfortable in business is the norm at the company, they would know that they can never know everything. Such a company realizes that there is a rich treasure of resources and information sources that lie outside of them and they are unafraid to seek answers from them. Smart companies will seek the opinion and feedback of their customers, employees and other stakeholders in their journey towards putting together the best products and services and policies. This soliciting of ideas would happen even if they knew that they might hear something contrary to what they have known to be true or have worked with hitherto. That is what being uncomfortable in business is about – being of service to their ‘partners’ irrespective of the effort required. It’s about putting the needs and expectations of the customers, potential customers and their employees before their own. In doing so all these sets of people become willing brand ambassadors and whole-heartedly support the company in all its endeavors.

When a company and its people are happy being uncomfortable in business, they are flexible, adaptable and not stuck in tradition or tried and tested ideas. They are not frazzled if a plan or project comes undone or needs to change course and are just as comfortable in taking a new and unchartered course in order to get the work done. When a company and its people are happy being uncomfortable in business, their mind-set is already in a positive state, which is a sure shot way to success. They are mindful of setbacks but look at them as opportunities rather than defeats and are much better placed to find solutions than those people who are thrown off their guard by discomfort and unfamiliar situations. When people are accustomed to being uncomfortable in business, they are always agile and ready with resources and plans to fall back on. This kind of planning is what makes it easier for them to remain comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Being uncomfortable in business means that you are aware of – the kind of work you produce, the quality of the customer service and products and hence are confident in the belief that your offerings are the best and that they would speak for themselves. Such confidence inspires trust and confidence in the marketplace, among customers, investors and even employees – and all these crucial sets of people are more than willing to stand by your company and help it succeed. The business scenario has changed drastically and unless companies find new ways to execute their plans and improve on the methods to promote their business, survival would be tough. It is imperative to becoming comfortable to being uncomfortable in business for long term growth and success.

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