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November 6, 2013 / glennlim thots

Comfort Kills Ambition…

Comfort

Your Comfort Zone is your region of familiarity. Your preferred way of doing things, or responding to situations, or your daily habits and patterns. You’re so familiar that it has become sub-concsious in the way you live your life – you develop a rountine. While your CZ is a good Servant (you don’t need to keep reminding yourself to do certain tasks everyday, you just let habit take over), it is a bad Master (when you allow it to lead your life, because it gets you no where!).

All growth and development is found in the outer regions of your comfort zone. We call this the Stretch Zone. It is uncomfortable, but you achieve new learning in the end. Most don’t get to this region unless circumstances force them into it, or push them out of their CZ. We start off kicking and screaming, but after that get used to the discomfort. When we reflect back, we realise it wasn’t all that bad, the temporary discomfort forced us to innovate, think out of the box, learn new skills, adapt quickly, and challenged us to do things we never thought possible before…At least not when we were in our CZ.

So how do great leaders get out of their CZs? Do they always wait for ‘something’ to happen to them to force them out? I suggest that there is better way to get into the Stretch Zone – by way of a ‘Pull Factor’. In contrast to the Push Factor, the Pull Factor is an external ‘force’ that draws or pulls us out of our CZs towards its direction. Great leaders always peer into the outside and unknown, and start dreaming of their desired future state. They are ambitious and they have ambitions. They then concretize that dream into a compelling Vision. The clearer the vision, the more real it becomes to them.

But these leaders do not just stop there. Otherwise it will just remain a dream. Worse, the vision becomes such a burden of impossibility, that we begin to entertain self-doubt and defeating thoughts. For some people, it becomes so negative that they become anxious and stressed. This state is also refered to as the Panic Zone, where we can’t conceive ourselves being so far away from our CZ. We fear the unknown, and we perceive ourselves as being out of control.

So what do great leaders do next? They take steps to strategise and make plans. They start plotting a trajectory that links their CZ (where they are currently at) to their Vision (where they want to end up at). They develop a Mission or road-map towards it. This road-map is filled with Goals. Long-range goals, mid and short term goals, all lining up in a common direction toward that ever compelling Vision. Then, they start taking Action, and inch their way, bit by bit, towards achieving each step. It’s not a smooth journey. They face obstacles, challenges. They fall and fail sometimes. But great leaders pick themselves up again. They grit their teeth and buckle themselves to trudge forward again. Their Vision keeps them going, because there is a clear destinaion at the end. And with each accomplished goal that stretches them, they build momentum like a train picking up speed. Great leaders refuse to back down. Instead, they refer back to their Vision over and over again. The Vision helps to inspire them, energise them, and motivate them to look and move ahead. They keep at what they commited themselves to do, and slowly but surely, they taste the sweet success of a Vision reached!

So, let’s remind ourselves today to get uncomfortable and get used to it in your pursuit of your dreams!

Glenn Lim

vision

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