One of the most dangerous words I know is comfortable. In all honesty, we often don’t use the words, we just act them out. See, in the world of career and personal development, we want to constantly challenge ourselves to be the very “best version of me” possible. I like to think of it as positioning ourselves on an incline – where we are not only looking forward but upward. This is important as we need to be challenged, regularly, to get better.
Let’s compare it to exercising. In running, we challenge our pace, which strengthens our heart rate. In weightlifting, we challenge our muscles, which tear, rebuild and become stronger. The key is that in both cases, we embrace the challenge and discomfort consciously and deliberately, in order to grow and move towards that “best version” of ourselves. For example, if you think about building muscles, the process is a very simple one. As you lift more weight (and as many say “no pain, no gain”), you, in fact, stress and slightly tear, muscle tissue. That tissue not only repairs itself but swells a bit and over time results in stronger muscles and more strength.
Akin to exercising our bodies, we must exercise our minds, through by regularly creating growth opportunities. Often, when we take on new positions, we readily do just that by embracing the challenge and discomfort of potentially needing to learn how to operate in a new company, with new people, new products and services and everything else that goes with that learning curve. Similar to exercising, during that time we deliberately focus our energy on working through that discomfort of that new position. Over time, as we go through the learning curve, the act of performing our job can become somewhat of a routine and we naturally grow in our comfort. It certainly is not to say we believe what we are doing is any less important than when we started, nor are we less committed, but as some say, “the game has slowed down for us” and we are comfortable.
By definition, a “position” or “rank” can be a temporary place. Don’t get comfortable with it, take it as temporary, LevelUp to your next position and the challenge and discomfort that awaits you!
I share a picture below of my class, EMP98 at Kellogg Business School (we graduated in December 2015 together), because they are people I hold in high regard, that came to the class already accomplished in many things, but who wanted to challenge themselves to be the “best version of me” possible.