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3 “Comfort Zones” That Will Crush You (And How to Make Sure They Don’t)

July 12, 2013

dipstation

Was in the gym earlier. And by gym, I mean weight room…

The normal crowd includes everybody from steroid-injected muscle-heads, to college kids, to businessmen. Today was a little different though.

As it’s the middle of summer and kids are out of school, there were a few kids, maybe 12-14, working out with a guy in his 40s, whom I assumed was some kind of mentor. Neither the kids nor the mentor were in particularly great shape, so I’m pretty sure it wasn’t a sports program, although to hear the mentor talk, it was obvious that he was pretty confident in his abilities to lift heavy things.

He got the kids and lined them up next to a “dip machine.” Starting with biggest kid of the group, by which I mean the fattest and most out of shape, he got them onto the machine using a bench as a step and said, “Work until your muscles fail.”

The first kid stepped off the bench, onto the machine, and literally fell back off. His muscles, or lack thereof, simple couldn’t handle the weight.

It was loud and impossible not to notice. Everybody stopped what they were doing to see what was going on.

I felt for the guy. I’m sure it was awkward enough for him to be there in the first place, but to make things even worse, he was now flat on the floor, surrounded by his friends and dozens of people he didn’t know…more “successful” people whom, at least from the outside, didn’t seem to have any of the same problems.

Nobody is ever really “starting from nothing” — we all come to the table with various skills and abilities that will help us in our desire to be successful, even on day one. Regardless of this though, building upon a solid foundation is paramount.

You are where you are now because you are who you are. Regardless of where that is, you’re working at maximum capacity.

Below is a list of three “comfort zones” that hold writers back and my suggestions for breaking through them…

Get Better At Sales

This is a big one. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling, as an creative entrepreneur, whether you’re a writer, musician, or anything else, you’re likely spending a lot of your time negotiating with people and you want them to do something for you.

There is an art to this. It’s not natural, although some people make it seem that way.

To develop the skills needed to sell, you have to put yourself in a position where you have to constantly ask for a sale. You’re probably already in that kind of position, even if you don’t realize it, but because it actually counts, you’re not asking for the sale like you should.

Need money? If you’re not 100% full-time at what you’re doing, you can solve your fear of sales real quick by getting a job where you must sell. Or, better yet, instead of taking on yet another job you don’t want, go full-time with your passion, and put some pressure on yourself to make things happen.

Not ready to go balls out like this? Get a part-time job doing telemarketing. Yes, telemarketing. You’ll learn a lot about what it takes to build rapport and close deals quickly.

Get Better At Public Speaking

Studies show that the number one fear is public speaking

Oh really? I’ve never seen anything to back this up, but it gets passed around so much we all take it as truth. And regardless, for most, public speaking is scary as hell.

So what’s the solution? Hair of the dog, my friends.

Toastmasters International has been designed to help people get over their fears about public speaking. The organization is divided into small groups, known as clubs, which usually contain around 20 people, although it’s not uncommon for all to be active and attend meetings.

I’ve been to a several Toastmasters meetings as well as other functions and have found members of the organization to be friendly, helpful, and understanding. And surprisingly, most aren’t that polished when it comes to public speaking — they’re just like you.

Get Better At Delegation

You can only go so far when you’re doing everything yourself. The old saying, “If you want something done right, you’ve got to go it yourself” isn’t true. There are plenty of people who can do things better than you can, but you have to get good at delegation to get that to happen.

How do you get good at delegation? My suggestion is starting with small, simple tasks that aren’t completely necessary, so you you’ll be less likely to micromanage.

Examples including basic data entry and basic research projects. If you’ve got a blog, for instance, you could start with simple project of hiring somebody to find 20 similar blogs and send you a list of them in an Excel spreadsheet.

While hiring somebody to find 20 related blogs might seem not that important, keep in mind that the benefit for you is developing the skill of delegation. If you’re doing this via a freelancer site such as oDesk or Elance, you’ll gain experience posting clear projects, hiring qualified people, and being clear in your communication. This will come in handy as you get more and more comfortable with delegating tasks and start to do it on more important projects.

Is there a major “comfort zone” that I’m missing? Feel free to add it via the comment section.

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Every Friday, I give tips on how to build the foundation needed to have a successful business and platformSee other posts in this series here and, if you have a request for me to cover something specific, let me know via Twitter.