In a series of meetings and conversations this week, there was much discussion about discomfort, and the notion that uncomfortable situations are often a signal of opportunity. The topic reminded me of a past blog post, Can you feel your underwear?, in which I talked about the need to push out of our comfort zones from an account management perspective.
The same thinking applies much more broadly – really to all aspects of our lives. Situations that make us uncomfortable are typically situations that we are unfamiliar with – they require us to stretch, to learn, to try something new and risk failing. And let’s face it, as much as we can learn from failure, it’s not something anybody enjoys.
And yet we all know that there are levels of discomfort that need to be accepted and even welcomed in order to grow. This is particularly true in business situations where we are looking to innovate, an activity that is not only necessary for long-term sustainability, but also one that companies are increasingly being pushed into by customers who are clamoring to introduce their voice to innovation processes. In these cases, the discomfort extends beyond the personal, to a more organizational level of discomfort, but one that, if accepted, can lead to breakthrough developments in products, services, and processes, and ultimately to happier customers and growth.
To capture this upside, it helps to get proactive in identifying opportunities that, while they may be uncomfortable, come with the promise of significant and mutually beneficial rewards. After all, if we all just keep doing exactly what we’re doing now, things will get pretty boring.
Image Source Page (and nice blog on extending the comfort zone to the eek zone: