I’ve been stepping out of my comfort zone quite a few times. It’s where things are scary and exciting. Let me tell you about my most recent experience.
As you know, I run a web design company by day and I run an online record store. It’s what I enjoy doing and (I think) something I’m good at. However, it’s easy to get stuck in a rut when you’re doing something for a long time. Sure, my record store is less than a year old, but it has a lot to do with web design, marketing and sales, something my web design company does, so it’s basically the same job, but with different products.
Getting stuck in a rut is one of the worst things that can happen when you’re a business owner. You stop caring about your customers and start focusing on money over joy.
My wife and a few friends work at the only school in town here. One of my friends is a janitor.
When the janitor was planned for surgery, she was going to push herself to get back to work as soon as possible, so that the school wouldn’t have to worry about hiring a replacement, or if they would, she would come back to work to sub-standard cleanliness.
“Maybe we can hire Mark!”. Uh-oh. Me as the janitor at a school? Did I mention it’s an all-French school and I don’t speak French?
Not only is janitorial work not exactly something I went to school for but it’s also a far cry from web design, marketing and sales.
I decided to take the job anyway. One of the reasons was so I could make some extra cash, so my wife could take the summer off. Another was to help out a friend (the janitor) and a third, which I only realized when I was actually working at the school, was to get the hell out of my comfort zone and jump over the rut that was waiting for me.
It shook things up in my head. It pressed me for time in my own business, which made me cram lots of work into the limited time I had. It made me appreciate the web design business and record store again. Not that I ever really lost appreciation, but still. It also boosted my French. I still don’t speak it, simply because I don’t know where to start a sentence, but I’ll be able to understand my daughter better when she rambles complete sentences in French to me.
My friend is back on the job after this weekend, and I’ll be able to catch up on some of the todo-list items that got put aside during the past few weeks.
It’ll be a coffee fuelled week, I’ll tell you that. I believe that if you want to be successful in your business (and personal life!), do good things that you’re not comfortable with. It’ll make you a better business owner and a better person in general.