Stop getting out of your comfort zone

  • Running a real estate company of 200 agents for five years showed me that people doing uncomfortable things for the sake of being uncomfortable didn't lead to sustained lead generation efforts.
  • There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it, or you can inspire it.
  • My experience is that when people have a clear vision of where they want to go and a strong connection to the way in which they’ll get there, they will do all sorts of uncomfortable things over long periods of time because they own it and connect with it -- not because of some prompting to get out of the comfort zone.

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Getting out of your comfort zone is bad advice.

I can already hear the scoffs and see the eyes rolling about that statement.

It’s such a widely held agreement about what creates success. How can I question it?

Let me clarify and then explain. I’m not saying we shouldn’t do uncomfortable things — that is inevitable on the path of an entrepreneur.

What I’m saying is, it’s not helpful to say “get out of your comfort zone.”

This article is not for everyone. Just those who want a more congruent approach to sustained lead generation.

Running a real estate company of 200 agents for five years showed me that people doing uncomfortable things for the sake of being uncomfortable didn’t lead to sustained lead generation efforts.

It led to overload, resentment, frustration and burnout. They were no clearer about their core message, purpose or passion after having done these uncomfortable actions.

And in many cases, it let to more self-doubt than before those uncomfortable actions.

We only tend to say this statement when we want movement, action, results or change. Whether with ourselves or those we lead, “you’ve got to get out of your comfort zone” is an admonishment to get going.

We’re trying to help. But it doesn’t instruct. It doesn’t clarify. It doesn’t connect us to our why, our strengths or our passions.

Inspire behavior

In his best-selling book, “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek said, “There are only two ways to influence human behavior: you can manipulate it, or you can inspire it.”

I think in many ways we manipulate ourselves to do more lead generation by saying, “I just need to get out of my comfort zone.”

But that doesn’t get us closer to why we do what we do. It doesn’t help us create a strong, inspired core message to engage the consumer.

Most of the time it just gets us into awkward conversations and incongruent actions that leave us not wanting to do it again.

My experience is that when people have a clear vision of where they want to go and a strong connection to the way in which they’ll get there, they will do all sorts of uncomfortable things over long periods of time because they own it and connect with it — not because of some prompting to get out of their comfort zone.

Our job as leaders and entrepreneurs is to help ourselves and those we lead to get clear about what they want and who they are so they can author the direction they will take to get there.

Lead with passion

Jim Collins in his bestseller “Good to Great” found this about successful companies:

“The good to great companies did not say ‘OK folks, let’s get passionate about what we do.’ Sensibly, they went the other way entirely: We should only do those things that we can get passionate about.”

Although it’s easier just to admonish them to get out of their comfort zones, what might actually lead to sustained careers and consumer confidence is an industry of agents and brokers who say we should only do those things that we can get passionate about.

Lead generation

Let’s apply this to lead generation.

There is the message you communicate and the method in which you communicate it.

Rather than getting passionate about calling FSBOs or that queue of old Internet leads, start with a topic in life you’re already passionate about and find others who are passionate about the same thing.

It could be wine, fitness, home-schooling, fishing or single-parenting. The more polarizing the topic, the more traction and attention you’ll earn.

Rather than sending boring real estate emails you’re not passionate about, send emails about the things in life you care about.

As you grow that database with people who like the same topic, you now have something to talk about in your calls, emails, postcards and newsletters that will resonate with those receiving it.

They will also be more receptive to your real estate content when you send it because you’ve won their attention.

Communicate your beliefs

Sinek said, “We are drawn to leaders and organizations that are good at communicating what they believe.”

So what if more time was spent helping ourselves and our associates get clear on why they do what they do, who they are and what they’re passionate about?

What’s missing from our current efforts isn’t our lack of discomfort. It’s a lack of context that inspires us and connects to those we want to serve.

When we get the context right, inspiration sets in. We start doing uncomfortable things with a fire in our belly fueled by a passion that not only sustains our efforts but also attracts our tribe.

Chris Angell is an author, speaker and coach; his company is Groundswell Business Consulting. You can find him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thechrisangell or Twitter at @chrisangell.

Email Chris Angell.