Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone, Branson Urges Entrepreneurs | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone, Branson Urges Entrepreneurs

Posted: Jun 9, 2016 at 3:06 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Nkasiobi Oluikpe


Lagos – The founder of Virgin Group, a business magnate, investor and philanthropist, Richard Branson in a recent article narrated how growth happens when you step out of your comfort zone.

Using himself as an example, he cited how with the help of his mother, as a child and youth, grew comfortably in dealing with uncomfortable situations. This, he said, contributed immensely to his success as a business man.

Branson described the cause and effect of taking on new challenges when he said: “Humans are creatures of habit. We build our lives on patterns of thought, emotions and behaviour. Unfortunately for many people these patterns lead to complacency, which impedes growth. If we set ourselves challenges we can bolster our mental, emotional and physical strength.”

Corroborating Branson’s view point, Osayi Alile, executive council member at Women in Management, Business & Public Service (WIMBIZ), noted that outside of your comfort zone is where the magic happens.

“Though business undertakings are filled with risks, as small business owners, it is important to resist falling into a lax mental state, that is, that low risk area where we are just fine performing the same routine activities every day. How else can we grow if we do not push the envelope, and test our mental limits?

“Running a business obligates small business owners to make tough decisions, and take up tough responsibilities. Regardless, when business owners are caught between a rock and a hard place, they may think: “is it not better to stick with things that we know?” But no one takes big leaps without the discomfort of uncertainty and fear.”

According to Alile, the comfort zone is an enemy of human potential, so if you have been in the same place for a while in your business, here are other benefits you gain from stepping out:

You grow: When business owners leave their comfort zone, they create opportunities to grow through experiences they encounter along the journey. It could be new skills acquired, new relationships with people – established or existing ones – who help make connections we need to support our business goals. As a result we are empowered and more willing to break fresh grounds.

Better performance: Engaging in new activities makes us anxious. But business owners can use this to their advantage because there is research that an optimal level of anxiety can make one focus and perform better. So anxiety is not bad all the time. Remember, nothing ventured, nothing gained. You might never know if you do not take the chance, in spite of your reservations.

More comfort: Ironically, when business owners step out of their comfort zones and take risks, they gain another sort of comfort – expanding capabilities. The path of risk-taking creates learning opportunities, for instance, lessons derived from hits and misses when building a new factory, or investing in a new line of agricultural products, or creating a new line of cakes with experimental flavours. It is most likely that you will stumble and make mistakes, but with that comes improvement, and with improvement comes expertise, and that is growth.

He finally advised that whatever new ideas small business owners have pushed aside to grow their businesses, they should always remember that by stepping out of their comfort zones, they raise the stakes, and the biggest competition that they have is themselves.