Getting Out of Your Comfort Zone

My family and I were enjoying a vacation at a resort in Turks and Caicos. There were 11 of us – my sisters, their husbands and my nieces and nephews.

As my sister and I were walking up from the beach one morning, we saw my 16-year-old nephew Nilesh running at full speed to the other side of the resort. Before we knew it – my other nephew Nikhil grabbed his T-shirt and ran to follow his brother. My sister Tonya, in an unprecedented fashion – followed the boys in full sprint. We had to know what was going on.

Then we heard the news: Lionel Messi, the Argentine soccer legend was visiting and hanging out on the other side of the resort! My six nephews and nieces, die-hard soccer fans, proceeded to spend the next 2 days following Messi and his family around (keeping a respectful distance, of course). We couldn’t pull them away. They were in awe.

Two days later we were sitting at dinner when Messi’s family of 12 came into the restaurant and were seated at the table next to ours. Immediately the energy at our table shifted. The boys stopped eating entirely and everyone kept sneaking glances over to his table.

My dad – who is a long-time entrepreneur – handed all the kids pens and pads of paper and encouraged them to go and get an autograph. Immediately my sisters started to protest – worried that the kids would ruin his dinner and disrespect his privacy. I didn’t know what to do as I understood both sides. I wanted the kids to get the autographs, but I also didn’t want them to interrupt a family dinner.

The kids were becoming more and more nervous and shy about asking for an autograph – but it was clear that they wanted one. To relieve the situation, my dad told the boys that they would have to wait until Messi was finished eating. He explained, “You have to go after what you want in life. Everything is possible.” All the adults left the restaurant to head back to our rooms. The kids waited patiently.

As soon as Messi’s family was done eating – Nikhil and Nilesh bee-lined over to his table. They got permission from his bodyguard and got an autograph! My 11-year old niece, Lucia, followed close behind but was too shy to ask for an autograph. So Nikhil put another piece of paper in front of Messi and said, “Will you sign this for my cousin?” They all got autographs. Today those autographs hang framed in their bedrooms.

It would have been easy for the kids to give up – especially since their moms told them not to do it. But they didn’t. They left their comfort zones and got exactly what they wanted.

This is a skill that is important for entrepreneurs – being so committed to what you want that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get it. It’s what made my father build such a successful company. It’s what has led me to grow more and more every year. But it’s never easy – and there’s a part of you that repeatedly resists it.

What makes success possible is having clarity around what you want even if you have no idea how you are going to get it. Then being able to sit in that discomfort until the “how you are going to get it” surfaces. And then trusting your instincts and intuition to take action. Here’s to getting comfortable with being uncomfortable!

Photo: flickr, wolfkann

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