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Stepping outside your comfort zone

We’ve all heard that you need to step outside your comfort zone to achieve great things. Well, as much as I hate to say it, because I love my comfort zone, it’s true. As a business owner, I am presented with opportunities in which I could easily say no because they aren’t in the general scope of what we have always provided. These opportunities may be something that we’ve thought about providing. These opportunities may be closely aligned but slightly different than what we’ve always provided. Or, these opportunities may be so far out in left field that you’ve never even thought about providing them. As the business owner, it’s my job to evaluate these opportunities and determine whether they are right for us or not. Oftentimes, these opportunities will push you outside of your comfort zone to pursue great things.

I could easily say no. Tell the people that this isn’t something we can do. Not because we can’t do it, but because we’ve never done it before and it might be pretty stressful. The business would survive if we didn’t take these chances. I would probably have a few less gray hairs and a few more restful night’s sleep. However, the business wouldn’t grow and if you’re not growing, you’re slowly dying. You’re dying because, you better believe, there are other business owners out there waiting for their shot to say yes, waiting for their shot to be the go-to company, waiting for their chance to step outside of their comfort zone.

Now once you are outside your comfort zone, you need to tread carefully. You are in uncharted waters and can easily get in over your head. You will need to be constantly evaluating what you can realistically do while forcing yourself to think about solutions you haven’t worked with in the past. This is where we were last week.

We were originally approached about a small 150 person event to kickoff the launch of some new entrepreneurial resources in the area. We would provide sound for the venue and maybe a couple of video screens to display the presentations. No problem, that’s something we’ve 1000 times before. That’s not what happened.

As the event got closer and closer the number of guests started increasing, surpassing 500 RSVP’s. The honored guest, Senator Mark Warner, went from a “possible appearance” to a “definite.” The folks running the event increased at that point too. Now, instead of one person with one idea, we have numerous people, all with varying levels of expectations about what can be provided. It was stressful. I didn’t sleep much last week.

In the end, we provided 2 55 inch monitors, 2 50 inch monitors, 1 42 inch stage monitor, 1 110 inch rear projection screen, sound for over 500, 4 wireless mics, 1 wired mic, music, we worked hand in hand with the video production crew, coordinated the stage rental and delivery (and breakdown) and I hosted/emceed the event. The event was a success because of the dedication of our staff and their willingness to go the extra mile and make sure the event was perfect. I was proud of them!

I’m glad we had the opportunity to be part of something great. To be part of something that brought elected officials, high ranking folks from both the public and private sectors, well known people from the area, small business owners, entrepreneurs and so many more people, together. I’m glad that my personal motto of “always say yes and just figure out how to get there” paid off in the end. I’m glad that I stepped outside my comfort zone and pushed myself to do something I knew we could!

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