KATHMANDU: All successful leaders have one thing in common — willingness to learn and walk the road that others fear to tread. They do not stay in their comfort zone, they do not fear what has not been tried. As humans, we naturally enjoy our comfort zone and stepping out of it is something that we do not do. Actually fear persists in our mind and we never dare to even try.
Due to our orientation, education, training and background, we tend to have a premeditated and determined framework for everything that we do. Cultural values, religion, our standings in the society and our formal and informal education are few of the many factors that shape our beliefs.
Would you attend a formal gathering in jeans and turtle neck just like Steve Jobs? Many would not for sure. A formal meeting in most of our definitions demands getting formal clothes. Everything performed against our premeditated framework is heavily stigmatised. The stigmatisation of our professions is another example that illustrates our comfort zone even more clearly. What if MBA graduates want to give away their attractive and secure job to start their own venture? Stigmatisation persists whether in societal or personal forms.
So what does stigmatisation do? It prevents us from exploring the unexplored and the ultimate power to change. Organisational changes worldwide, for instance, suffer the same reluctance from senior management and leaders. They do not try new things because the current system is doing well.
Great leaders virtually leave no stones unturned. The only difference between a normal and a great leader is how they step out of their comfort zone and enter a courage zone that opens new possibilities.
The striking difference can be seen in prominent word leaders. Mahatma Gandhi, Steve Jobs and even Mark Zuckerberg stepped out of their comfort zones to explore new horizons that changed the face of the world. What would have happened if Mahatma Gandhi did not start his struggle against British colonial rule? What if Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg had not revolutionised the digital world and social interaction pattern?
Brian Tracy, the Canadian author says, “Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.”
Rightly so, because we get so accustomed to what we have been doing that we never break the mental shackles that restricts our organisational and personal development.
(The author is the MD, trainer and consultant of Aadhar Development Pvt Ltd. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)