In the professional world there is no greater enemy than a fear of change. Managers can coach how to deal with change, encourage you to overcome it, and paint a lovely picture of how change leads to an evolution which breeds success. In the brain of a professional, all of those factors are known; well known. However, at the core of every human, the fight to stay where it is familiar and safe is as deep as our DNA. So how then do we get people out of their comfort zone?
Conquering the Comfort Zone
There have been countless articles and journal publications about fear and the effect it can have on an individual’s energy level and sense of balance. In the workplace, fear can disable someone from moving forward or moving up, when in fact, they possess the talent to do so. When one becomes comfortable in their world, sales tend to trend toward stagnation. It is when we try something new that sales can soar. Something as simple as changing the way a word or phrase is delivered can dramatically change sales numbers. If a higher revenue goal, new talk track, or promotion are some things we can see outside our zone, how do we then attain them?
When someone is on the inside looking out, seeing those things they want, it is not easy to just get out and grab them. Stepping outside of a well-established comfort zone can literally feel cold and lonely. It can become a place that is hard to navigate and eventually can force a person to move backwards. They will slowly get back to the routine they tried to escape, and it begins all over again. Every time they move back it gets harder and harder to escape their routine. Energy levels will sink and productivity goes right down the drain.
I speak to our sales people directly about this and use imagery that helps them to “see” what fear of change can be and what it feels like to overcome it. I strive to illustrate to them the wear and tear of fighting with fear and how to properly redirect that energy in order to move forward. In a large sales environment, there are many things that can keep someone in their comfort zone or box.
The motivational tool I utilize to try and prevent this cycle is referred to as “the wall analogy”. I try to get my teams to envision a wall in front of them. The wall is their fear and it is stopping them from moving forward. It’s heavy and hard to push through. It is large and cannot be knocked down or gone around.
I tell them they need to pick it up, put it over their heads, and place it behind them. Let the energy of pushing against it allow it to now push them forward. With it behind them and between them and their comfort zone, there is now nothing to stand in their way.
Illustrating motivation isn’t easy, however, expecting your team to just “power through” or “push through” won’t work either. Reinforcing the belief that stepping outside the box as the only way to succeed is crucial. Allow your team to feel pushed forward, but also supported as they move into a new journey. The redirection of energy is the key to a healthy transition out of the comfort zone and into the future.