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Posted: September 16, 2011

The dangers of the business comfort zone

Liz Wendling

Working inside your business comfort zone is costly and dangerous. The business comfort zone will destroy your bottom line and stall your success.

Once settled into your comfort zone, it's hard to pack up and leave. You've carefully chosen the décor, the location and negotiated the lease, so you hunker down and stay awhile. It's hard to make money running a business trapped inside your comfort zone. Outside your comfort zone is where the opportunities for possibilities and growth live.

The best definition I heard was from my coach: a business comfort zone is a behavioral state where a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk. Basically, good is good enough. Don't rock the boat, and playing it safe is better than taking a risk.

I talk to business owners every day who declare they want to close more sales and earn more money. They're ready to change their attitudes, break old habits and start making things happen in their business. They set ambitious sales goals and ready to blaze a new trail. They're off and running! Often, the original momentum these business owners created; the momentum that got the ball rolling then stalls. In trying to change their attitudes and habits they revert to the safety of their personal comfort zone.

Everyone has their own personal comfort zone. You have built-in mechanisms that regulate your level of anxiety, fear and discomfort. When you experience anything outside the norm, you begin to feel anxious. Your natural tendency is to retreat into lock down mode and crawl back inside the safety of the comfort zone.

These business owners found themselves operating in a comfortable rut. That rut limits their possibilities, their thinking and their success. If you want a thriving business you have to take some risks. Deliberately push yourself out of your ruts and routines. Try and things you don't normally do. I'm not suggesting cliff diving in Mexico or running with the bulls in Spain. I'm suggesting you start small, go out on a limb and expand your comfort zone.

We all like a little comfort and that's normal. Humans are wired to seek comfort. The comfort zone becomes a problem when you make a choice to keep playing it safe. When you hold yourself back and hide, you're effectively saying no to a thriving business. When given the chance to enter uncharted territory, where life's future is unpredictable, people often choose not to change, clinging to the comfortable situation. You can't make money and your business can't flourish in your comfort zone.

Brian Tracy says, "Ninety to 95 percent of people will withdraw to the comfort zone when what they try doesn't work. Only that small percentage, 5 or 10 percent, will continually improve themselves; they will continually push themselves out into the zone of discomfort, and these are always the highest performers in every field."

By not stretching and expanding beyond your business comfort zone, you're going to be in the same place tomorrow and the next day and the next. It's not easy to come out of your comfort zone -- but your comfort has a price. How much is yours costing you?

If you need a gentle nudge, a slight push or a full-blown shove out of your comfort zone, this coach is ready to assist you.

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Liz Wendling is the president of Insight Business Consultants, a nationally recognized business consultant, sales strategist and emotional intelligence coach. Liz is driven by her passion for business and generating results for her clients. Liz understands the challenges that business owners are facing building a business and selling their professional services in today's market.

Liz shows clients how to tap into and use their innate strength, power and confidence to develop highly successful businesses. She teaches them to create effective, dynamic and fluid client conversations that turn interested prospects into invested clients who keep coming back.

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