If you didn’t know experience and opportunity matter before, I’ll bet you do now after being trapped inside for so long during the pandemic. Think of travelling or meeting new and different people. In the near future you may be offered an opportunity for an experience. Will you take it? Does it challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone? It’s even better if so. Experiences and people make you and your life more interesting, which will provide you with other opportunities.
Sometimes the experience will breed opportunity. I recently sold a car. The couple who purchased it were very nice. After they had seen and decided to buy the car, they came to pick it up. In the course of speaking, one asked me about an area of law and whether I practiced in the area. I do. From speaking with these people we learned a bit about each other resulting in the possibility of a business opportunity. If I had solely viewed this as transactional, only spoken about the car, negotiated the price, etc., this wouldn’t have happened. I like learning about people and taking the opportunity to do so creates opportunity even when you don’t expect it.
Everyone can be interesting to speak with. You need to picture people you meet as wearing a hat saying “make me interesting.” This is a reminder it takes asking questions and good listening to learn things about people. This is where opportunity comes from. It could be a business opportunity as I describe above, or an invite to a cool event, or a spot on an amazing sounding trip. The possibilities are endless, at least if you’re open to people and possibilities.
Many people exist on the surface. By this I mean they know a little about a lot, but not the opposite. This can create a short conversation, but no chance to really learn more on a subject. The more knowledge you have on a subject, the better chance for you to be viewed as an expert and someone people look to.
Whatever you do for a living, people are looking for your expertise. All day everyday, people are looking for help from people who have gone deep and know what it takes to get the job done. People don’t hire me to assist on their legal matters because I’m a nice guy and friendly (though these things are helpful in the big picture), but because, when we meet or speak, it’s apparent I have the experience and knowledge to help them. If I can talk the talk, but not walk the walk, it will become obvious soon enough, and only lead to problems for me and my client.
This applies to you whether you are in sales, an attorney, an auto mechanic, or something else. By going deep in areas important to your work you’re investing in yourself. This is the type of investment that pays off, makes you a person of substance, and allows you to move forward in your chosen line of work with the best opportunity for success.
People enjoy being in their comfort zones. The challenge is in order to grow change is essential, but getting people out of their comfort zones is hard. Adapting to change is important because it’s inevitable. If you choose not to keep up you will be left behind.
A great example is technology. No matter what you do for a living, technology is improved or created, and then you have to (or some may view it as forced to) learn to incorporate it in your daily work routines. For attorneys, it could be a new billing software, document management software or changes to an online legal research portal. When this happens, it requires all users to learn the changes or how to use new software. This is easier for some and harder for others. For many it’s uncomfortable.
Being uncomfortable can be difficult, but being a lifetime learner is important. Being sedentary with your learning and brain is as bad for you as being physically sedentary. Allowing yourself to feel discomfort will take you out of your current comfort zone and, hopefully, to the next level of what your comfort zone will be.
You need to embrace change. Striving to improve and learning make life better and more interesting. Think of it as adjusting and finding your next comfort zone. Of course how long you stay in your old or new comfort zone depends on you, and whether you allow yourself to be open to the energy and excitement of consistent learning and change.