One of the perks of a good life is to be pampered. Have the red carpet rolled out for us and let us enjoy the fruits of our success.
AC and Heating units, warm baths, packages delivered right to our doorstep, internet, and streaming services. It’s all really comfy.
Comfy is an advantage of the “luck of the draw” living in a first-world country.
But comfy can turn into complacency quickly. Getting too comfortable can make us more fearful of things “out there” we hear about. It can make us be settled with what we have now in order to not rock the boat and potentially harm our “status”. It can help us avoid any risk because when we think of risk we think of failure.
Comfortable is a luxury we have but we have to decide if that’s what we want.
There is no right or wrong answer as it’s up to each of us to forge our own paths but it is interesting to consider what happens when we push past being comfy and get a little (or a lot) uncomfortable.
What can we achieve?
What can we progress?
What can we endure?
Innovation and advancement come from being uncomfortable, both inside and out, to go where we’ve never been before.
How many times do we look at others and think these sorts of questions…
What’s their life like?
Why are they here?
What led them to this spot?
Are they really happy?
How often do we wonder what others are doing? How often does the curiosity peak?
It’s easy to imagine what others are going through and create stories to make our assumptions seem real.
But how often do we turn those questions back on ourselves?
How often do we pause and question where we are at?
It’s always easier to look away from our situation and judge, critique, and imagine how others’ lives are going.
The harder thing to do is let others live how they live and use that energy to focus on where we are hurting or where we are feeling anxiety and frustration in our current state. It’s hard to look in the mirror and judge the person looking back at us.
But, turning those questions back on ourselves can open up a new dimension of clarity and lead us on a clearer path toward better decisions and better answers to these questions.
Answers that, if we work to change for the better, ultimately make us happier day after day.
Similar to yesterday, the earth made a full rotation. We didn’t feel it but we know it happened. We are back to the same spot where we started.
But are we?
The sun may be hanging in the sky but it’s in a slightly different position. Incremental but different. The weather is too. And so is that tree you might be looking up at.
It’s all changed. But it’s so small we don’t even see it.
Warren Buffet once said, “Someone is sitting in the shade today because someone planted a seed a long time ago”.
That’s how growth looks. It’s small, almost microscopic, that we don’t realize it’s happening at the moment. But it’s happening to us and around us.
The book we’re reading might inspire us to start something new and magical which leads us to become happier.
The garden we wanted to start might soon become a banquet of nourishment for a local shelter.
The person we mentored might go on to create something important that impacts the world positively.
Our actions today can create a better world tomorrow for ourselves and the others around us.
We must be willing to plant the seed and keep watering it every day. We may not be able to see it grow quickly but we know the work we are doing is generous and necessary and will produce fruitful results, one way or another.
We don’t always know what those results will be but we’ll never have the chance to find out if we don’t start today.
Benjamin Marcovitz is a champion for growth, a leadership expert, and the founder and CEO of the Rise Institute, which advances the understanding that human beings can grow and develop beyond their estimations, and that expecting radical growth from those who struggle can and should be the norm. Using his expertise in consulting work, background in education, and boots-on-the-ground research on human behavior, Marcovitz helps leaders accelerate their work and generate breakthrough performance in their employees. He believes the world will be transformed if people understand and recognize the possibilities for growth within everyone.
I had a serendipitous conversation today that activated something in my brain which reflected on my time in high school woodworking. Yes, I took woodshop in high school and loved it.
I certainly wasn’t the best at measuring and cutting but I created some cool things. A Poker table with a beautiful Formica top. A breakfast chair that I believe my Dad still has in his house. I also made a Chalace with the lathe machine (it’s a machine where you secure a piece of wood and it spins very fast and you can chip away or sand down the object). I still have that Chalace somewhere, too.
And that’s what got me thinking about this call today.
I want to have all the answers to the puzzle from day one. I want to know the direction and the destination. I like having the “knowns” of the situation. It helps me.
But it’s not realistic.
Everyone reading this now is doing something very different today then they were doing 10-years ago. A different city, a different family situation, a different career/title, etc. We don’t have the playbook.
Life is like a game of backyard football, we mostly just improvise on the fly.
So that what got me thinking about my Chalace and the lathe machine back in high school woodshop. I had an idea of what I wanted but as I started to widdle the wood down it started to take a different form. Some spots I had to shave more than expected. Others were a bit harder and laborious. Sanding took way longer than expected.
I focused on the journey and experience of the process and had a “sort of” path to go down but nothing more. I didn’t know what or how to explain it then, but that is what I now call my “North Star”.
The North Star is your mission and vision of where you want to go but it’s just that, a vision. There is no flag in the ground saying “I’m going to be here at X date and be doing X”. Life doesn’t work that way. As long as you start down the path that is leading you toward your mission you’ll find your way. I think we all do, eventually. When you look all the way back later in life it’s really the moments of the journey that are most memorable and rarely the finish line.
Just keep chipping away at you “Chalace” and don’t get so caught up in the finished product but put a lot of focus and attention on the process and experiences you are building through it now.
In the end, whenever that happens to be, the stories and the experiences that shaped them turn out to be your legacy, and reaching the finish line becomes an afterthought.
I’ve followed Ray Dalio for many years and this is one of his cornerstones to a successful life.
Pain + Reflection = Progress
You need to go through bouts of pain and then add the element of reflection to the mix in order to grow to the next level.
As I pondered this more, I thought about my sales career and the sales professionals I’ve been around. We were always taught, as many in sales are, to find the “pain” with the prospect. Pull out the “pain” and you’ll be able to help them realize where you can help them.
But how many times do we take our own medicine?
A virtual show of hands… How many people have figured out where their “pain” is in their sales process or career and worked hard to improve that area?
I didn’t think so. I’ve been bad in this department as well.
What we found that “works” is solid and we continue to use it over and over. Same pitch. Same play. Same song and dance.
When have we stepped outside that comfort and got really nervous or awkward or silly in order to improve?
Maybe an SDR is struggling to get the right messaging on prospecting calls. When was the last time you did a role play and got really uncomfortable? When was the last time you actually asked a prospect what they thought of your approach? When was the last time…(insert your own curiosity)
Maybe it is someone that gets nervous with large groups in presentations. Instead of continuing down that road, have you considered Improv classes? Toastmasters? Volunteering at an event where you are thrust into speaking in front of people? Again, insert your own question here.
We are really good at getting to the “pain” of our future clients but have an extremely difficult time putting ourselves in that painful situation to improve first.
It sucks but it’s the only way.
My question to leave you with is this…
What one thing can you do this week to feel some pain but know that it will push you forward to new heights?
One of the people on the “short list” I wanted to speak with was the Co-Founder and CEO of Pendo, Todd Olson, and was thrilled when he accepted my invitation. Todd lives right in my backyard in the Raleigh-Durham area of North Carolina and I have been an admirer of Pendo for many years. Todd and I have some mutual connections but we’ve never had the opportunity officially meet before. I was interested to understand how he came to be a Co-Founder of Pendo, how they’ve scaled, and what lessons he learned early in life that has propelled him to this success. We cover those topics and more on this episode of the Podcast!
About Todd Olson:
Todd Olson is co-founder and CEO of Pendo, a product experience platform that helps product managers deliver successful products. Before Pendo, Olson served as VP of products at Rally Software Development which he led through its public offering.