I’d like to start by sharing my own personal story, one that has consumed much of my time outside of work over the last two years.
It all started when my wife and I decided to buy a house. As most of you with house hunting experience know, it is a long and drawn out process with lots of anxiety and unknowns until you find what you’re looking for.
Well, the problem was the perfect house was not attainable for us. It was either too expensive or didn’t check enough of our boxes.
We ultimately found a house we saw a future in, but first this required a great deal of work; two years, ago we set out on this journey of change.
Since closing, my wife and I have spent most weekends updating the property to fit our dream. It has not been an easy road. In fact, it has been filled with lots of arguments over design decisions, backaches and our kids living in dirt and debris.
Sometimes, I take a step back and am amazed at what we have accomplished in getting to our dream home. We had lots of challenges and many moments where we lost our inspiration in seeing the vision materializing.
However, through all of it — countless hours of YouTube watching, talking to my father (a retired contractor) and experimenting with designs — we did not give up. We stepped outside of our comfort zone, temporarily stretching ourselves really thin.
Essentially, we learned comfort and growth do not co-exist.
Many of you also have similar experiences where you are tested, where you push yourself and in the end come out having gained something more — whether it be knowledge, new exciting opportunities or simply having made an impact in a meaningful way to your community.
Put another way, growth does not exist without discomfort. We are in a period in time where change happens constantly. There is innovation happening each and every day at an alarming pace, thus rapidly shifting the environment.
There is opportunity in our market to not only embrace change, but to disrupt ourselves, our way of thinking and our approach to solving challenges. When we step outside our norm and embrace the pressure from the unknown, when we truly feel discomfort, that’s when we can be sure we are growing.
Look at this fish jumping from the smaller bowl to the bigger one. What do you think her thoughts were before she made the jump? I’m sure she was nervous. “Will I make it, what if I don’t?” She was very uncomfortable not knowing what would happen next. However, she made the leap anyway and got rewarded with a new friend and a bigger bowl.
I encourage you to think about opportunities within your association and in your market in general. What is happening around you that makes you nervous? Perhaps it’s competitors that threaten to pull away members, or maybe it’s new ways of accessing content outside what your organization currently offers.
Remember that what is making you anxious is also your source of opportunity.
Get uncomfortable, experiment and stretch yourself, because comfort and growth don’t co-exist.