Become Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

I recently learned the story of a man, who by all accounts would be considered to be successful. He’s done some amazing things in his life that are nothing short of incredible. As I learned more about his background and his life I became more and more amazed. As I looked at his life, I wondered how he was able to overcome things in his life that would have crushed others. From a very young age, all the way through to his adult years he was faced with unbelievable adversity. Things that no human should have to go through. 

This has really had me thinking. Why is it that a boy can go through abuse and punishment every day of his life and still develop into a strong and confident man. While at the same time, someone who has every opportunity in the world handed to them never becomes successful?

As I’ve spent time thinking about this and analyzing different situations, I’ve found a few key characteristics that I believe can help anyone be more successful.

The mind is such a powerful tool for good or bad. Once we can understand and control our mind, our world expands. As we search for ways to be successful in life, we have to start in our mind.

Our first challenge is to recognize that not all physical and mental limitations are real. Too many people believe their own lies or the lies of others. They throw in the towel way too soon.  

Develop a Can-Do Attitude

A person with a can-do attitude faces adversity with confidence. They look at it for what it is, a challenge that they have to overcome to get to where they want to be. They are focused on achieving a goal and something that gets in their way isn’t going to stop them. 

Mindset matters. Having a can-do attitude is a state of mind. When we expect progress and feel optimistic, challenges can be seen as opportunities and stress can be motivating. When you do get down and discouraged, it’s easier to get back up and find the positive. 

Your life is created in your mind before it’s manifested in reality. Whether you have a can-do or can’t-do attitude, you’ll be right.

Start With The First Step

Consistency builds momentum, but it all starts with the first step. 

Take the first step in the direction of your goal. When you get knocked down and discouraged and you don’t want to go any further, take the next step. Great success often starts with small beginnings, but you have to start somewhere.

For you, it might mean getting up an hour early to exercise. Maybe it’s making your bed in the morning or reading for 30 minutes a day. Whatever it is, take that first step and do it. But don’t quit. Do it again the next day, and the next, and the next…

Do it until you get to the point that if you don’t do it, your day will be ruined because you missed it. That’s when you’re ready to take the next step.

Become Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

I recently listened to an interview with John Calipari, University of Kentucky basketball coach. He said in order for his players to be the best that they can be, his job as a coach is to make them comfortable being uncomfortable. His job is not to coach them at the level they are at now. His job is to coach them where they need to be and where they are capable of being. This means they will be where they have not been before and they are going to be uncomfortable at times. The situations where they struggle and feel pain, where they are taken to their limits is where they truly learn about themselves and become the best that they can be.

Make them comfortable being uncomfortable.

John Calipari

To reach our goals and be successful, we need to do the same thing. We need to become comfortable being uncomfortable. Step out of your comfort zone on a regular basis. The more often you do it, the stronger you’ll become for when you are faced with adversity.

Hold Yourself Accountable Every Single Day

What is it that you need to do today? What is it that will take you closer to your bigger future? How will you make sure that you do it, no matter what?

Get out of the habit of making excuses for yourself. Holding yourself accountable means you’ll do it, end of story. Don’t allow yourself to have excuses. What we allow becomes acceptable. So as soon as you justify why you didn’t do something, you’ve set a standard and it will be that much easier to justify it again the next time. 

Hold yourself accountable and don’t accept excuses!

There are a number of different characteristics and habits that will help you to be successful. But if you can master these four, you’ll be well on your way to an amazing life!

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Personal Accountability

Back in August of 2012 I wrote about our Education Plan at my company, Kodiak Mountain Stone.  If you have never read about it, click on the link and find out more because it has been a pretty good thing we came up with.  From each Education Meeting that we have, everyone on our team learns something. But I think the most value comes to the person who is hosting the meeting.  As the saying goes, “the teacher is the one who learns the most.”

 

In the past I’ve shared thoughts and ideas from some of our Education Meetings, but it has been a while since I have passed any of this on.  Yesterday we had one of these meetings and I think that the subject that was addressed is awesome and I want to share a little bit about it.

 

Before I get into the details of the meeting I want to take a step back.  A few months ago I was on a conference call with my store manager at my store in Calgary AB.  He was frustrated and told me that one of the team members had come in late for the second time that week and used the same excuse as the first time.  “Sorry that I’m late, traffic was terrible.”

 

As soon as he told me about this I had a memory flash into my mind.  I remembered back to January 9, 2002.  That day I was working as a bank manager for ATB Financial, which is a bank located in Alberta, Canada.  I had the opportunity that day to attend a managers training meeting where David Irvine spoke to us.  The topic that he spoke about that day was one that he had written a book about, “Accountability – Getting a Grip on Results.”  The new, updated version of the book is, Bridges of Trust: Making Accountability Authentic
The reason I remember the exact day of this meeting is because I have that book in my library signed and dated by David.  I know it was a good meeting because almost 13 years later there are a number of things that I specifically remember him saying.  But there are two things that really stood out to me that day.
He told us to imagine ourselves leaving our house with just the right amount of time to get to an important meeting.  You are well prepared for the meeting and things are looking good.  But then when you are about half way to the meeting you hit some crazy traffic that just about brings you to a halt. You are anxiously putting along and starting to stress more and more about being late for your meeting.  Pretty soon the starting time of the meeting comes and goes and you are still blocks away from your meeting place.  You finally arrive, park your vehicle and dash to the meeting room.  As you enter the room, all eyes are focused directly on you.  Sweat is dripping down your forehead and you say…

At that point what words leave your mouth?  Most people respond exactly how my employee responded. “Sorry that I’m late, traffic was terrible.”  At that time, that is probably exactly how I would respond.  But that is not being accountable for your actions.  I vividly remember him explaining that the proper response should be something such as, “sorry that I am late, I didn’t leave my home in time to account for the traffic.”

 

That was an ah-ha moment for me.  It completely changed my perspective on personal accountability.  As an employer, how would I receive someone coming in late to a meeting who said, “sorry I’m late, traffic was terrible” versus someone who said, “sorry I’m late, I never left home early enough to account for the traffic.”  I want to work with the person who is showing me that they can take personal accountability.  It doesn’t excuse the fact that they are late, but they are not trying to blame something or someone else for them being late.  Thirteen years ago and that story still comes to mind whenever I hear someone not taking personal responsibility.

 

Another thing that has always stood out to me since that meeting was when David talked about consequences.  That negative word, consequences.  All my life, whenever I’ve done something wrong or bad, I’ve had to deal with those darn consequences.  But what about the times you have done something good.  What follows?  Those are consequences too, but positive ones!  I had always looked at the word, consequence, with negativity.  But in reality, there are consequences for everything we do.  It’s our own actions that determine if those are positive or negative consequences.  Today this is not just an important thing to talk about in our work environment, but as I’m raising four kids from ages 3 to 15 it has been a huge thing we have tried to teach them about too.

 

So after my conference call with my store manager I immediately emailed David Irvine and asked him to send a copy of his book to my store in Calgary.  When it arrived I explained to this particular employee that I wanted him using it for an Education Meeting.  I know that he got a lot of good out of the book because my manager told me that there were a number of occasions that he came to him to tell him something he had read about in the book.  Yesterday he did a great job with the Education Meeting.  I hope that all of my staff learned something from this great book.

 

The number one lesson that this employee thought our staff needed to learn from the book was that you always have a choice to start with yourself!