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Achieve Success by Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

Achieve Success by Stepping out of Your Comfort Zone

You have two choices when taking on a project that you feel is beyond your expertise. You can succumb to the fear of failure and walk away or see it as an opportunity to challenge yourself and develop new skills.

Overcome your doubts by focusing on a successful outcome, developing a positive attitude and following a structured plan.

Here is a guideline to help you take on any task or project.

Get a firm understanding of what you are trying to achieve

Define the goal of the project and condense it to its core objective. It will give you a succinct idea of what actions you need to take to achieve this objective.

Also, take a cursory inventory of the milestones, people and skills that will be involved in reaching your objective.

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    Doubts come from facing the unknown. Encapsulating important information gives you an easy reference to keep you confident and focused.

    Focus on the “what” and not the “how”

    People clutter their brain with an over emphasis on maintaining a budget, delegating people and using complicated project management tools

    Remove yourself from the “how” mindset and become a visionary. Sit back, take what you know from your early notes and come up with an image of what you want to accomplish. Visualize success.

    Confidence in your abilities will come from focusing on the certainty of success, not the possibility of failure.

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    Feel confident about your work experience and talents

    Skills are transferable and your unique qualities will strengthen any endeavour.

    People define a great career by the ever-increasing amount of faith and responsibility given to an employee over many years of service. Consequently, you challenge an employee with tasks outside their comfort zone to test if they are ready to be leaders.

    A new generation of executives and managers are becoming jacks-of-all-trades and masters of some. You may not be able to draw a straight line, but if having that skill is important to the project, odds are you will learn how to do it.

    Maximize every interaction with your manager or client

    A lack of feedback will magnify your fears. In most cases, you are building on ideas and products other people have already developed. Use that to your advantage and do not frustrate yourself by trying to reinvent the wheel. Instead, work with the people that have built the foundation of the project. In the end, they are your most critical audience.

    Being dismissive and closed-minded makes your job harder. Take time to digest the material you have gathered, and come back to the decision makers to ask questions that are more specific. This helps guarantee you are making the right decisions.

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    Be aggressive but diplomatic in getting the answers you need. Carefully construct your questions and be adaptable to the answers even if it is not what you want to hear.

    Commit to your plan of attack

    People over think creative endeavours, they wander from one idea to another. However, they never take in to account the chaos this type of flip-flopping causes along the way.

    Be flexible, but at all costs try to stick to your original vision. Once you are dedicated to the path and destination, your job is to delegate, manage and deploy to get there.

    Contribute when you can and ask for help when you cannot

    If you are not artistic, but more of a right brain thinker, you may feel sheepish about offering your opinion on aesthetic issues. However, try to remember that everyone fills different need on a team.

    Ultimately, a good team blends the best of everyone’s talents, and what skill one person lacks the other brings to the project. Your job is to guide them, trust their input, offer your knowledge and lastly, help them flesh out your ideas.

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    Use the internet

    Take your time and see what others have accomplished with similar projects. Inspire yourself with the achievements of others, but beware the many dangers of plagiarism.

    Draw from the many assets your company has to offer

    Make a general request across the company for help.

    This type of crowd sourcing reduces cost by keeping everything in house. It also exposes internal talent, and brings in fresh ideas to any endeavour.

    Remember, it is natural to be hesitant when presented with what first appears to be an overwhelming project. However, you can overcome this challenge by confirming your objectives, believing in your skills, drawing confidence from your experience and standing firmly behind your choices.

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    The Power of Ritual: Conquer Procrastination, Time Wasters and Laziness

    Life is wasted in the in-between times. The time between when your alarm first rings and when you finally decide to get out of bed. The time between when you sit at your desk and when productive work begins. The time between making a decision and doing something about it.

    Slowly, your day is whittled away from all the unused in-between moments. Eventually, time wasters, laziness, and procrastination get the better of you.

    The solution to reclaim these lost middle moments is by creating rituals. Every culture on earth uses rituals to transfer information and encode behaviors that are deemed important. Personal rituals can help you build a better pattern for handling everything from how you wake up to how you work.

    Unfortunately, when most people see rituals, they see pointless superstitions. Indeed, many rituals are based on a primitive understanding of the world. But by building personal rituals, you get to encode the behaviors you feel are important and cut out the wasted middle moments.

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    Program Your Own Algorithms

    Another way of viewing rituals is by seeing them as computer algorithms. An algorithm is a set of instructions that is repeated to get a result.

    Some algorithms are highly efficient, sorting or searching millions of pieces of data in a few seconds. Other algorithms are bulky and awkward, taking hours to do the same task.

    By forming rituals, you are building algorithms for your behavior. Take the delayed and painful pattern of waking up, debating whether to sleep in for another two minutes, hitting the snooze button, repeat until almost late for work. This could be reprogrammed to get out of bed immediately, without debating your decision.

    How to Form a Ritual

    I’ve set up personal rituals for myself for handling e-mail, waking up each morning, writing articles, and reading books. Far from making me inflexible, these rituals give me a useful default pattern that works best 99% of the time. Whenever my current ritual won’t work, I’m always free to stop using it.

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    Forming a ritual isn’t too difficult, and the same principles for changing habits apply:

    1. Write out your sequence of behavior. I suggest starting with a simple ritual of only 3-4 steps maximum. Wait until you’ve established a ritual before you try to add new steps.
    2. Commit to following your ritual for thirty days. This step will take the idea and condition it into your nervous system as a habit.
    3. Define a clear trigger. When does your ritual start? A ritual to wake up is easy—the sound of your alarm clock will work. As for what triggers you to go to the gym, read a book or answer e-mail—you’ll have to decide.
    4. Tweak the Pattern. Your algorithm probably won’t be perfectly efficient the first time. Making a few tweaks after the first 30-day trial can make your ritual more useful.

    Ways to Use a Ritual

    Based on the above ideas, here are some ways you could implement your own rituals:

    1. Waking Up

    Set up a morning ritual for when you wake up and the next few things you do immediately afterward. To combat the grogginess after immediately waking up, my solution is to do a few pushups right after getting out of bed. After that, I sneak in ninety minutes of reading before getting ready for morning classes.

    2. Web Usage

    How often do you answer e-mail, look at Google Reader, or check Facebook each day? I found by taking all my daily internet needs and compressing them into one, highly-efficient ritual, I was able to cut off 75% of my web time without losing any communication.

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    3. Reading

    How much time do you get to read books? If your library isn’t as large as you’d like, you might want to consider the rituals you use for reading. Programming a few steps to trigger yourself to read instead of watching television or during a break in your day can chew through dozens of books each year.

    4. Friendliness

    Rituals can also help with communication. Set up a ritual of starting a conversation when you have opportunities to meet people.

    5. Working

    One of the hardest barriers when overcoming procrastination is building up a concentrated flow. Building those steps into a ritual can allow you to quickly start working or continue working after an interruption.

    6. Going to the gym

    If exercising is a struggle, encoding a ritual can remove a lot of the difficulty. Set up a quick ritual for going to exercise right after work or when you wake up.

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    7. Exercise

    Even within your workouts, you can have rituals. Spacing the time between runs or reps with a certain number of breaths can remove the guesswork. Forming a ritual of doing certain exercises in a particular order can save time.

    8. Sleeping

    Form a calming ritual in the last 30-60 minutes of your day before you go to bed. This will help slow yourself down and make falling asleep much easier. Especially if you plan to get up full of energy in the morning, it will help if you remove insomnia.

    8. Weekly Reviews

    The weekly review is a big part of the GTD system. By making a simple ritual checklist for my weekly review, I can get the most out of this exercise in less time. Originally, I did holistic reviews where I wrote my thoughts on the week and progress as a whole. Now, I narrow my focus toward specific plans, ideas, and measurements.

    Final Thoughts

    We all want to be productive. But time wasters, procrastination, and laziness sometimes get the better of us. If you’re facing such difficulties, don’t be afraid to make use of these rituals to help you conquer them.

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    Featured photo credit: RODOLFO BARRETO via unsplash.com

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