We all like to stay in our comfort zone. We get used to things, we form habits, we know what we like and the natural thing to do is keep things working as smooth as possible. In fact, many of us have a goal or ultimate destination to make enough money to “be comfortable”. Is living comfortably a goal anyone should have? Is it fun or rewarding to live comfortable all the time? Some of us think it will be fun to be comfortable all the time and not have to worry about anything. But if you look back at your life and the most memorable moments, did they happen when you were comfortable? I highly doubt it and I highly doubt being comfortable all the time would be fun for most of us. Instead of striving to be comfortable, look for ways to be uncomfortable.
Is it crazy to want to be uncomfortable?
Most people do not like to be uncomfortable. They do not like to try new things, go to new places or take chances. The main reason for this is we don’t know what will happen when we get out of our comfort zone. If we have done something 100 times, then we have a pretty good idea what will happen the next time we do it. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional football player, an accountant, a real estate investor, a public speaker, a teacher or engineer. If you have experience doing something and completing tasks, you have an idea of how things will go when you have to complete those tasks again. If you have been an engineer your entire life, but want to start investing it can be very intimidating because you have never done it. Even though engineers have a huge advantage when investing because of their background with numbers. Look at dancing with the starts and how professional athletes who are amazing in their perspective sports look like they have two left feet on the dance floor! At least they do when they start, but many of them practice like crazy and learn to dance.
It is not just the professional athletes that end up being good dancers, most of the contestants on dancing shows become decent, if not great dancers. They were able to become good at something that was completely out of their comfort zone because they were willing to practice and try. It is probably one of the most fun experiences for the people to be on shows like that where they start out horrible and progress to presentable or even great. We can’t all be on dancing with the stars, but we can all definitely do things that take us out of our comfort zone. Most of us are able to get out of our comfort zone without the entire world watching us do it on TV! Being uncomfortable may make us nervous, uneasy and fear for the worst, but it also can be exhilarating, fun and make us more successful.
What things do I remember the most and have been the most fun?
When I look back at my life the things I remember the most and were the most fun were the scariest. When I was safe in my comfort zone I don’t remember much of anything. When I really succeeded at work and made huge breakthroughs it was not while I was in my comfort zone waiting for something to happen. Here’s a list of some of the things I am willing to share publicly.
- Buying cars out-of-state. Since I was in high school I have looked for great deals on cars. I bought a corvette, multiple Toyota Supra’s, a Porsche 928, an Audi S4 and a Lamborghini Diablo from different states (Florida, Oregon, Oklahoma, New York, Washington, California). I bought the Diablo and Audi without ever seeing the cars in person. I bought those cars in different locations, because I saved money and was able to find the cars I wanted. It was an awesome experience traveling to see the cars, in some cases driving them across the country or seeing them show up in a truck for the first time.
- Having twins. I don’t know how many guys ever admit they are ready to have kids, but at some point you have to go for it. Having twins was scary and I had no clue what it would be like. Having kids has been awesome and worth the sleepless nights, screaming, fighting and added responsibilities. I think almost anyone who has kids will tell you they are the best thing they ever did with their life. It is definitely not easy to have kids and will take you way out of your comfort zone!
- Getting married. I remember my wedding well, but I was not looking forward to a giant party, getting dressed up, standing up in front of hundreds of people and trying to talk to hold meaningful conversation with long-lost relatives. Even though I was way out of my comfort zone, the wedding was a blast! We even took dance lessons and had our first dance to “Fly me to the Moon”. The DJ played a different version than we had practiced to for months, but no one noticed we were frazzled and way off the beat.
- Taking over my father’s business. When I took Jack Canfield coaching my coach made look at changes that would make the biggest difference in my life. I knew one of those changes was taking over the business from my dad. At the time, I thought to myself it would be impossible to take over the business. There is too much work with payroll, management, expenses and we would have to come up with a price I would pay. I had no idea if my dad even wanted to sell. In the end I started looking at the process and what it would take. I talked to my dad and he said he had been waiting for me to ask him to take over. It went fairly smooth after the lawyers and accountants stopped arguing about how to structure things and it was one of the best decisions I have made business wise. It can be scary being the only one in charge and taking full responsibility, but also very rewarding and it makes it much easier to do business.
- Buying rentals. I wanted to buy rental properties for years before I finally pulled the trigger. Things kept coming up like getting married, moving to a new house and real estate income can be very up and down. When I bought my first rental my wife was pregnant with twins. That was a little stressful, but it worked out great and I wish I would have started much sooner.
- Buying a 500,000 flip. I am pretty successful, but that does not mean I sit back and relax. I am in the process of buying a flip for $500,000. For some people it is not a big deal, because they deal in that price range all the time. I usually buy my flips for less than $150,000 so it is a big deal for me. It is scary buying a flip for this much money, but also exciting and new.
- Writing a blog. I had not written anything since college and I decided to start a blog. I published articles that were full of typos and written horribly (I am slightly better now). People still liked what I had to write and it was really cool getting emails from people saying how I had helped them.
- Starting a podcast. I started a podcast this year and that was tough for me. I am not a super out going person and I was nervous doing podcasts for other shows where all I had to do was answer a few questions. Doing my own podcast where I had to ask the questions and direct the show was a bigger jump. But it has been a ton of fun and I have met some really awesome guests.
- Doing live webinars. I have started doing live webinars which is also out of my comfort zone. Imagine talking about a certain subject for almost an hour with no interaction. I hope people stuck around and liked what I was talking about, but really I don’t know until I am done. My first webinar was a huge success and most people did stick around! I am doing another webinar this week!
- Calling people. I have always tried to avoid the phone as much as possible. I try to communicate via email, but that is not always possible. I am starting up a new mentoring program and I have to be on the phone with people. This takes me out of my comfort zone for sure, but it also is rewarding. I am realizing the phone can be a great tool and it is fun to talk to people as well. It also improves my business and coaching.
- Going to conferences. I went to my first real estate conference by myself with no clue what to expect. It was awesome. I learned a ton and made many friends. I probably would not have met nearly as many people if I had went with someone and was not forced to meet new people.
- Going to Australia and Europe. After college and then a few years later I took trips to Europe and Australia. I went by myself and they were both awesome experiences.
- Speaking at a conference. I spoke at a REO conference a couple of years ago. It was way out of my comfort zone. I used to dread the teacher calling on me in class, so imagine how I felt about public speaking. I decided I had to get over my fears and I spoke on a panel with four other people in front of about 300 people. It was nerve racking, but I felt awesome after I was done.
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Why getting out of your comfort zone helps you be happier
Doing all of these things were not easy. I second guessed myself before I did them and in some cases they did not work out perfectly. However, in almost all cases I felt good having done something that I was scared to do. How often do we regret doing something that we were scared of (as long as it was not something completely stupid that someone dared you to do)? Usually we regret the things we didn’t do, because we were scared, worried about what others would think or didn’t want to take the time to learn.
The things most worth doing in life do not come easily to us.
Why getting out of your comfort zone makes you more successful
Not only does getting out of your comfort zone make you happier, feel more accomplished and give you more memories, it makes you more successful. Most people work for someone else, they want a steady paycheck and a secure job. The most successful people start their own business, they take chances and they do not rely on others for their success. I think people should also realize working for someone else is not always secure. Someone else decides if you should keep your job not you. When you work for yourself you can’t be fired.
Some of the things that have made me successful were very hard to do. I already mentioned taking over the business from my father. Here are a few others:
- Hiring people. I have 10 people on my team and it is tough deciding to take on that many people. While it costs money to hire that many people, they make my life much easier and make me more money than if I was doing this on my own.
- Buying houses with no inspection. I buy almost every house without an inspection clause now. It is risky, but I know houses so well that I can see most problems without an inspection. I also can get a much better deal by removing the inspection contingency.
- Buying a lot of flips. I have 11 flips right now! It is tough to have that many going at once, but I hired a project manager to help me speed up my repair times.
- Buying 100 rentals. Creating a goal to buy 100 rentals was out of my comfort zone. Writing about it for thousands of people to see was even more of a challenge. But that goals has made me buy more properties, learn more and be more successful.
Most people will stay in their comfort zone unless absolutely forced to get out. If you look back at your life and what you remember the most and had the most fun doing, it probably happened when you were challenged and doing something you weren’t used to. When you make it a point to do things that are different, new and challenging life becomes a lot more fun. Do you really just want to be “comfortable in life”?