As a leader do you want to make a difference? Then aspire to change people’s lives in a way that will have a long-lasting impact. Encourage your leadership team to do something hard. To face real challenges that will transform the fabric of their being. Be willing to get dirty and do the work. Impactful change only happens when you do something you have never done before.

Last week Brian Kempisty and I guided the Port X Logistics leadership team up the mountains of Montana. The hike was not for the faint of heart; we hiked 6 miles up to an elevation of 9500ft.  The trail was steep, covered with loose gravel, and had treacherous scree ledges. It was hot and our water supply was limited. But the team persevered, pushed through every challenge, and concurred that mountain!

The Port X Logistics leadership retreat happens every year. We plan and prepare months in advance. Just like running a business you never know when you will face adversity, need to overcome an unexpected challenge, and pivot. This year we faced several unforeseen obstacles, had to make quick decisions, regroup, and change the plan.

This may sound crazy, and you may be scratching your head asking, why would anyone want to do such a thing? Here’s why, as humans, we believe stress is a dirty word. We try to avoid it, but stress can actually be a good thing because it pushes you out of your comfort zone and into extreme success. One of the most detrimental things you can do in life and business is get and stay comfortable. In order to reach your full potential, you need stress and discomfort.

When you experience discomfort, you will learn:

  • You are perfectly imperfect– when you embrace being uncomfortable you no longer fear failure. You realize failure is part of growth and you begin to accept it and the lessons it teaches you.
  • You are more likely to take risks– as you embrace being uncomfortable you begin to realize what you are capable of. You don’t know how tough you are until you try something really hard.
  • It will make you more creative– new life experiences challenges old belief systems. Creativity is essentially risky. Engaging in uncomfortable experiences forces you to see problems from a new perspective.

Getting out of your comfort zone ultimately helps you to deal with sudden and unexpected challenges. It causes you to look at things differently. You begin to welcome change because you know it increases your potential. As your fear of change diminishes you feel more motivated to succeed.

So, ask yourself, “are you playing it safe?” or are you taking risks and facing challenges that will not only change you as a leader, but also the team that follows you?

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