​We have all heard the mantra: Get out of your comfort zone if you want to succeed.

            We all know that - but as is the case with many things we know we should do, many of us just don’t do them. We tend to stay in our comfort zones, stick to what is familiar, and as a result never reach our true potential.

            Making ourseleves uncomfortable is, well, not very comfortable! But if we are willing to move outside our comfort zones, we can achieve more than we can by staying stuck in our much more familiar (and comfortable), routines and way of living.

            That is true if you are a businessman, an athlete, a general laborer…or even if you are a nun.

                        “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.” – Jillian Michaels

            Mother Teresa was renowed in her remarable life for being a champion of the poor. She devoted decades and decades to helping the poorest people in the world survive. Her work is well documented and legendary, and a big part of that work was travelling the world to spread her message and help raise funds for her charity.

            That often involved flying on airplanes of course. Mother Teresa was often seen on them during the course of her travels, and more times than not, she was sitting in first class.

            Now…why was that? Well routinely when she was seen by airline employees, Mother Teresa was bumped into first class so she could be more comfortable (even though her charitable organization purchased economy tickets for her). But as the main voice of helping the poor, and as a person who was willing to live in the humblest of conditions with the world’s poorest people, wouldn’t the mere “optics” of sitting in first class look bad for her and her charity? And as someone who was clearly uncomfortable with the excess greed and luxury that many of the world lived in while so many millions starved, wouldn’t Mother Teresa be uncomfortable just sitting in the first class section on a plane?

            Perhaps the optics of her sitting up front did make her look bad in some people’s eyes. Perhaps she was uncomfortable in being seated in the better seats. But there was a more private reason that Mother Teresa accepted being in first class when she travelled, and it had nothing to do with the treatment she received in the first class area.

            Who sits in first class on an airplane? People with money. People with money that could help her cause. And over the course of those long flights, Mother Teresa met people who eventually became big financial contributors to her cause – some as soon as the flight had landed!

            She met wealthy philantropists on many of those flights. She had a chance to interact and state her cause to some very influential people. If she had been seated in the last row, that opportunity would be lost. Who is more likely to write a big check on an airline flight – the people in the last row or the people in first class? Think about it.

            Mother Teresa put herself in a position to further the success of her charity by being in a section she may have been uncomfortable being in.

      “If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.” – John Maxwell

            Great athletes know all about being in discomfort. One of the NHL’s greatest goal scorers of all-time was Phil Esposito, who scored 717 goals in his remarkable 18-year career. He is one of the top goal scorers of all-time in fact.

            Other players had more talent. Other players were better athletes (by far actually!) Other players had better shooting skills. But as anybody who watched the great Esposito play can tell you, he scored a lot of his goals because he wasn’t afraid to “go to the net” unlike a lot of other players who won’t pay that price.

            Placing yourself in front of the opposition’s goal isn’t easy. It isn’t comfortable. You get slashed, hacked at and physically manhandled by big defencemen. But you also get a lot of rebounds. You also get a lot more chances. And you also score a lot more goals if you are willing to pay that price.

            Like Mother Teresa, Espo put himself in position to succeed by going to the best place to be to get that success. If you want to get big donations, go to where the rich people sit. If you want to score more goals in hockey, go to the net where there are more chances.

            It’s not comfortable to leave your comfort zone – but that’s where your greatest success is waiting for you. Mother Teresa was more comfortable sitting with the poor. Phil Esposito was more comfortable shooting from 30 feet out. But the truly great success they had came from their willingness to make themselves uncomfortable.

             That is true of anybody in any walk of life. Even you.

                   “Greatness begins beyond your comfort zone.” – Robin Sharma

            Thank you very much for reading! Our TEAMMATES podcasts with Chris DePiero, Jim Rooney and Roger Lajoie are available at http://www.rogerlajoie.com/teammates.html. You can follow our daily Twitter tweets on Twitter and Facebook posts @TeammatesTrio. For more information on our personal developing coaching and courses, please email teammates@rogers.com. We are always happy to help you discover the many ways to make YOUR life better by having a TEAMMATE on your side.

            Have a great week!​


Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Just ask Mother Teresa and Espo!

Copyright © Roger Lajoie 


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