Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

As a property developer, investor and business owner, I’ve seen that one of the most detrimental things you can do in your life is to stay comfortable and refuse to step outside of your normal everyday routine. We have all done it, where we start to think that if we step outside our comfort zone, that something bad might happen. It’s often called the fear of the unknown. I’ve learned the hard way that staying comfortable will eventually bring you more pain and stress in the long term. The only person that can prevent this from happening is you. For example, when I was 25 years old, I was finishing up working at a Kings Cross nightclub that was soon to be closing. I was fortunate that one of the owners of the business, a successful entrepreneur, served as a mentor to me, who I always looked up to that motivated me to go out and run my own show. However, I still contemplated for a long time whether to step out on my own and many people encouraged me to stay “safe” and “secure” and to find another job. Fortunately, there were no jobs available for me to take in the nightclub industry and I was left with no choice but to take the leap into entrepreneurship and open my own nightclub! That particular business ended up being short lived due to a legislative hurdle, however it taught me so much about starting a business. From then on I have bought and built many businesses till this day. I haven’t looked back since as it was my best decision I ever made to get out of my comfort zone and experience business on my own terms.

I am now 33 years old and have faced many adversities throughout my business life. The challenges of running my own businesses do not stop as I encounter problems on a daily basis. I have learned to enjoy being uncomfortable as I have now embraced risk and struggle as it is all part of the process in progressing. When you learn from that knowledge and experience, you’ll find your purpose in business, despite the turbulence around you. To get to this point, you must continually step out of your comfort zone. The comfort zone, as defined by Lifehacker, is “Behavioural space where your activities and behaviours fit a routine and pattern that minimises stress and risk” – key words being STRESS and RISK. When we step outside our comfort zone, we’re taking a risk, and opening ourselves up to the possibility of stress and anxiety. I have learnt to crave stress and anxiety as I am now conditioned to know that success could possibly be around the corner. My worst case scenario is that if I fail, then I can take a lesson away from it. Too many people care too much about what other people think, and will get embarrassed if they fail. Society tells us we should fear failure, however if we never fail then we never learn. Some of the most successful people in the world have failed many times more than the average person, however remain to be the most influential in their specific field.

One of the main factors of why people do not step outside their comfort zones when it comes to property investing is because of fear. Fear, in combination with a lack of knowledge and education can force people to remain in their comfort zones and ultimately do nothing. This is one of the reasons why so many people are unsuccessful with their dream property portfolios. They constantly ask themselves, “what if the market tanks?” or “what if interest rates rise?”. These concerns usually take over the whole investment process and people will sometimes look at the easiest option to just do nothing at all. In actual fact this can be the biggest loss of potential profits if looked at in the long-term!

We live in the luckiest country in the world, with some of the high quality standard of living, with the greatest opportunities and access to the best resources. It is evident that one of the reasons many do not achieve a level of success is because we are not forced to step out of our comfort zones as life is too good as it is. We are very fortunate to live in a country that is envied by foreigners, however it may be our curse as it does not push many of us to take action to take the leap out of our comfort zones in order to break through barriers to success. This explains why so many people stay working in jobs that they despise and continue to just dream about financial freedom.

I relate business success to physical fitness quite a lot as I have experienced positive results in both. If our bodies adapt to the same workouts, we become comfortable as our bodies recognise the stress and is prepared for the physical activity. To push through a plateau, we must get comfortable being uncomfortable. We need to embrace pain, then we will see change. For example, let’s picture yourself doing a bench press workout. Let’s assume you can comfortably perform ten repetitions on your own before you start failing. On your last set you decide to engage a spotter to watch over you for encouragement and support as you are tired from your workout and just want to play it safe. You perform your usual ten repetitions with reasonable ease and expect to finish as your workout is now finished. However, before you can rack the weight, your spotter yells at you to do one more. You struggle, but you manage to just get the bar up off your chest. Then, your spotter bends down and screams “ONE MORE!” You painfully oblige, however you can’t feel your chest and your arms are about to fall off. With some assistance you manage to get the 12th repetition out. Now your spotter says “this is the last one and that’s it! I’ll spot you if you fail”. You attempt to perform the painful exercise outside of your comfort zone, however you fail halfway up the movement and are helped to safety from the spotter. Where do you think the most growth occurred throughout the exercise? The last 13th attempted repetition. It is very similar in business, when you reach that breaking point, that is where you will usually see change.

Procrastination is ultimately the biggest killer when it comes to property investing. Sometimes the whole finance process is a little intimidating or the lack of education is contributing to having a fear of the unknown. Taking the first step and taking action can sometimes be the only hurdle to move forward. Most of the greatest lessons in property investing are learnt by taking risks and living outside of your comfort zone. Surround yourself with others who have succeeded before and strive to educate yourself to help minimise or eliminate fear. Just like in the gym, find yourself a property investment or business spotter! Being around these types of spotters will help you expand your knowledge and your capabilities that will make you grow as a person. Learn to be UNCOMFORTABLE.