Yet, those windows of time in which we are feeling acute discomfort are often the times we experience the greatest growth - when trying to learn physics, or when training for that half marathon, or when interviewing for that coveted job, or when pressing to complete that major project. It seems those times of heightened cortisol and adrenalin levels (i.e., discomfort) are the precursors of significant changes/epiphanies/accomplishments.
When judiciously applied, discomfort can push us to new levels of thinking and new levels of performance.
How can we strategically introduce a bit of discomfort?
- Push ourselves, or our organization, to learn something new. Invest heavily in new learning - from our competitors, from our customers, from those in completely different fields of endeavor.
- Allow and promote risk taking. And model it. Try on new assignments or projects. Assign the same to others. Cross train within the organization.
- Open the door to visitors. Be transparent, open the skeletal closets, then ask those visitors about what they saw/felt/heard/smelled. Process that feedback carefully.
- Make principle-centered behavior the standard. Not profit, not prestige, not protectionism. Be willing to take losses by standing on principle. And, protect others who do the same.
To be sure, comfort is easier. But, on the other side of discomfort is our best chance for excellence.