‘… RISE TO THE CHALLENGE AND BUILD CONFIDENCE’ part two
by Andy Molinsky
Published by Avery Publishing Group
eBook ISBN: 9780399574030
Copyright (c) 2017 by Andy Molinsky
“As you can probably tell, I have always been both inspired by these sorts of messages and frustrated by them. I love the idea that we all have a comfort zone—a place where we feel capable and at ease—but that stretching outside this comfort zone is critical in many cases for achieving our goals—or, in terms of the picture above—to get where the magic happens. That’s the fascinating part.
The frustrating part is that I’ve always felt a bit hopeless trying to apply this logic to lessons in my own life. And I suspect that others probably have been too. For starters, I’ve always found the diagram with the two circles representing “your comfort zone” and “where the magic happens” to be extraordinarily incomplete. Where, for example, is the bridge between the two circles? In other words, how do you actually get from one place to another? It’s nice to think that it’s as easy as a fish jumping from one bowl to another, but I know from personal experience that this simply is not the case. Stretching outside your comfort zone takes serious effort and work. You need motivation for sure—and I do find many of the messages on the Internet to be quite inspirational. But motivation alone doesn’t seal the deal. What’s truly lacking is a concrete road map about the “how”—how to move from a place of fear, paralysis, and avoidance to the point of actually being willing and able to take that leap and start a more positive cycle of learning and development.
We often feel overwhelmed—sometimes even hopeless—when we have to act outside our comfort zones. But the reality is that we face a set of very predictable and identifiable challenges—and we can overcome these challenges by following the guidelines outlined in this book. This book will explain why it’s so hard to act outside your comfort zone and help you develop the courage and ability to flex your behavior with success. The framework in the book is not one size fits all; rather, it is personalized and customized to the particular challenges that you happen to face in any situation you find yourself.
MY OWN JOURNEY
Probably like many of you, I have been struggling with this issue of behavior flexing throughout my own adult life, sometimes taking a leap and going for it, and other times crafting my life or my job to unfortunately avoid opportunities that could have potentially led to real growth and development. For example, in college, I was afraid of saying anything in class, and therefore ended up choosing mostly lecture-style courses where classroom participation wasn’t an important part of the agenda. I was also afraid of stretching my skills and trying something “more professional” outside of school and during the summers, even though I was certainly curious about the “real” world. As a result, I taught tennis and was a summer camp counselor—both were rewarding experiences, but neither really enabled me to explore the world of business, which interested me and, at the same time, felt unfamiliar and scary. In my first job as a professor, I was quite tentative in faculty meetings—just like in college. I wasn’t sure what to say, or whether what I thought I wanted to say had any merit. I was also pretty intimidated by the senior faculty, worried they would scrutinize my every word.
And even now, as a senior faculty member at a different school, I feel the struggle of adjusting my behavior in different domains. Public speaking—especially to business audiences—has been a challenge I’ve had to overcome. It’s especially challenging when I have to convince busy executives of the importance of topics like acting outside your comfort zone. I have had to learn to be more direct and authoritative, to project confidence in a way that isn’t necessarily my go-to demeanor. I’ve also had to learn to schmooze and network, when I’d much prefer to meet people one on one over coffee, or even connect via Skype.
I feel like I’m constantly navigating my own personal comfort zone—and from what I hear from others, I know I’m not alone. In fact, as a university professor, I have been studying this topic in one way or another for the past fifteen years. I started this work with a project about organizational change at two distinct types of organizations: a Fortune 500 corporation and a metropolitan teaching hospital. While doing this work, I was struck by the difficulties employees in these organizations experienced during the change process and by how much of that struggle was rooted in having to deviate from intuitive patterns of behavior. In the ensuing years, I became fascinated by this idea of acting outside your comfort zone and studied it in two very different settings.
The first was in the context of having to perform what my research collaborator and I called “necessary evils” at work—situations where people had to cause physical and/or emotional pain and discomfort to others as part of their professional position. We studied managers firing and laying off employees, police officers serving warrants or evicting people from their homes, doctors delivering negative diagnoses to patients or performing painful procedures, and tough-love therapists at addiction facilities humiliating and embarrassing addicts with the goal of rehabilitating them. In each case, the professionals in these settings struggled to perform tasks at work that were necessary in order to achieve the mission of their organization or the responsibilities of their jobs, but that were deeply uncomfortable. And to succeed, they needed to find a way to successfully flex their behavior, ideally in a way that helped them achieve their professional objective but that didn’t make them feel like they were losing themselves in the process.
Do you feel comfortable delivering bad news? Do you look forward to speaking in public? Do you enjoy networking? Is it easy for you to speak your mind and be assertive with friends and colleagues? If you answered no to any of these questions, this book can help!
What often sets successful people apart is their willingness to do things most of us fear. Whats more, we have the false notion that successful people like to do these things, when the truth is that successful people have simply found their own way to do them.
According to Andy Molinsky, an expert on behavior in the business world, there are five key challenges underlying our avoidance tendencies: authenticity, competence, resentment, likability, and morality. Does the new behavior youre attempting feel authentic to you? Is it the right thing to do? Answering these questions will help identify the gapin our behavioral style that we can then bridge by using the three Cs: Clarity, Conviction, and Customization. Perhaps most interesting, Molinsky has discovered that many people who confront what they were avoiding come to realize that they actually enjoy it, and can even be good at it.
Short, prescriptive, and based not only on the authors groundbreaking research but on his own quest to get out of his comfort zone, Reach will help you take the thing you are most afraid of doing and make it a proud part of your personal repertoire.
Andy Molinsky is a professor of organizational behavior at Brandeis University’s International Business School, specializing in behavior change and cross-cultural interaction in business settings. He holds a B.A. in international relations, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Brown University; an M.A. in international business from Columbia University; and an M.A. in psychology and a Ph.D. in organizational behavior from Harvard University. Molinsky regularly writes for the
Harvard Business Review and was named one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices of 2016.His work has been featured in The Economist, Fast Company, Fortune, Financial Times, The Boston Globe, NPR, and the Voice of America. His first book, Global Dexterity (Harvard Business Review Press, 2013), received the Axiom Award (Silver Medal) for Best Business Book in International Business & Globalization and has been used widely in organizations around the world, including Boeing, AIG, the U.S. Air Force Academy, and the Clinton Foundation, among others. He speaks regularly to a wide range of professional audiences.
This week’s selection ‘REACH: A NEW STRATEGY TO HELP YOU STEP OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE, RISE TO THE CHALLENGE AND BUILD CONFIDENCE’ by Andy Molinsky appears Monday thru Friday and comes to you courtesy of dearreader.com and BurlingtonPublicLibrary.ca Business Online Book Club.