As a manager, you have an example function for your team and your employees. Your behavior is being copied, probably more than you realize. If you park the newest and most luxurious car-of-business business for the year and tweet about boat holidays, sun-drenched islands and skiing holidays with more après than skiing, then do not look strange if your team does not want to work over. You radiate: I’m fine and I’m pouring money – and I do not even have to work very hard. Very motivating for your employees, to take care of yourself. If, on the other hand, you write a candid blog about what you do, what really matters and your door is always open to people with questions, then your employees are willing to help.
Of course, you know this principle, and for years you do your best to give a good example, but over time you can suffer from metal fatigue – you’re just a human being, and maybe not a “young dog” anymore. Your need for a comfortable life is getting bigger and your comfort zone is getting smaller and you find it harder to develop and motivate yourself. Then you should not look strange if your employees are also less motivated and no longer developing themselves.
As your life progresses you will discover the boundaries of your comfort zone, whether big or small, as you are confronted with tension, nerves, convictions, fears, lost dreams, pains or even traumas – the shadow of far-reaching past events. Whatever role you fulfill is successful, so many of you will want to meet the boundaries of your comfort zone.
Discover and stretch
My motto is: personal growth is business growth.
If you want to get the best out of yourself and from your organization, you will have to discover and stretch your comfort zone occasionally. Only then can you give energy to others. When it’s time to grow personally, you can take the next four steps: discovering, recognizing, becoming aware and eventually raising your comfort zone. It’s a process that does not start unless you stop it, to say Crucifix.
A warning in advance: Discovering your comfort zone takes a lot of time and, of course, never goes without pain, and does not stretch it at all. But to show how feasible it is for everyone to grow again, I describe three feasible tips to help get the process going. Nothing more and nothing less.
Tip 1: Add a diary
Talk to yourself that you keep a diary for a period of time, at least one month. Write down each day what you have done and what you thought and / or felt. You do this for yourself only, so be honest. Keep this in the agreed period, and then read what you wrote. This will be uncomfortable, but very educational: you look critically at yourself and you see better what’s wrong. This paper out-of-body experience is an enriching experience. I challenge you to give it a try.
Tip 2: Go to travel
Make inspiring and challenging trips, without your family and preferably far away. No comfortable sunny all-inclusive but a culture trip or adventure. Why? Far from your daily living environment, work and culture, you will discover your personal boundaries much sooner. During a long journey, you also have time to settle your thoughts about your comfort zone and talk to others, for example.
Tip 3: Find a master
Get your comfort zone out of masters, people outside your own organization who are beyond you. Further in the field of craftsmanship and at the same time as (self) leadership. So, find someone who manages not just his profession, but especially himself.
Ask yourself: Who do I admire? Who would I like to go up with a part of the day, to learn, to listen and to look at how that person thinks, does and lives? Do you have someone in mind? Then do you step up in him or her. Go to: Who are the inspiration sources and masters of this person? Because everyone is inspired and attracts others. Who is your master’s master?
You can go one step further: Ask that person just to be your mentor. Why not? Everyone likes to convey motivated people to their knowledge and experience. I speak from experience: two years ago I found a “master” in Jan Huijgen, a farmer and philosopher. In monthly interviews, he has given me small and bigger challenges for a year, focusing on discovering my comfort zone and my own way. Central to this was a rule from Dag Hammarskjöld’s poem: “Every time you choose your own, but you choose yourself?”
By working critically with you with these and other methods, you can prevent your inner ceiling from becoming the ceiling of your performance and that of your team. You are always an example for other people, the art is to stay a good example.