I was reminded this week about just how important stepping outside your comfort zone is not only your business growth but for your personal growth. You absolutely have to do it if you are to succeed in this life. Taking on smaller challenges as they occur, will make it so much easier when something big comes along that you have to face. That might be a big challenge or even a big opportunity. Both of these will almost always require you to step outside your comfort zone.
My granddaughter Jordan had her first day at middle school this past Wednesday. Making that transition from elementary school was scary not only for her but for most of her friends. She started to worry months ago about getting her locker open quickly since she had never had a locker before. Then there was the school itself; it was much bigger, and she would have to change classes this year. There were going to be a lot of challenges and “firsts” for her.
We took some steps to help her out, as did the school at a lengthy orientation. We purchased a combination lock for her to “practice on”. The school had the kids take their schedules with them to orientation and locate their classes ahead of time. On the first day of school, the janitor would magically appear if one of those darn lockers “got stuck” and the new student needed help. There were many other things that took place to ensure that these students would be successful at navigating these changes. And all of these little things were designed to build their confidence so that when the “next big step” in their life came along, they would know that they could handle it.
The 3 P’s
This whole experience reminded me of how we as adults and business people should live our lives. Here three things you need for success:
Most of the time, luck has very little to do with success. Success happens when preparation meets opportunity. I don’t know a single successful entrepreneur that isn’t committed to lifelong learning. Once you have determined exactly where you want to go, make a detailed plan to get there. Study and learn what you need to know; fill in the gaps in your knowledge so you will be prepared when opportunity unexpectedly smacks you in the face.
You wouldn’t hang out at a bowling alley every night if you wanted to be a star baseball player, so choose your networking opportunities with this in mind. I’m not suggesting you give up things you like doing, but schedule time to network with like-minded folks whether that is at your local REIA meeting, NAWBO (the National Association of Women Business Owners), Toastmasters or another business group in your area that interests you. You might also consider more informal lunch meetings with other entrepreneurs to just brainstorm. They don’t necessarily have to be real estate investors. If you have a friend that is passionate about SEO, take him to lunch one day and see how you can share information.
There is great power in mastermind groups. I belong to one along with 5 other people from different parts the country. Everyone in my group is a real estate investor, but they come from very different backgrounds and have different skill sets. Some even have another business not related to real estate. We have a monthly conference call that lasts somewhere between 90 minutes to 2 hours each time. We each have time to talk about what we are working on in our businesses, what we hope to accomplish and challenges or problems we are facing. We brainstorm about product creation and marketing.
It’s really hard to put into words the great things that happen as a result of being part of a mastermind group. Someone not connected to your business can often quickly see a solution a problem you are having; they may have already faced this same challenge. Your knowledge will grow at a phenomenal rate when you belong to a mastermind group. These folks will hold you accountable for what you say you are going to do therefore your business will also grow at a much faster rate than if you were going it alone. And let’s face it; we all know that it’s great to have someone to pump you up when you hit a rough patch.