Your Comfort Zone Will Kill You

A harsh statement, for sure, inspired by a sign I saw on the way to band rehearsal, but it speaks to many truths in the accounting space.

The idea of leaving one’s zone of comfort, by nature, sparks hesitation. And, if we’re being honest, when it comes to accounting, what most are comfortable doing is what is known and what works, despite whether it is “better” or, conversely, detrimental.

But if you’ve spoken to me recently or read some of my writings of late, you know my theories on doing uncomfortable things, even living in that feeling, in order for improvements to be made to accountants’ professional lives. Change in and of itself is this big, lofty concept, but in smaller, even uncomfortable bites, it can and will happen if you will it. Moreover, leaving that comfort zone you’ve either built or resided in is what needs to happen if you want your business to survive and, of course, thrive.

Look at it this way: Is this zone of comfort one in which you feel you can be creative, solve problems, run your business (yes, your practice is a business), and truly live your best life-work balance scenario? Maybe you don’t even see it that way, and that work is something that happens to you and not something you can shape and control. Guess what? That’s your comfort zone talking.

You’ve created or continue to reside in a world in which, despite all the flaws around you, it “feels” safe and known. As such, anything outside of that, with due reason, seems unsafe and perhaps even wrong. Unfortunately, it is that very thinking that will prevent you, and even your clients, from experiencing any level of growth or improvement.

Back to my point, doing and living in what you know and are comfortable with is all well and good to a point. But should you have any wish for your life, your work, and everything that is associated with it to improve, it may be time to start taking steps outside of your comfort zone.

In my last article on this topic, we called it the “stretch zone,” a place that should not be one of panic or pain but is still uncomfortable and different. That is OK; embrace it, get to know it, and take more control. I dare say you will find things like how technology or new methods of working can indeed help.

I get that most accountants, by nature, aren’t entrepreneurs. If they were, they’d know that comfort zones aren’t places you want to stay for very long. So, when many of you finally emerge from your “busy” season cocoons, make a list of the things you may wish to change or improve.

It won’t be easy; it will be uncomfortable (there’s that word again), but trust in the process, and that feeling of being out on a limb lets you know it’s working.

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