Think about the last time you made a major change in your life or your business.
What was it that compelled you to make such a big life decision? What was the motivation behind it? What was it that made you say, "I have to make a change?" Was it an outside event that pushed you to make that change?
More often than not, it's the pain and pressure of something outside our control that forces us to make changes. And yet there are some of us who prepare for such coming change by regularly stepping out of our comfort zones and performing the difficult tasks that stave off the pain and pressure - or prevent them altogether.
The way I look at life, there are three zones:
The Comfort Zone.
This is where most of us live our lives. Life is good in the comfort zone. We're not pushed, or stressed. Each of us has our own comfort zone. We know where it is. We feel it. We're relaxed and happy when we're in it.
But from time to time, we must visit...
The Stress Zone.
This is an uncomfortable place. We don't like it. It's full of unpleasantness.
Whenever we find ourselves in the stress zone, we want to get out of it as quickly as possible. We leap back into the comfort zone. Ahhhh, that's better. We feel warm and safe again.
But that's exactly the problem. In order to be successful, we need to stop feeling warm and safe. We need to do things we don't necessarily feel like doing.
Let's look at an example. Let's say your income isn't where you want it to be. One day, you decide to work expired listings.
You pick up the phone to call an expired listing. Bam! You're in the stress zone when the person on the other end of the phone is rude or abrupt to you. Suddenly, you're way outside your comfort zone. Your stomach churns. Your palms sweat. Your fingers tremble.
Or let's imagine that not only is your income not where you want it to be, but you're drowning in debt. The collectors are calling. You're getting nasty certified letters in the mail informing you of a pending lawsuit.
Guess what? You just entered:
The Pain and Pressure Zone.
This is the disastrous land beyond the stress zone. This is a territory of true misery - and you're being forced into it. You can't ignore it anymore!
Here's what is so ironic about this: part is that the reason you're now in the pain and pressure zone is because you spent too much time in the comfort zone, not doing the work in the stress zone that would have saved you from entering the pain and pressure zone.
Does that encourage you to get on the phone and call a few more expired listings? Will you endure some little visits to the stress zone rather than eventually being forced to live in the pain and pressure zone?
The unfortunate fact is that most people make big life changes only when they suddenly find themselves in the pain and pressure zone. But you don't have to wait until that awful zone comes knocking on your door. You can take active steps to avoid misery.
Smoking is a great example of this. A man who has smoked all his life goes to the doctor about a bad cough. He finds out he has a spot on his lung.
Suddenly, this man is in the pain and pressure zone. He has no choice. He's being forced into it. Perhaps he could have avoided it by stepping out of his comfort zone years ago by quitting smoking. Yes, he would have placed himself in the stress zone for a while. But it may have been a lot better than the situation he finds himself in now.
We all get there eventually. We all have that breaking point. We all realize that we have to put our comfort aside and do the difficult work that it takes to dig ourselves out of our troubles.
If you're not willing to experience a little stress in the accomplishment of your goals, then you cannot be a success in real estate. If you stay in your comfort zone, you will never make the income you need to sustain your life.
Many self-help authors and speakers promote the idea of loving what you do every minute of every day. That's fine, but the truth of life is that there are a lot of business tasks you're not going to love.
Sorry, but that's just reality. Income does not come from warm and fuzzy feelings. Income comes from hard work and struggling against difficult odds.
Remember, it only takes a moment to be thrust into the pain and pressure zone. None of us know when that moment is going to arrive. We must always be prepared for it. We must get out of our comfort zones and hop into stress zones to get done the things we need to get done.
Seriously, do something stressful today. Call an expired listing. Prepare for an open house. Get your follow-up in order. Put together your mailers. Get your tools up to date. Organize your office.
The great thing about putting some consistent work in the stress zone is that you will be rewarded for it. There is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from tackling difficult work.
Now go pick something stressful that you've been putting off. Get it done right now! Hurry! Go!