As a leader, it is crucial to push your people out of their comfort zone for them to expand and grow, but it is also important to know that you’re not driving them more than what they’re willing to be pushed. In this episode, host John Laurito talks about how leaders can help their team or employees do more than what they think they’re capable of without pushing them off their limits. With the right approach and encouragement, your workplace will be brimming with people who want to do as much as they can outside of their comfort zones.
[1:37] The comfort zone concept
[7:08] Let them experience with other people
[9:50] Break it up into steps
[12:10] Leading others to get out of their comfort zone
[15:35] Ask and stretch your people
[17:00] Today’s takeaways
John Over the last two decades, I’ve been on a quest to learn everything I can about leadership obsessed with what makes the best leaders so good after running companies small and large for the last 20 years. Today I speak on stages all across the world to audiences who are interested in that same question. My name’s John Laurito and I’m your host. I invite you to join me on this journey as we explore this topic. What makes the best leader so good? Welcome to tomorrow’s leader!
John All right. Welcome to today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader, where we dove deep on all things leader related related to leading yourself and leading others, I’m John Laurito, your host today, tomorrow, every day for the rest of your life. So a couple of things before we get started. One is, if you haven’t already got a chance, go down below, R\review; give me some reviews! I want some feedback. Five-stars, of course, if it’s three four, whatever. Well, if it’s five star, give a review. If it’s not, don’t give a review. How about that? In all seriousness, I appreciate your reviews. As I’ve talked about, all of that goes into the algorithms and helps get this podcast out there.
John We get tons and tons of listeners, and this thing has grown immensely over the last couple of months. And to be honest with you, I don’t even know what’s happening. I don’t know what I’m doing, but I appreciate you sharing these episodes with other people who you feel that this can value. I do not do this for any other reason than to create valuable content. I don’t make money on these things. I’m not even looking to make money on these things. I make a great living doing other stuff, but I want to ultimately provide value. The only way that I can tap into what helps you is with knowing what’s on your mind. What are the things that are keeping you up at night as a leader? One of the things that you want to learn about that are going to help you become better. So shoot me a text when you get a chance and I’d love to get from you that input.
John So here’s what I want to talk about today. I want to talk about the concept of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Not so much yourself. And actually, I’ve talked about that. I want to talk about how to help someone else step out of their comfort zone. You’ve heard me say this as a leader. This is the single most important thing that you can do for yourself as well as for others. Bottom line is, growth comes from doing things that are uncomfortable and stretching that comfort zone, but it is a lot easier said than done right. We’ve all done stuff that scares the crap out of us. At times we’ve been forced to do stuff that scares the crap out of us. Sometimes those experiences have been good. Sometimes they’ve been bad, but they shape us and they ultimately help us grow, and that’s the only way we can grow.
John So I want to I want to explore this with you a little bit. I want to give you some ideas on how to do this now. I look at a couple of different scenarios. One is and you’ve seen those videos before where people are, you know, standing on a ledge ready to bungee jump and somebody pushes them off the bridge. OK, well, I look at that is that’s the situation. If somebody was forced into that experience, not necessarily stepping up to the bridge, but the actual act of stepping off the bridge is an important part of this whole thing. If somebody pushes you and forces you, you’re losing some of what you are going to gain from taking the step yourself. And what that is is it’s confidence that comes from facing your fear and actually forcing yourself or pushing yourself versus somebody else doing it for you.
John So I’m not going to talk about that. That’s not the way to help somebody get through and grow by, get through and expanding their comfort zone is to force them. I want to talk about how you can help somebody do things they would not have been willing to do otherwise. OK, we all are programed in life from birth to avoid things that are painful. OK? When when our body feels pain, we tend. If we move our arm a certain way and it hurts, we tend to naturally, our body tells us, don’t move your arm that way. OK, we tend to do the things that ultimately, if our leg is hurting, we’re walking. We tend to limp because it takes some of the pain out of the equation. That’s just our normal, normal body’s way of reacting to pain is to avoid that. So our mind is programed to do the same thing. If something’s going to create as pain or fear, which is pain, then we are programed to try to avoid that.
John So we have to do this manual override. I mean, literally, that’s what it is. It’s a manual override to take our bodies off of autopilot. So if we leave everything on autopilot, we will leave. We will tend to go down the path of least resistance. We will tend to go down the path or make the decisions that create the least amount of pain, but ultimately that doesn’t help us grow. OK, so that’s the first point. We have to do things that are unnatural. We’ve got to push ourselves and our bodies and our minds in a totally different direction. So how do you do this? I mean, you’ve you’ve heard me tell a few different stories, and I’ve faced a lot of fears in my life from skydiving, which was a scary and thrilling experience, too. Recently, I talked about a story of jumping off of 100 foot plank in the air, which was truly the scariest physical thing I’ve ever done. For some reason, that height, 100 feet above ground, looking at the ground, you can see the ground, you could see the spot where you are going to splat if this cable doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do and stop you.
John That was scary. Oh my gosh. I told the story to somebody recently and I said, You know, this was this is one of these obstacle types of courses down in Charlotte. It was phenomenal experience. I went with my brother in law and we ended up climbing up the hundreds, the whatever it was, flights and flights of stairs. And you have to go to the edge of this ramp, this this ledge and step off. And what’s interesting is your body truly doesn’t let you do that. You’re your brain tells your body, no, don’t do this. Physically, I felt my my legs freeze up as I started to walk closer and closer to the ledge. My body just reacted in this really weird way was preventing me from physically moving. It was very weird. It was a surreal experience. It was my body, my brain overriding. I mean, literally taking control and preventing.
John It’s the natural instinct to prevent death. And I had to force myself like I was saying, I had to take it off autopilot and get my body, get my legs moving and ultimately jump off that ledge. It was truly the scariest thing I have ever, ever done. I was talking to my son, Nick about it, and I said, I want to take you there because it is truly a life changing experience. I really mean that because anything that I’m going to do now, I’m going to look back and say, Well, I did that and that scared the crap out of me. But I figured out how to push myself over that, and I felt unbelievable after I did it. I mean, this surge of confidence like I could do anything. And that’s the beauty of what happens when we step outside our comfort zone and face our fears. So here’s the interesting thing is, the magic question is how if we know this and you truly do commit to this and embrace this and believe in this, how do you get yourself to do this, let alone other people?
John And there’s a couple of things that can work very well. One is the power of doing this with other people. I will tell you if it was just me going to that obstacle course, climbing up those flights of steps, I don’t know if I could have done it, to be very honest with you. The fact that I had Jeff there, who was equally as scared as I was. Helped me master. That helped me get over that fear because I felt like, you know, as scared as I was, I look over him and he had the same expression on his face and he did the same thing with me. There was some kind of comfort in that when someone else is going through and really pushing themselves to face the fear as well. It’s a little bit empowering. It gives you this infuses you with a little bit of comfort, maybe security, maybe confidence that this other person is going through this with you. It actually does make it easier. So my first thing is think about whatever is making you uncomfortable and maybe it’s public speaking.
John Public speaking is the I think it’s still rated the number one fear for most people. Most people would rather be in the coffin than stand up and give their eulogy or give a eulogy. Truly. Now this was for me as well. Even though that’s part of my living as I go around and speak in front of large audiences at one point in time that scared the living daylights out of me. And I remember how I started was the first big presentation I did. I did it with my boss, Mike. He was the one I would. I would as part of my business that was part of our strategy. We do seminars in front of clients or potential clients. It’s geared the scared me to death to get in front of an audience and speak. So what how I did it was Mike did the presentations and then eventually I just said, OK, I’m going to do let me do one slide of this 20 slide presentation.
John Let me just do one. And then, Mike, I’m going to pass it off to you. He said, fine. That was easier. That scared the daylights out of me. But doing it with him there gave me extra comfort. It actually scared me a little bit too, because he was listening to me, but it gave me comfort to know that I didn’t have to do the whole thing that I could. It was stepping outside my comfort zone, but it wasn’t taking the huge leap. In other words, it wasn’t jumping off a 100 foot platform, it was jumping off a 10-foot platform. To me, that’s how I looked at it. So my message to you, as well as doing it was somebody else dramatically changes how you feel, but it also can minimize. It can. It can take it in a smaller step, a smaller chunk. You may not have to do the whole thing. So what I started doing is one. I did one slide. Then the next seminar I did two them. The next seminar I did three.
John The next seminar. I did half of it, then the one after that I said, Mike, you know what? Let. We do the whole thing, if I really feel like I’m, you know, messing up, I’ll pass it off to you, but let me see if I can go through this whole thing and I did. And then he did it. I did it again and he watched, and then I did it on my own. Now it’s I told. I think I told the story in another episode a long time ago, my first solo seminar without anybody there I. I was nervous. My big fear this was what prevented me was my self-talk that was working against me for doing seminars and public speaking was what if I got a question at the end from somebody and I didn’t know the answer to it. I was a financial advisor at the time, so I’m giving doing a seminar on financial planning. What if they ask me a tough question? You know, the answer to I didn’t want to feel or look stupid.
John So I planted my parents in the audience and my dad was on one side. My mom was on another. I gave them questions to ask me. I literally did softball questions and my great dad, you’re going to ask this one. Mom you’re going to as this one. And at the end, I said, OK, I got time for like a couple of questions. And sure enough, my dad I called on. Yes, sir. You in the back. And he asked the question. I knew the answer to a next question can conveniently went to my mom and then I was done. I had no more time for questions, but it was great. It worked. It was perfect. And then after that I realized, You know what? I think I can handle these questions.
John My point is it was taking steps, not giant leaps, but it was these small steps out of my comfort zone. And you know what? Before I knew it. It was like, Wow, I can’t believe how far I’ve come. I’m actually doing this now. And then it was doing audiences in front of 10, and then it was 20, then it was 30, then it was 50, then it was 100, then it was a thousand whatever 3000. And believe it or not, it’s not much difference doing in front of 50 people than it is 2000. It’s still just a room of faces. But bottom line is what I realized is these small steps ultimately added up to these giant leaps. So think about that. How for yourself or with leading other people, how can you break this monstrous, fearsome, just insurmountable task or thing that’s going to scare this person?
John How can you break it up into something that doesn’t scare them enough where they are just ready to throw up? But they’re, you know, uncomfortable and they got some, you know, butterflies in their stomach, something like that and add those together over time. That’s a great, great way to do it. But bottom line is you as the leader can impact somebody significantly. One is help push your people, don’t force them, don’t throw them into a really tough situation without their willingness to do it. And I’m not saying there’s not a time sometimes where you need to do that, but just realize you will not help that person, excuse me, help that person gain the level of confidence and ultimately the amount of growth that will come from them willingly choosing that stair step. Don’t push them off the bridge and let them work with them to take the step off the bridge. And if you have to, you do it with them.
John And that is a great, great way to do it. So just be creative as a leader. Think about this, but don’t give up on this. I’ve worked with so many leaders that I have seen transform that have went from plateauing and they were literally just in non growth mode. And the reason was not because they didn’t have the capability and potential or desire to grow. They just didn’t put it put themselves in enough situations where they could grow. They weren’t making themselves uncomfortable. They were going through every single week and and think about this, just yourself. Do you go through a whole week? Is there is what has made you uncomfortable in the last seven days? What did you do today that made you uncomfortable? Did you make a tough phone call? That was was something that was not ultimately what you were excited about or you were afraid of. Did you did you do something that made you uncomfortable?
John Did you go into a group of people that you didn’t know and start a conversation? Did you reach out to that prospective employer about a job? Did you call the CEO of that company and ask him or her for advice, whatever it is? Did you do something that made you uncomfortable? If not, then you’re not growing. You have to push yourself to do that. The last thing I will say is with regard to this and helping your people step outside their comfort zone just because they’re not willing to do one thing or one thing may scare them. Think about other ways that they can step outside their comfort zone and grow. OK, so think about if somebody has major fear is public speaking. And that’s just something that, yes, if they did and they took a step in that direction, that would help them grow and become better.
John That’s not the only avenue to help them become better. Okay. Just be creative about ways that you can challenge and push this person. Maybe it’s helping them or taking on giving them an assignment or project. That they had not managed or led before a team of people, or maybe it’s having them come up with a creative solution is something that they’ve really not had a lot of experience with. Maybe it’s helping them or putting them in charge of a problem, resolving a problem that is complex, that’s been beyond their normal scope, whatever it might be consistently as a leader, look for these opportunities to stretch your people. I will tell you, I still see this as the number one people.
John The number one reason why a people will A-level eight players leave a team or an organization is because they’re not being challenged. They don’t feel and believe me, A-level people are different than B and C, B and C may be comfortable not growing. A-level people are not comfortable that they are not comfortable unless they feel like they are challenged. They are not. They’re not living their best life and they will not stay with you. They may love you, they may love the company, but they will not stay with you if they don’t feel like they’re being stretched and pushed and challenged and ask or people that ask them, Hey, are we? Am I stretching you? Am I actually getting the most out of you, so to speak? Am I really tapping into your potential? Is there something else we can do that you feel would help you grow faster? That’s a powerful question. Think about that. There’s a lot of people that would actually have a great answer for that.
John They might know, Hey, you know what? Yeah, I would like I see this project or this goal that this or our organization has, and somebody needs to lead it. I’d like to lead it. You might not know that unless you ask the right questions or at least get them thinking about that, about ways you can help them grow. So my message today, a couple of takeaways. One easiest way to step outside or help somebody step outside their comfort zone is have someone else involved doing it with them. It’s still uncomfortable, but it’s not quite as scary as them just doing it on their own. Secondly is look for ways you can break this up. It’s not a major leap. Maybe you can break it up into a step. It’s still a step outside their comfort zone. OK, so look for ways in which you can kind of chunk it up into these smaller things that you aggregate them before you know what? They’ve grown significantly. And then lastly, ask your people, be creative.
John Think about ways in which you can help them step outside their comfort zone other than what their normal role or responsibility would allow them to do. Be creative. Think about other ways, because sometimes people kind of cap out at the role that they’re in, so to speak. They’ve mastered it. They’ve got it down. You know, if they’re used to, you know, doing one thing and they do it so well, it almost becomes muscle memory, then I have to think about it. There’s so unconsciously competent at it that they just forget they don’t even need to think about it. It just their their body and their mind. Just take over, put them in a situation where that’s not the case. Think about ways you can do that. And ultimately that’s going to result in growth.
John So I hope this was valuable for you today again. Always open your ideas and suggestions. I’d love to get tap into some of the things that are real for you, some situations that you’re dealing with. So again, pick up that phone. Text me now. Eight six zero five seven three seven two three Oh, let me know what is on your mind what you would like to learn about as a leader. I’ll make sure I’ll cover it in one of our next episodes, and I will give you props. I will make sure I say your name and tell everybody where that idea came from.
John All right, as always, like, subscribe, share all that kind of good stuff and we’ll see you next time. Thanks, everybody. Bye. Thanks for joining us on today’s episode of Tomorrow’s Leader for suggestions or inquiries about having me at your next event or personal coaching. Reach me at John@johnlaurito.com. Once again, that’s John@johnlaurito.com. Thanks. lead on!