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As I mentioned last week David Peterson is the Director of Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google.

He mentioned a phrase which stuck with me: “There’s no learning in the comfort zone, and there’s no comfort in the learning zone.” Last week I talked about the first part, today I’d like to focus on the second.

Why does learning push you out of your comfort zone?

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I had a chance to see a presentation by David Peterson recently; he’s the Director of Executive Coaching & Leadership at Google. And a brilliant coach!

He mentioned a phrase which stuck with me: “There’s no learning in the comfort zone.” There’s actually a second part of the statement, but I’m going to talk about that next week.

So why would the comfort zone be a place of no learning?

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Many of my readers are really struggling right now. Loss of work, lack of direction, confusion.

I had a chance to coach someone recently who was sensing this quite profoundly. Confined to his house, without work prospects, he’s finding it hard to move forward in any useful direction.

But here’s the thing: he’s actually been given a gift.

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I’ve noticed there are industries with “innovation fatigue.” Social media has been this way, with the rate of change going faster than people can absorb. 

It wears people out.

The interesting part is that this rate of fatigue is different for each person and situation. I’ve been a tech geek for over five decades, so I tend to enjoy these innovations more than most people do.

But even I stopped looking for the ultimate word processor 25 years ago. I stopped investing in the latest and greatest laptops a bit later.

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I was recently asked about what to do when it feels like you need to change the core purpose of your business. Another person answered that “your core purpose is always to return money to your shareholders, that never changes.”

I believe that attitude is fifty years out of date.

Sure, if you choose to create a company which is merely about extracting money from your customers and giving it to your investors, fine. But that’s not the people I’m working with.

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There are many times in business where it feels like you don’t know where you’re going. Employee issues. Customers giving you grief.

It just feels like the formula isn’t working anymore.

So what do you do when it feels like a need for change somehow?

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YOU HAVE THE BIG CHANGE you’re trying to take your organization through. You’ve created the wonderful slides which explain why it’s necessary, how the org chart is changing, and even why life will be so wonderful after the change.

And then having all the employees actually change what they’re doing … it slows to a crawl. You even see instances of reverting back to the old patterns.

What the heck is going on?

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WE’D LIKE TO THINK that planning takes away all the risk. But as soon as I say that, you know it’s not true.

The world is changing. People are unpredictable. And … stuff happens.

So, while planning is useful and necessary, it doesn’t remove all the risk. So why bother?

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RUNNING A BUSINESS can feel pretty isolated.

Even when you’re surrounded by employees, teams, partners, suppliers, contractors … it can feel like the weight of the whole world is on your shoulders. Because all of them seem to look to you for direction and answers.

And you don’t want to burden your loved ones with business concerns: it seems unfair.

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THE CUSTOMER IS COMPLAINING. That employee didn’t show up for work. It’s getting near tax time and you’re not sure what that’s going to look like. And the dog needs to go to the vet.

And that’s just in the first 15 minutes this morning.

Running a successful business is a challenge every minute of every day. Guess what? The buck stops with the business owner, so it seems like you’re sucked into EVERYthing.

There’s a way to deal with this, and I’m not talking drugs.

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