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I’ve noticed that beauty often comes in attention to the details. The kitchen utensil that does its job perfectly every time. The keyboard that I use constantly. The location of the shift lever in my car. The layout of the website that just makes sense.

It’s kind of crazy, yes, but these things matter a great deal.

But how do you keep this design sense from becoming all-consuming? Because we can spend WAY too much time obsessing about stuff that really doesn’t matter that much.

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I’ve been taking some training recently on a tool which helps distinguish the different types of thinking and action we all have. There are a lot of different assessment models out there in the coaching world, and this one uses a model of five archetypes.

In our discussion today, I was pondering how these different innate preferences tend to exacerbate conflicts and misunderstandings.

It seems that we all want others to think like we do! It’s logical, right?

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When we want employees to learn something, we send them to a class.

It’s not the worst thing to do, but that’s not the way adults learn new things. It’s a paradigm that’s copied from the system we developed in the 1800s to teach millions of children to become factory workers.

Do YOU have your best growth by sitting in a class? Probably not.

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For most of us, 2020 was a brutal year. I’m hopeful that 2021 will be better, but it’s going to be a slow improvement, likely with many false starts and surprises.

So how do we remain optimistic in an environment like this? It’s about the learning.

Challenges, problems and failures provide a richer learning environment than when things go well. I find that a bit annoying, but it’s true. It’s about being observant and thoughtful despite the emotional turmoil of things not going according to plan.

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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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This should be an easy question to answer, right? You’re the boss, so you’re steering the ship!

But there’s a good chance that when I listen to you, I’m hearing you mention a lot of other people. The employee who called in sick. Those customers who just keep demanding. The weather. The government.

I get it, I really do. It feels like I’m just a tiny boat on the water, at the mercy of anything and everything.

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Cleaning up after a meeting, I asked, “where’s your recycling?”

I wasn’t that surprised to find out they had no recycling bin in that office, so I simply took the can home with me. No big deal.

I wasn’t trying to be “that annoying guy with an agenda”, but trying to move the needle, even fractionally.

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Do you have the whole world figured out? I sure don’t.

There are days when I’m not sure I understand anything.

That’s where it pays to be curious. Like a child.

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I’ve written profiles for about 80 values-driven businesses, and one of them shut down last week. As I think about it, there are probably 7 or 8 which have failed in the last five years.

That’s better than average, actually, as the SBA estimated that 95% of startups don’t survive their first five years. But it’s not a comforting thought.

As someone who is trying to do something special, even world-changing, in your business, why don’t statistics like this cause you to just give up?

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