From Comfort to Growth
The biggest business inhibitor to growth is to not take calculated risks. It takes courage for a salon owner to step out of their comfort zone into the fear zone. The rewards for those that do however are great. The level of financial success for a salon is determined by the foresight of the business model. The effectiveness of the business model is determined by the quality of the business plan. The success of the business plan is determined by shear courage and the ability to step outside your comfort zone to implement the plan.
The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk.
For some, this information may make you feel uncomfortable. If that is so, it’s achieved its objective. It’s a subject that warrants an entire book or all-day seminar. I will attempt to cover the primary points with suggested solutions in this article.
A maxim of life is that a person or business cannot stand still because challenge, excitement and change are heading towards us at great speed.
When you review the current state of the beauty industry, a high percent of salons are not making a profit. Some are breaking even or just making a small profit. Very few are what I call flourishing. It appears the pioneers that are making serious profits have done so by looking outside their comfort zone and in many cases outside our industry.
There’s an old English adage dating back to the 16th century that says:
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
It essentially means if we don’t engage in new experiences, we don’t gain new perspectives. And this still holds true today.
From the ancient sailors who weathered storms to explore new lands to the modern digital entrepreneurs who’ve built remote online businesses, life continues to reward those who venture into the unknown. Why? Because they’re the ones who were willing to get uncomfortable. They’re the ones who’ve embraced discomfort and the true nature of the human experience: An always-changing, ever-evolving, growing process.
If you stay in your comfort zone you will be safe, unfortunately you will also have regrets. This is a time for a clear concise application of your vision. We must have the courage to set our sights very high, so high in fact, that even failure will have in it an echo of glory.
So why aren’t some salons growing at double digit levels?
They are not growing at that pace because they don’t get uncomfortable. They are not growing because they don’t engage in new experiences. They are stagnant, and way too deep into their comfort zone. The salon owners are not growing because every shackle clung onto your comfort to try and ‘keep you safe’ continues to hold you back.
Here’s what needs to be realized: Almost everything you need to achieve high goals requires new skills, habits, knowledge, experiences and risks. To go from where you are to where you want to be with your salon, you must do things you’ve never done before. You must be willing to get uncomfortable because discomfort is the only path to growth.There is no other way.
The truth is, to really ascend and completely evolve your business, you have to not only be okay with discomfort, you have to fall in love with the journey it bears with it. Discomfort isn’t a moment in time, it’s a passage in time. It’s a way of living—of continuously working through tension points to release their grip on you rather than shying away from the tension itself.
In short: extraordinary growth demands a new you and a new way of thinking. The degree to which a person and salon can grow, is directly proportional to the level of risk they take.
Let’s explore the three things keeping us in our comfort zone and how to break free from them, so we can leap into the growth zone and stay there.
What’s Holding You Back from Leaping Forward?
Your comfort zone is tempting. It’s a comfy couch that calls you over, wraps you with warmth, and then sucks you deeper into its core. It’s seductive. But linger in it too long and it becomes harder to stand up again—the gravitational pull is too strong. That’s the reason you stay stagnant and don’t have double digit growth.
When you’re not moving, you’re not exploring. And when you’re not engaging in new experiences, you’re not learning or building new skills—your salon is just existing in time, but not evolving through it.
Not venturing, not gaining.
The Comfort Pull
There are three tension points that keep us cemented in our comfort zones: Our mindset, overthinking fear, and a lack of action.
You need a vision and goal for your business that inspires you. For a goal to matter, it has to stretch you and evolve the salon business. For you to stretch with it, you have to first believe you can achieve that goal.
In other words, you need to work from a ‘growth mindset,’ which is based on the belief your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others. Your qualities, confidence, and capabilities are not fixed; they are mobile. They evolve, just like you do.
Change your mindset
There are two points here.
First, you want your salon vision to inspire you. To make you feel so excited about the future of your business. The goal of launching your vision for your salon and seeing it grow is inspiring.
Second, you want to nurture a growth mindset.
The view you adopt about yourself profoundly affects the way you think, how you think affects the decisions you make and the way you lead your life, and the way you lead your life affects the vision and mindset of your salon business.
The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.
Fear of the unknown, uncertainty and failure. Fear is the second reason the harness continues to tug you back.
Some people are afraid of what the unknown change will bring with it, but have you considered that change is the constant? Whether you create it or not, change will happen. The safety of your comfort zone is just an illusion because the unknown is always just that—an unknown. You might’ve thought that your business was safe and then the unknown arrived in the form of a pandemic. Your life and business can change in an instant.
The comfort pull is so strong because of the perceived risk of failure and a lack of control. But that’s not how life works—we can only control a small degree of it.
Stop overthinking—work with fear, not against it.
Fear only rises when we are interested in an action that scares us.
Fear equals interest because we only feel it when we’re dealing with something we truly care about.
Your fear of uncertainty, failure, or the unknown, is an indicator. It means you’re consciously trying to make change happen, and so resistance presents itself in the form of fear or self-doubt to try and stop you.
That’s the tension you need to dissolve; and you do so by working with it, not against it. You reframe fear into an equally intense emotion. You lean into it and allow it to motivate you, not shrink you. You match its negative intensity of “I am afraid” with another equally intense positive emotion: “I am excited.”
In part due to your mindset, and in part due to your fearful overthinking, you are now left powerless. The pull of comfort is far greater than the pull of growth.
Take action—bridge the “unknown” gap.
When you drive late at night, can you see what lies way ahead of you? No. You see only as far as your headlights beam, yet you drive in peace and faith because you have your destination in mind and you know the next miles will reveal themselves to you as you approach them.
The same principle applies in life: All you need is a goal; the map reveals itself to you as you begin walking the path. No one expects you to know the exact steps you’re going to take. Life doesn’t work that way.
You bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be one small step at a time.
How to Get Out of a Comfort Zone
The irony of the comfort zone is this:
You will most likely not be willing to step out of your comfort zone and into discomfort until you are extremely uncomfortable with the comfort zone itself.
When your comfort zone becomes so uncomfortable, that’s when the spark is lit. That’s when you need to step up to the stage and ignite the fire. That’s when the new version of you needs to show up.
Discomfort in the status quo is a sign that it’s time to make a change, and discomfort demands a new version of you to show up.
We tend to think discomfort is our enemy. But what if we changed the lens we’re looking through? What if we began to see discomfort for what it is: Our ally.
Discomfort in our comfort zone is the sign that it’s time for us to get really uncomfortable and then fully step forward into our growth zone.
I learned this when I realized it was time for me to leave the comfort of my parent’s place and move to Israel for a year when I was 16. It was the most thrilling and exciting adventure and I went back home a different person.
That’s the power of discomfort—it pushes you away from the perils of comfort and pulls you into a bliss growth.
So how do you step out of your comfort zone?
Here are eight steps you can follow.
The 8 Steps That Will Get You Out of Your Comfort Zone and into Your Growth Zone
- Show up. Get so uncomfortable being in your comfort zone and realize all you’ve done thus far has brought you to where you are today, so where you want to go will demand a totally new version of you to start showing up.
- Reflect on your motivations and get clear on why you are ready to step out of this zone. Also, consider what would happen to your salon business in a few years if you don’t take action today to change that status quo.
- Write down your goal. What’s the vision and direction you want for your salon? Is it ambitious? Remind yourself every single day of the goal and why you want to achieve it.
- Shift your identity. A goal is not just about the achievement, it’s about the person you become because of it. Every new goal demands a new version of you to show up. See yourself today and behave as who you wish to become tomorrow.
- Build up your growth mindset. Accept the idea that you can figure it out, you canmake it happen, and once you take one small action in the direction of your goal, all the “unknowns” will start to reveal themselves to you. Train yourself to value growth over comfort, learning over familiarity, and failure and effort over not trying.
- Reframe fear into excitement. Discomfort is the way forward—there is no other way. As you continue to walk the path, you will gain experience and experience is what teaches you how to better manage those emotions.
- Move and take one step after another. Action begets clarity. Once you know what it is you want, you now have a direction to move into.
- Surround yourself with a supportive group of people. Keep company with the ones who have the skills and attributes to support your salon vision.
Summary and Conclusion
In the comfort zone, which is where most of us spend our time, life feels safe. But everything we dream of becoming lies in the growth zone. In that second zone, you will feel vulnerable and afraid and insecure, but in the struggle, that’s where the magic happens. That’s where the growth and learning take place. That’s where you and your salon business evolve.
Change begins when we recognize living in this familiar zone is much worse than the discomfort of stepping outside of it. Lean into the experience and don’t shrink back because you have to go through the realm of discomfort to get what you want in business—there is no other way.
Psychologist Abraham Maslow once wrote “you will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety.” If you step into growth, in the long run, it will equip you with the skills, knowledge, and experience that will lead you to safety.
Between where your salon is today and where you want it to be—who you are today and who you want to become—there’s discomfort. It’s the passage that carries you forward. Embrace it, and you will bloom. Shun it away, and you will shrink.
As the saying goes:
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”
Plant your feet firmly in the growth zone and don’t look back. Devise an ambitious strategic blueprint for your business and demand a new version of you to work in the growth zone. Whenever you feel under pressure, crushed or in darkness, you are in a powerful place of transformation. Trust the process and live in the growth zone.
Success is not a matter of chance, it’s a matter of choice. Change will not come if we wait for some other time or stay in our comfort zone. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek! At the core of every great salon sits an ideology. You are always one decision away from a totally different life and business. No matter how dark it is out there, or deep in the valley you are, look to the mountain top.