5 Questions About Being Uncomfortable …

Back to Back“We find comfort among those who agree with us – growth among those who don’t.”

Frank A. Clark

Sigh … ain’t it the truth?

As human beings, we seek a level of comfort in our lives.  All other things being equal, we are more attracted to and enjoy those whose worldviews, values, and general perspective on things is in line with us.

Forget that “Opposites Attract” stuff … that most often applies to sexual attraction, which has its value, but is not the primary base of a successful long-term relationship … more of a byproduct really.  While our significant others might be more or less different in their preference for and displayed strength of a number of personality traits, those core values tend to be pretty much in sync.

Clark’s point is simple and devastatingly accurate:    We grow when we are challenged, not when we are all comfy.

As leaders, we need to seek out those who make us “productively uncomfortable”.

Leaders display a willingness to walk in troubled waters, ask challenging questions, and to have their own positions and thinking challenged.   They understand the need for confrontation, disagreement, conflict, and all that might come from putting oneself consistently into interaction with those who have significantly different beliefs, positions, and values.

Thinking in leadership terms, we might ask ourselves several questions:

How do my own preferences for some thinking or behavior affect my professional growth?

How do my discomfort with some thinking or behavior affect my professional growth? 

How comfortable can I be with discomfort or even confrontation?

How well do I understand the difference between discomfort and dysfunctional?

How can I safely and effectively seek out more discomfort in my professional life?

Well, you need something to think about as the new year looms, right?  

Getting all comfortable and thinking twice about it in the Heartland ….