My heart nearly burst out of my chest the first time I did interval training.
I was following a new plan that promised I’d become stronger and faster, with less chance of injury. The plan included interval training, which alternates between fast and slow paces. The idea is to push completely out of your comfort zone, to become stronger and more efficient.
But faster? I wasn’t convinced. Especially because I could barely catch my breath after the first lap. But as the weeks progressed, I stopped dreading my interval workouts and began to look forward to them. And I did get faster on all my runs. I craved the pain of pushing, knowing it was making me stronger.
It made me think: Was there a way to do intervals at work that would make my business stronger?
There will always be tasks we don’t want to do. It’s easy to procrastinate, but this doesn’t solve the issue. Rather, it increases the potential of harming our business.
So, I started my own challenge: A few mornings a week, I listed the tasks I didn’t want to do and forced myself to do them first. Just like the running interval, this pushed me out of my comfort zone. But it helped both me and my company get stronger.
CASE IN POINT
Take dissatisfied customers, for example. No one wants to call them, especially when we know they’ll be confrontational. But if you don’t, the customer will likely cancel. I forced myself to call this group and learned how to think of it as not a problem, but a chance to provide a solution. Plus, these calls gave me valuable insights into how customers viewed my service. In most cases, the complaints turned into an opportunity to improve.
No pain, no gain.
Another out-of-comfort-zone example: Our employees are the most valuable assets we have in our companies. My dad always said if we have great employees, we have a great company. Of course, the reverse is also true.
I manage people with positivity and praise. But there are times when more is needed. Employees need to know when they’re not meeting company standards and be given training and support to meet them. And if they don’t? I need to push through a difficult conversation and let them go.
There were even harder decisions I needed to push through during the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants and hospitality were our biggest markets. Overnight, the vast majority of our customers suspended service. I hated the idea of letting anyone go. But the numbers don’t lie, and I had to make these decisions to save the company. Luckily, as business returned, I was able to rehire those great employees.
Pushing out of your comfort zone is hard. But they make us stronger and smarter. They make those easy stretches of our business path feel effortless, yet prepare us to handle any obstacles that get in our way.
They help our business grow with every step.
Have a great run!