Jim Lawless

An excerpt from a keynote Jim delivered in Barcelona in January 2020.

We have to understand how to leave this famous comfort zone. We don’t talk about this, do we?

Would you agree with this general proposition, this idea, that the rate of change around us that we are having to cope with, is faster than our human natural ability to change?

And we fill that gap…

If this was an athlete and all the other people were running faster than she was, we wouldn’t say that she’s resisting running faster. She doesn’t like running faster, she is resisting it… She is going through denial and depression… A change curve but she’ll be alright. We wouldn’t do that.

We would give her skills. We would study biomechanics and nutrition and stretching and ice baths and mental approach. We would study everything we could and we would bring her the best, so that she could catch up.

But at work… No, no, no.

We fill this gap by saying:
“Well there’s mental health issues now.”
“We’ve got resilience issues now.”
“We have burnout issues now.”

But what we never do, never ever do, have never done, is teach people the skills of leaving the comfort zone.

How many people have been asked to leave the comfort zone?
“You’ve got to leave the comfort zone.”
“You’ve got to get out there, leave the comfort zone.”

How many people have been told what the place outside of the comfort zone, where you’re supposed to go, is called?

We’re just outside the comfort zone, right? That’s it. That’s exciting.

I’m going to call this the “confusion zone”. And if we’re going to do new, wonderful things that we’ve never done before, to grow and expand and build networks in collaboration, to leave legacy, to make contribution, to hit objectives, to feed our families… then we have to leave the “comfort zone”, cross the “confusion zone” and on the other side, there’s the happy place that we were trying to get to.

For a short time and then we’re going to go again.

Because this is the new age now.