Sunday, May 4, 2008

Help! I Am Stuck In The Comfort Zone

Happy Landing
Two MBAs, one MS, 50 years of combined experience in project/program management, resource management, financial management and client management. Skilled in communication, analysis, presentation and sales. Creative mindset, strong analytical skills and work ethic.

Wow! Sounds like a dream team. What is it that this set of individuals cannot accomplish?

The Challenge
Setup a brick/mortar business selling retail consumer food/durables. The target customer base is a fast growing ethnic group with specific food/cooking requirements that are not readily addressed by the major grocery chains. The premise is simple. Lease a location, acquire products from a wholesaler and sell to customers at a slight premium. This is not a new model - it is a proven concept. Success is contingent on location and customer service.

After months of thinking, talking, reviewing, analyzing and heehawing about this venture the dream team is stuck. They don't know how to make this happen. So what gives? They are stuck analyzing numbers and risk factors. They want to retain their day jobs (security) and find a person (superstar shop manager!) to run the shop. Such a person is almost impossible to find. And on and on goes the rationalizing of what if ..., what about ..., should we ... - analysis paralysis or more aptly intentional procrastination.

In the Zone
Bottomline is - to break through you need guts. You have to be willing to give up your comfort zone. And that is not an easy transition. I have a job - it is not very stressful, people are nice, I have a small commute, no travel is involved and it is predictable. The money is reasonable. If I keep maxing out my 401(K), I should have a reasonable retirement fund in 20 years. Life is not throbbing with excitement but it ain't shabby either. That is the dichotomy of the being stuck in the middle.

A lot of success stories involve starting with nothing. The cliche - rags to riches model. When you have nothing, obviously there is no fear of losing anything. The only driver you have is to succeed. And a desire to succeed combined with desperation has to be a potent mix. Consider the different motivation levels in these two types of success-wanna-be's. One is halfheartedly trying something on the side, knowing full well that the cost of failure is - negligible. For the broke and financially stressed - failure is not an option. It is a matter of survival.

How to Break Free
Cajones! That is what you need to step out of what is known, easy and comfortable. You have to take a risk. You have to give up what is normal. You have to believe, yes truly believe that you want more. It is a very personal battle and everyone has different thresholds. You have to find your own transition point where the comfortable becomes unbearable and the unknown comforting. That is when you break free!

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