Last weekend, I definitely departed my Comfort Zone – I went on a 3-day, 3-night canoe camping trip. You need to know that I’m not a camping guy. Not really an outdoors kinda guy. So to leave civilization behind to paddle canoes and sleep in tents is a pretty major event for me.
I was very hesitant to go, worried about back pain and sprained ankles. I have no gear, so I had to scrounge up stuff from the bottom of my closet. I knew the weather was going to be blistering hot. So believe me, when I say this was a real challenge for me, though I understand it may seem small stuff to you.
But I survived and enjoyed the journey. I feel better about myself and even have a new appreciation for my stamina and willingness to jump into the unknown. But here’s the best lesson I learned: Get Out Of The Canoe!
The river we were on had barbed wire fences every so often. We had to approach them in the right way, catch the wire on our paddles and lift it over our ducked heads. Failure meant ripped skin and tipped boats. Fences were certainly the adrenaline moments of the trip.
The guy I was with, who was steering in the rear of the canoe was an expert, done it a million times. But when we approached the fence, it seemed like he didn’t realize how urgent the situation was. I’m looking for him to shout the direction, take action. But he seemed to be slow in the face of the impending crisis.
Now we always got through, but not in the way I expected. After several fences, it dawned on me why my guide was so nonchalant. You see, the water was only about 2 to 3 feet deep. So if we missed our approach and weren’t going to make it, he would GET OUT OF THE BOAT. He’d step out and grab the canoe and stop us, then lead us through the wire slowly and carefully. He knew what I had forgotten – that I could change the game, step outside of the situation and re-design the moment.
As business owners, we are a lot like that – we focus so much on the moment, the work, the demands of the business, that our vision tunnels and we can only see the crisis. We forget that we can get out of the boat. We can step back and look at what’s working and what’s not. We can change ourselves and re-design our businesses. That’s also why having a coach is so valuable. Someone who sees a bigger picture can lead you through the sharp edges. That’s what working ON your business is all about.