Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone
Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone. A Post By Pat Rigsby
This week was the 10th Anniversary of me leaving my first career as a college baseball coach and starting down the path in fitness that led me to where I am today so I decided I’d share some thoughts on building the business / life you want.
My entire life I’d wanted to be a baseball player or baseball coach. Baseball was what had initially peaked my interest in strength & conditioning as I was undersized for the position I played – catcher. So when I became the youngest head coach in the country at the age of 23 I thought I was on the fast track to a Hall of Fame coaching career.
My first couple of seasons as a coach I tried to be something I wasn’t. I tried to model a successful coach I admired in spite of the fact that we didn’t have a lot in common when it came to strengths or personality traits. I tried to do things in the same way our competition was doing them in spite of the fact that I had lesser resources and a fraction of the experience they had.
We still made progress – but by the end of year two it became clear that the program would never get where I wanted it to go with the ‘me too’ approach.
So I decided then and there to be different.
I’d always been someone who looked for the extra edge and competitive advantages that others ignored. I’m not sure whether it was fear or something else – but to this point I’d not really taken this approach as a Head Baseball Coach. I guess I was afraid to do things differently since I was so young – but after realizing that we’d never be as good as the competition by doing things the same way they did them – I committed to transforming our program into something different that played to my strengths and the school’s strengths.
It immediately paid dividends – through a completely different approach to our style of play, our recruiting and our player development we quickly became a nationally ranked program. In my 3rd year with this ‘new’ approach we finished 5th at the World Series in spite of the fact that we had 1.7 (yes 1.7) scholarships while every other team competing in the World Series had 12 (the maximum allowable amount.)
Ironically, this point was the beginning of the end of my time as a baseball coach. The fact that our program enjoyed this type of success while having such limited resources became a story in a few media outlets. I added fuel to the fire as I played up the underdog role. The Vice President at the University was less than thrilled with the attention this topic was getting. I was now public enemy number 1 in his eyes – and admittedly, I didn’t help the cause. I didn’t like the bureaucracy that came along with working at a State University. Instead of settling for the resources the University provided, I fundraised like crazy and went directly to the President for help – jumping right past the chain of command.
I coached one more season and we again enjoyed success, but fell short of another trip to the World Series. The President who’d become my ally left the University and the Vice President who I’d become adversaries with started working on running me out of town. My budget immediately got cut by 1/3 and he basically put me on notice that I was going to play by his rules or I was going to be gone.
There’s a famous quote from a former NFL coaches “There’s two kinds of coaches, those that are fired and those that are gonna be fired.” I pretty much knew that my days were numbered, but like most people I was afraid of change. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to keep coaching as the bureaucracy was not something I ever really came to terms with. Did I want to spend my entire life working in that sort of environment?
Being my own boss really appealed to me – but coaching was all I’d ever known. Baseball and Strength & Conditioning were the only things I really liked. My identity was being a baseball coach. I’d been on TV commercials, billboards and even had a little radio show for a while. (To this day – when I go back to my hometown people will often ask me where I’m coaching.) At the time I tried to rationalize sticking around for one more season by thinking that if we got back to the World Series I’d be a candidate for better jobs at the end of the season.
The Vice President decided he wanted to accelerate my departure so he decided to force my hand. He asked me to resign and offered me a nice little severance. He made it clear that if didn’t take this deal he was going to run me out one way or another.
My Big Decision
Ironically, the picture on my office wall said “You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first base”, but with few exceptions I’d spent most of my time firmly rooted in my comfort zone.
But now, my comfort zone was gone in an instant. Most of us talk about the things we’d like to do or might do – but most of those things never happen because we stay in our comfort zone. Now mine was gone so I had no excuses. The choice now wasn’t “should I leave for another coaching job?” – it was now “Are you going to keep coaching?”
I immediately had some job offers – but did I want to stay with what I knew and all that came with it – or did I want to take a risk and try to become a business owner?
I didn’t know business – sure, I’d run plenty of camps and done some training to make a little extra money – but that was nothing like running a real business.
Honestly, fear was the only thing holding me back from taking that leap. The fear of failure. The fear of embarrassment. The fear of the unknown.
I got past that by saying that I could always go back to coaching. I’d stay in contact with my friends that were coaches to keep that door open – but I was about to turn 30 and didn’t have a family to worry about putting at risk – so if there was ever a time, this was it.
Opportunity vs. Security
Since then I’ve moved to 6 different places where I didn’t really know anyone. Along with Nick, we’ve done things that no one else was doing time and time again.
From selling training on EFT using 12 month contracts in Elizabethtown, KY where about 10 people in the entire town had actually ever worked with a personal trainer…
…To developing the first ever fitness franchise (maybe first ever franchise period) that actually allowed franchisees to keep their individuality and enjoy all the benefits of being an independent while working with us to enjoy proven systems and extraordinary support that through a franchise we can provide.
Along the way I’ve realized that you can’t do anything extraordinary without taking some risk. You can either settle for average and enjoy security or you can strive for greatness and go after the opportunity.
I look back at my time as a coach – and we really never enjoyed real success until I took a risk and started doing things differently than everyone else was doing them.
I can’t imagine someone enjoying their job more than I do now – but it would have never happened if I hadn’t left my comfort zone of coaching baseball. It would have been easy for me to go jump into another coaching job and continued doing what I’d always done…but fortunately I didn’t.
As I’ve mentioned any number of times – there have been any number of bumps along the way. Holly, Tyler and I lived in a basement for a year. Nick and I had to dig ourselves out of a huge hole a bad business deal left us in early on. But as far as I’m concerned, those types of obstacles are designed to weed out the ones who don’t really want it. Only the people not willing to settle are willing to jump over all the hurdles on the path to success.
Are You In A Comfort Zone?
I don’t know where you are in your business. Whether you’re in a job you’ve wanted to leave for a while or owning your own successful business. The only thing I can assume is that if you’re reading this – you want to own a great training business. You want to deliver a great service, earn a substantial income and have freedom to enjoy it. Hopefully you want to leave a legacy too. Make a difference and leave your area or this industry better than you found it.
Well, if that’s true – I can tell you one thing without question:
You will need to leave your comfort zone to do it. Probably more than once or twice.
You’ll be uncomfortable. You’ll be uncertain.
That’s okay – greatness doesn’t come with a guarantee.
Every bit of success that I’ve enjoyed has come by stepping out of my comfort zone.
All the people I’ve studied that have achieved truly great things – they stepped out of their comfort zone to get there as well.
So if you want something big to be your destination, the journey begins with stepping out of your comfort zone.
Dedicated to Your Success,