In an ever-changing world, where we are all increasingly confronted with difficult conversations, it would be easy to retreat and go back to our comfort zones. But growth does not happen here; it happens when you are uncomfortable, and you are pushed to find a way through. Being in uncomfortable situations has contributed enormously to today’s guest, Rich Grant’s, professional and personal growth. As the Director of Business Development for GO, Growth Operators, Rich’s path to the role was not a conventional one because he did not come from a finance or consulting background. Rather than dwelling on this, Rich realized that his skills, albeit different from his colleagues, are equally as valuable. We begin this episode by hearing more about some of these uncomfortable situations Rich has found himself in and the lessons he has taken away. From there, we move onto the topic of diversity. As a Black man in a predominantly white industry, Rich realizes that his background and experiences are unlike anyone else’s. He stresses the importance of diverse stories and perspectives in work environments. There is a symbiosis between colleagues where everyone has value to bring, but this calls for greater inclusion of voices that have been marginalized. We then turn our attention to a different side of discomfort – being vulnerable. It can be hard to admit when you do not have particular knowledge, but this humility and openness to learning is where Rich believes we grow. This was an incredible conversation, so be sure to tune in!
Key Points From This Episode:
- How Rich has used uncomfortable situations to propel his professional growth.
- A story of a time where Rich found himself out of his depth and found a way to make it work.
- The power of asking questions and taking a personal interest in people.
- Rich’s experience of being a Black man in a generally homogenous industry, and tips for other minorities in similar situations.
- Why it’s so important to have diverse thinking in a workspace.
- The mutual sharing and learning benefits that come with a diverse work environment.
- Some views, like racism, are deal-breakers, but a difference of opinion is not one of those things.
- If you cannot face difficult conversations, it’s not possible to progress and move forward.
- What Rich means by ‘thinking independently together,’ and why he thinks it’s a valuable approach
- Put yourself in uncomfortable situations so that you can grow personally and professionally
[00:00:01] ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Branch Out, a Connection Builders podcast. Helping middle-market professionals connect, grow and excel in their careers. Through a series of conversations with leading professionals, we share stories and insights to take your career to the next level. A successful career begins with meaningful connections.
[00:00:21] AD: Hey everyone, welcome to Branch Out. I’m your host, Alex Drost. Wow! Can you believe we’re on episode 10 already? I have to say these have been incredibly fun to host and we really appreciate the support of our listeners. If you like what you hear, we ask that you take a moment to leave us a review on iTunes and share a podcast with your network. This really helps out with our visibility. More importantly, we want to hear from you. We talk a lot about the value of feedback on the show and we at Connection Builders believe that feedback is fundamental to successful growth. What do you like about the show? Where do you see opportunities for us to improve? Reach out to me, Alex Drost, through email or LinkedIn. We’d love to hear from you.
All right, on to today’s guest, Rich Grant, director of business development for GO, Growth Operators. The title of today’s episode is Getting Comfortable in Uncomfortable Situations. Now we focus on professional growth and development on the Branch Out podcast, and certainly much of our conversation and dialogue today tie back to this very focus. However, there is so much more that can be taken away from what Rich and I discuss. This is one of those episodes that I hope you’ll really sit back and absorb. Hope you all enjoy.
[00:01:38] ANNOUNCER: Connect and grow your network. We are on LinkedIn. Search for Connection Builders.
[00:01:46] AD: Rich, welcome to Branch Out. Excited for our conversation today.
[00:01:50] RG: Excited to be here, excited to chat with you today.
[00:01:53] AD: Rich, a few weeks ago you and I were having a conversation. You said something I thought that was really powerful. You said the key to your professional success has been getting comfortable in uncomfortable situations. Can you start by unpacking that a little bit for our listeners?
[00:02:09] RG: Yeah, I mean that’s something that I think about all the time. Part of it comes from a sports background and thinking about dealing with adversity and competition, but a lot of it really stems to the room that you’re in. Might be a room that you personally don’t know where you fit in, right? You don’t know where you belong you.
And I have met through being a part of an association that really fosters networking and creating opportunities in the middle market business world, but my first foray into the room came from a media perspective, right? I was a guy that was essentially an advertising, and to an extent when I first started content creation wasn’t big. That’s what I did in this room full of people that are representing middle market companies, full of people that are buying middle market companies, full of people that are working inside of those businesses as intermediaries and here I am. What do I bring to this conversation? What do I do to foster relationships in this room even though I’m not actually doing the stuff that these guys are doing and the reason why they’re into them.
[00:03:24] AD: I like what you said there, you’re going to find yourself in positions where you’re in a room where maybe you don’t necessarily feel like you fit in, where you don’t necessarily feel like you’re on par with everyone else there or that you have the same kind of experience or the same backgrounds as everyone there. But part of business development, part of being a professional in general is learning how just simply to get comfortable there. Can you share any thoughts about where you step back and say, “Wow, I remember the first time I went here and I felt like I was way out of place. I shouldn’t have been there.” And then over time you’ve built those relationships and built that confidence up for yourself personally as well, where now it’s part of what you do it’s. It’s where you fit in. You are a part of that group now.
[00:04:09] RG: Yeah. I mean I think back to, honestly, the very first major conference I attended in the space. I was a month and a half into being into this world. Now I’m a guy that has worked in the advertising world, into the software as service world, and the media world, but I’ve never worked in a financial adjacent role, right? Here I am at a conference focused around middle market investors where you have investment bankers, lenders, accounting firms, private equity firms and I barely – I might have been two months into actually knowing in depth what private equity even represented to be completely honest.
So here I am at this conference and I didn’t know who he was at the time, but I would find out shortly after. The president of a very large middle market lender out of Chicago comes over to the booth that I’m manning solo and I don’t know what to talk about. I’m completely disarmed because this guy comes, “Oh yeah, we’ve been in this a few times.” And to be completely honest, I didn’t know who he was and I didn’t know who his firm was. Being a new guy, I hadn’t seen that.
So what I did was I took a step back and I let him know that I knew very little about his firm and let him teach me, right? I took a step back. I humbled myself and I let him teach me about his firm. And guess what? We ended up having a 25-minute conversation, just him and I, right? And it was purely about what they do, what I do, what my background is, and trying to figure out a way that we could have a relationship going forward.
So part of the getting comfortable being uncomfortable is a level of humility. I was forced to humble myself. The biggest thing that I could have done wrong in that situation was pretend to know something I do not know.
[00:06:07] AD: You hit on something so important there. And for our listeners, especially those that are earlier in their career or changing into a different role where you maybe don’t fully understand either the business line that you are directly selling or the client that you’re interacting with, I think so many times people approach this with you have to have the right answers and you have to know what to say. In the end, we’re all figuring it out. No one has it all figured out already, and you can build such strong relationships just simply by asking questions about the other person and just hearing what they have to say.
[00:06:50] RG: Absolutely. I mean to be kind of funny, one thing I go to, and it’s a tidbit that I use as connecting point, is I always like to ask people where they went to school. Because, again, tying back to the sports background, if I can figure out where you went to school and I know them in a sports context, I have something that I may be able to relate to you with. Maybe you’re not interested in sports at all, but I can throw out like, “Oh, you went to Notre Dame. Oh, fighting Irish. Okay. I know that school,” right? Or there’re some smaller schools, St. Thomas in Minneapolis. They’re not a major sports institution, but I’ve heard of them because of sports and the ability that they’ve displayed across Division III. In the markets I go to, I’m meeting all kinds of different people. It’s a great icebreaker. It’s not a check the box show off, “Oh, I went to this Ivy league school or I went to this school.” It’s, “Okay. Is there something we can relate to on that level?” And if there’s a school I’ve never heard of, you can tell me all about it.
[00:07:54] AD: You said it so well there. It’s finding common ground. It’s finding some way to relate with the other person, right? And at its core, when you’re building those connections, that human to human relationship, it’s not about talking about how you can do business together it’s not about talking about what specialty you bring to the table or how you’re going to help them. It’s talking about what are they as a human? What are they interested in? What brought them to where they are today? And getting to know them and finding that common ground where you both have something that you can relate to. And that’s the foundation of the relationship. Then you can share how you add value. Then you can talk about those other things. But that’s not the starting point right. That’s not where you dive in.
[00:08:37] RG: Yep, that’s a great point. And something else that I think about often in that getting comfortable in a room that I don’t necessarily know I belong in is I’m a black male in a pretty homogeneous community, right? There are not a lot of other black males in this middle market community I’m in. And that’s a another issue that is hopefully going to be addressed due to the times and just due to being overdue, but that automatically puts me in a position where, “Hey, there probably are not a lot of people that have had the same life experience or professional experience I have.” So I can’t just go back to, “Oh, we relate on this level and that level. I need to share some of who I am and what I bring to the table in terms of value almost right away,” right? Whether it’s fair or not, it’s something that I feel. But again it’s not something where I’m going to try to impress anybody. It’s sort of an honesty of, “Hey, this is who I am.” And really owning up to that in order to sort of create a commonality through difference.
[00:09:52] ANNOUNCER: This is Branch Out, a Connection Builders podcast.
[00:10:01] AD: Let’s peel that back for a minute, right? So you are a black man in an industry that is predominantly white men. What I really want to dive into is you find yourself in positions where you are, I assume, in many cases the only black man in the room and you want to talk about getting comfortable in uncomfortable situations, right? I can’t relate to that. I walk into a room where I’m a white guy with all the other white guys there. How do you overcome that? And what do you say more importantly to somebody who is working on building a career in this space that is a person of color that is trying to break into a predominantly white industry?
[00:10:37] RG: The main thing that I think about in that regards is, one, reminding myself over and over again, I belong in this room, because I’ve earned my way into this room, right? I have earned it by making relationships, bringing value to the market whether it’s intellectually or commoditized value based on the products that my particular company offers. But I belong there. That’s step number one.
From there it turns back to, “Hey, guess what? I don’t have the same upbringings. I wasn’t an analyst at a private equity firm before. I wasn’t a consultant with McKinsey or one of the large firms before, but yet I can speak this language on a high enough level that we can get to the point where we can uncover value in sustaining a relationship going forward.”
And I always look at things as there’s a symbiotic relationship to everybody that sits in this sphere, whether you’re a banker, a private equity investor, a consultant, an accountant. There’s a symbiotic relationship, because everybody touches a business in a different manner. We all bring something to the table despite our differences. It doesn’t matter necessarily that I’m a black man in a room full of white men. Listen, I’m bringing that value and I aim to bring that value and I aim to learn from you to figure out how I can improve on that value regardless of my level of comfort.
[00:12:09] AD: I love what you said. You bring value. And what I heard you say loud and clear, part of this is for anyone, and whether it’s because you’re a person of color or because you are new or because you have a lack of confidence, wherever it comes from, you have to walk in with a level of confidence. And knowing that if you’re giving it your best and you are there showing up to bring as much value as possible, that’s genuinely the reason you’re walking in the door. You’re not perfect. You’re not going to be able to solve everything, but you’re doing your best. Be confident about that. Be confident to be there doing your best.
And what I’ll say to our listeners, recognize that just because people have a different background or a different career path or they don’t follow in a traditional path, that does not mean they don’t add value. Candidly, I think that diversity – And diversity can mean so many things. But when you really step back and say, “Just having people with different perspectives, those are the reasons why people have new ideas and can solve problems in different light.”
[00:13:09] RG: Yep, absolutely. I mean you just nailed it. Diversity, yes, there’s racial diversity that needs to be addressed, but also there’s a diversity of thought that needs to be addressed. And when I say diversity of thought, if everybody has been schooled in the same manner with the same perhaps undergrad or graduate school at a firm, that’s great and all because there’s a commonality to that, but you’re also perhaps robbing yourself in that room of perspectives that were not covered in that life experience to get to that point in that room.
There are perspectives and adversities that are going to be faced by young black professionals. They’re not going to be faced by their peers and colleagues. And it’s easy to say work hard and you can achieve anything. That isn’t always the case. There are plenty of people that both you and I know that we see in these rooms, even these homogeneous rooms that work very hard and do not see the same results as other folks. But acknowledging that diversity of thought, experience, work ethic, background, acknowledging that usually lends to a very, very good experience. Getting a new perspective, getting a perspective of somebody who went a route completely different than everybody else that’s in that room usually sparks a pretty interesting conversation. And that is what I always think about when I step into these rooms that are pretty homogenous. Anybody I have a conversation with, I probably don’t have the same background and experience as them, but usually when we spark a conversation, we can go to some pretty interesting places and both leave with some insights that we were not privy to before.
[00:14:53] AD: You said something important there. It’s recognizing that – And we talk about this a lot with Connection Builders and in the value of growing your network, is building out relationships with people that have different points of view than your own. Because in the end, you only know what you know, and you don’t know what you don’t know. And one of the best ways to expand your horizons is to interact with other people that have differences of opinions or differences of backgrounds or experiences that allow them to bring new insights. And, again, remember that as a professional you are a problem solver. And if you have 10 people that all have effectively the same set of experiences and background and education, then you’re going to have 10 points of view that are all pretty tangential to each other. And then you bring the guy who’s been in marketing and advertising and decided to make a switch into private equity, and all of a sudden you’ve got a totally different perspective, right? That’s where you can bring so much value. So I would say talking to kind of two different subsets here. If you are a part of the crowd that is much more traditional in your background, your experience and what got you here, then recognize the value to expand your network with those that are different, that simply just bring different points of view. And if you are somebody that is coming from a different perspective and a different point of view, use that to your advantage. Use that as a way to recognize that you can confidently walk into a room. And it doesn’t mean you’re always going to be right. You’re going to have a lot to learn, but you do have different perspectives and a different way of looking at things that others just simply aren’t going to have.
[00:16:27] RG: I’ve heard the term if you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. That is something that has never left me after I heard it, and I’m reminded of every room I’ve gone into professionally since. I’m very unlikely to walk into a room that I’m the smartest person in the room, which means I can get smarter every room I walk into, right? So I can get into a conversation and leave with something I was totally ignorant to before, but it’s a two-way street. Somebody engages in a conversation with me, I hope I can leave them with some gem or insight that will help them be better as they step into the next conversation to go toward the next room they go into. And that’s why I really think diversity needs to be addressed at large. So even the people that are homogeneous in the room can get more comfortable with those that are not necessarily of the same background, race, demographic. You’ve got to have those conversations. You’ve got to surround yourself with people that are different in order to inform your perspective and around your perspective in a manner that is going to better everything you do in life. It’s not just a professional game that you’re going to see from that. It’s also a personal game.
[00:17:42] AD: You’re so right there. It is a personal gain. And what I also think is really important here, you have to be intentional about seeking out that diversity. You absolutely have to be. It’s very easy to miss that diversity. It’s very easy to find yourself in typical situations where you’re not capturing that. And again, when we say the word diversity, it’s diversity of thought in the end, right? And diversity of thought is driven by differences in background and experience and life experiences that lead people to where they are today. And if you don’t intentionally seek that, you will never find it. It’s not just going to naturally stumble into your life especially, again, in this industry. But the other thing I heard you say that I think so important there, it’s open-mindedly sharing your thoughts. And I mean that in the sense of you have to share your perspective, right? That’s part of the value you bring is to say, “Well, hey. I see it this way,” but not sharing it in a light where you’re, “Hey, this is just how it is,” because I think and if COVID has taught us anything, whatever you think is stable is definitely not stable and things can change very quickly. And so you should constantly have that open mind and saying, “Well, what can I learn from this other person? What can I take away from this conversation?”
[00:18:59] RG: Absolutely. I mean difference of opinion is a running topic right now in society, but there are tons of things that could separate us potentially. The difference of opinion should not be a deal breaker, right? There’re some things that are deal breakers. There’s really no debate and there’s no other way to say it. There’s no debate on racism. You can’t be for racism. That’s a deal-breaker. If you have racist ideals or support racist ideals or you even remain adjacent to racist ideas, there’s no two-sidedness to that.
That said, the means to achieving diversity of thought, of achieving diversity of race, achieving diversity of gender inside of your firms, there could be different opinions on how to get to there, but they have to be addressed and they have to be considered in order to get there. There’s not one person that has the right answer to fix the problems that ail us professionally in terms of the lack of diversity across organizations in the United States, or personally in terms of the relationships that we all carry outside of our professional relationships.
I say all that to say that, “Hey, the work that needs to be done can be done from a place of discomfort as long as you’re comfortable knowing that, “Hey, I’m getting into this conversation, this situation that somebody who perhaps doesn’t share the same ideals as me, but I am willing to have that conversation to consider a different perspective and hopefully move us both forward. Because I’m going to pick up something from them, because I’ve opened my mind to it, and I hope that they’re going to pick up something from me.” That goes straight up to the work that we do on a professional level. I might have seen 10 different businesses inside of a said industry or my firm may have worked with this industry 10 different times, but you still need to have that conversation, because the background of that business owner of that investor could be different than the perspective. The investment pieces could be different than the previous one that we were worked in approach. So you got to allow some diversity. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all. There could be a lot of similarities, but the strength lies in the differences, and that’s how you’re generally going to differentiate yourself as a business, as a person, as a potential buyer of a business, as a potential service provider. You got to do that work, and it’s a lot of work.
[00:21:34] ANNOUNCER: This is branch out, bringing you candid conversations with leading middle market professionals.
[00:21:42] AD: I’m going to tie this back to kind of our original question and what will be the title of our episode, Getting Comfortable in an Uncomfortable Situations. So let’s piece that back for a minute. That can mean walking into a room where you feel uncomfortable, or that can mean being in the middle of a conversation where – And I’ll use the word vulnerability, where you have to open up and say, “Hey, this is how I view it. This is what I think. I might be wrong. I could be wrong. What do you think? Help me understand how your perspective might differ.” That is an uncomfortable situation, right? My myself and everyone else in the earth, we don’t like to be wrong. Human nature, we want to be right about what we’re doing, because if we thought it was wrong, why would we be doing it in the first place, right?
But to put yourself in that uncomfortable situation of opening up and saying, “I don’t know how to solve this. I don’t know the right answer to this. I need outside help. I need to turn to someone.” And that is not a place of weakness. That is not a place of, “Well, I’m incapable or incompetent because I don’t know the answer.” Rather, I think that’s actually very wise and very mature of someone to be able to step back and say, “Hey, I have a lot of perspective and I have a lot of experience. And I think this is how it should be done, but I want to get a second opinion and I want to know what I’m missing.” That doesn’t mean that the person on the other side of the table is necessarily right or that what they’re going to say you’re going to agree with. But if you don’t listen open-mindedly, if you don’t really step back and open up the idea that you might not be right, then how are you ever going to change those thought patterns? How are you ever going to expand your horizon and your knowledge on things?
[00:23:22] RG: I mean it’s so true. I mean we need a diversity of thought. And probably the easiest route to diversity of thought is to diversify the room. Bring in a female perspective. Bring in a black perspective, an Indian perspective, a Latino perspective, right? Bring in a southern culture perspective. Bring in a northern culture perspective, a mid-west culture perspective. We need to have these talks from all kinds of different angles, because there will probably be some commonality found in there, but there could also be an unlock of perspective that is just completely foreign. It’s completely foreign to the other people in the room. It’s natural to want to be agreed with, like all of us want to be agreed with.
I’m married. Of course I want my wife to agree with me all the time, but that’s not going to happen. And she is going to want me to agree with her, but that’s not going to happen. But how can we ever progress in anything in life if it’s a matter of being agreeable or not? There are going to be some things that we do not agree with. We got to be willing to have that conversation and dive deeper like what you and I are doing. And how do I dive deeper to understand a little bit more about where you’re coming from on a said topic? And if I’m willing to do that, you can really find a lot of success in this community that you and I are a part of and in your personal life in general. Let’s have that conversation a little bit deeper.
And to be quite honest, I feel like I’m getting better and better at it because I’ve been having those conversations as the events of 2020 have forced a lot of these things to become challenges that we’re going to face and they’re not going to go away. They’re just not going to go away, these challenges, without a conversation.
[00:25:10] AD: One of the things that I think is so important there, you say have a conversation and dig deep into it. And something that I think all too often we tend to do if we get in these uncomfortable situations, these points where we disagree on a point of view or we have a different life experience that makes us view the world differently, it’s way too easy to step back and either, A, just not engage in the conversation. Or, B, just to say, “You know, let’s just agree to disagree. It’s okay.” It is one of the most unhealthy things you can do, right?
mean imagine if every time you and your wife disagreed on something, you stepped back and said, “We’ll just agree to disagree.” She says she wants kids. You say you don’t want kids. “We’ll just agree to disagree. I mean just think about that. Think about how insane that sounds, right?
[00:25:57] RG: So crazy. It is so crazy. Honestly, a lot of people have resorted to that sort of retreat in dealing with the life that we’re living right now in America. Listen, America is by far creates more opportunities in a lot of other nations across the globe. That does not mean America is without its flaws. But if you are unwilling to talk about the flaws, how can we ever move forward to fixing it? You know what? Let’s agree to disagree on that topic when it comes to fixing the flaws that we’re facing in this nation. We’re never going to get anywhere, because we’ve just resigned. So you go to your corner. You go to your corner. This isn’t intermission. In a fight, we need to engage people. Listen, I love the thought of thinking independently together. Let’s think independently together. And what I mean by that is this is what life experience, professional experience has allowed me to bring to this conversation. Now let me hear your independent experience and what that has taught you and bring it to the conversation. So now we’re doing that together. And ultimately I think we’ll probably find a mutual route to go as professionals. Maybe we get a deal done. Maybe my firm aids on a deal by having that type of a conversation. Maybe we introduce you to somebody who’s a better fit to help deal with that perspective that you have on addressing that business, but it doesn’t happen if you just say, “Let’s just agree to disagree on that topic.”
[00:27:38] AD: What’s so important there too is, again, you have to force those conversations. You have to put yourself in that vulnerable position to have the uncomfortable conversations, but you also have to recognize that every one of us has had a different life experience, right? And even when we talk about an industry that has a lot of similarities in terms of the general cohort of people that find themselves in this industry, everyone has still had their own experience, their own life experience. Everyone has dealt with their own struggles. Everyone has overcome their own challenges, and those are what shape people and what bring out the differences of you and the differences of opinions. And when you stand up and say, “I disagree with you.” Well, again, why do you disagree? And if you disagree, because you have seen life in two different ways.” And my wife has been someone who has taught me this. We had radically different childhoods and it has allowed us to have lots of fun marital arguments around how things should be, because we simply see the world differently. And in the end, you have to have those conversations to say, “Well, why do you feel that way? Why are you acting that way? Or why do you believe that this is how it is?” And then explain your point of view of how that’s different. And that’s how you have those conversations. That’s how you unpack those things. And in the end, the more of those you have, the more you make that a focus, the better your ability to build in that diversity of thought. You said it earlier, that is what drives organizations and people forward, right? New thoughts, new perspectives, seeing the world in a different light, that’s the most powerful thing you can do as a human. The aha moments where all of a sudden you’re like, “Wow! I just had a totally different way of thinking about that.” Those are things that, again, they change the trajectory. But if you don’t have those conversations to begin with, where are you ever going to have those, right? How is that ever going to happen?
[00:29:28] RG: Yeah. And something else I would invite, and I have invited several of my friends to consider, step into a room that you are the one that is perhaps uncomfortable. There’s a variety of different ways you can achieve that. But step into a room that you are not the one that can automatically relate to everybody in there, right? Obviously, racial diversity is huge, but maybe you don’t have access to racial diversity due to the community that you live in or around. So you mentioned intentionality. Maybe you take some time to intentionally step out of that neighborhood that you live in and go sit in and listen to perspective in a room that you’ve never been in, because if you’re just judging or forming opinions based on things that you might see from a variety of different media or an experience you’ve perhaps had, or even worse, an experience that a relative of yours may have had or a friend of yours may have had, you are not truly informing yourself, because that’s one perspective. Step behind the curtain a little bit.
And something I’ve told a lot of people when I think about change and making a difference is you don’t have to be in charge to foster change. You don’t have to be the guy up there with the microphone to foster change. Sometimes you just being able to be in that room and listen and formulate a new perspective and take it and then disseminate it out to your immediate circle and your friends and family exponentially, it can make a big difference, and it just keeps going that way. I mean, again, it goes back to that symbiotic nature of the world and the view that I have, just we all fit in in different ways. But to stay on the topic of diversity, the best way to get a diverse thought is to step into rooms that you are not homogeneous to, to invite people that are not homogeneous to the room that you’re in to come join them. So that’s something that I would love to see happen. And quite frankly I’m pretty dedicated to trying to change, whether it’s a business owner level, whether it’s a deal maker level, whether it’s a peer-to-peer level, that’s something that I would love to hopefully inspire somebody else that perhaps listens to our conversation to do. Step out and just give it a try.
[00:32:05] AD: Could not agree with you more. In the end, I look at – We in life, we have two different zones we can be in. We can be in our comfort zone or in our growth zone. When you are in an uncomfortable situation, that is the growth zone. That is how you advance. That is how you grow and become a better person. And if all you do is spend your time in the comfort zone, you’re missing out. You’re missing out on all that growth, all that opportunity to open your mind and to really have not only an impact on yourself, your family, your friends, but even a broader impact in the world. And one person can make such a difference and you don’t have to be, as you said, the person with the mic. All you have to do is bring your very best and do everything in your power to bring the positive change that you can into the world.
[00:32:48] RG: Yeah. Hey, I promise it will be my last athletic reference, but when you think about growing as an athlete, it’s generally not a comfortable path to grow as an athlete. You’re probably going to lose a couple of times. You probably have to put in all kinds of hours putting on practicing your jump shot or hitting putt after putt or running mile after mile in order to get to that level that you have set for yourself to be. I would challenge people to think about that same perspective in how you’re being as a professional. You’ve got to put in the reps. You’ve got to do the uncomfortable work to grow to be who you want to be. And it’s just something that we have to do. If we’re going to grow as a community, we got to put in the work. There has got to be an intentionality, there’s got to be a level of discomfort that we get comfortable with.
[00:33:44] AD: I couldn’t agree more, and that was so well said. Rich, I would love to keep this conversation going for hours. But for our listeners today, we are going to wrap up. I really do appreciate your time, and you had great insights here. I mean these are the conversations that more professionals should be having. This is the kind of stuff that we should be spending more time talking about. And for all of our listeners, we really do encourage you to go out there, put yourself in uncomfortable situations and learn how to get comfortable in them.
Again, thank you for your time, Rich. Really appreciate your contribution to the show here and looking forward to continuing the dialogue at another time.
[00:34:18] RG: Thank you very much. Very excited to have these types of conversations. And like you said, I just hope more professionals realize that this is a great path to grow and you’re going to see tremendous gains both personally and professionally when you’re willing to do these sort of things.
[00:34:34] AD: So well said. Thank you so much.
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