Posts Tagged ‘comfort zone’

We are rarely 100% committed to what we say we want.

I’m assuming that because you are reading this that to some degree you are committed to the concept of bringing spirituality into business. On a scale of 1-100, where would you put yourself in relation to the degree to which you are committed? If you were 100% committed there would be nothing to stop you and you’d be fulfilled in having reached your desired outcome. However, generally speaking, there are underlying or conflicting commitments that create obstacles to us moving forward towards our stated desires.

These conflicting commitments are in alignment to a desire to remain invulnerable and avoid what we consider undesirable. In essence we want to remain secure and stable within our comfort zones. The degree to which we are committed to our conflicting commitment is the degree to which we use avoidance, distraction, procrastination and denial as strategies; this keeps us doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results. What occurs is a dilemma, the consequence of which is a feeling of being stuck, confused, doubtful and lost. The bottom line is that we are confounded by the dilemma with which we find ourselves.


I’m prematurely slipping in a D word here, because this is where life gets sticky. How one chooses to be with dilemmas will contribute to the inevitable outcome.

When we distinguish what we are committed to from our conflicting commitment we can see that we are at a choice-point. So, on the one hand we want change; on the other hand we want to avoid the undesirable consequences that accompany change. Hence, we have a dilemma. How do we choose? How do we choose to choose what we choose?

What most of us do, because we are unaware of our choice-making process that has brought about this dilemma, is to compromise our stand for what we say we want, at the same time compromising our stand for what we don’t want. We become professional fence-sitters. If you are interested in creating transformation or a paradigm shift within yourself or your organization it won’t happen by using compromise as a strategy.

What becomes clear as you sit with this dilemma, at this choice-point, perhaps with a thinking partner who can see the bigger picture for you, is a couple of things:

  • First, either choice will require surrendering or relinquishing your attachment to the outcome.
  • Second, the consequence of either choice will mean being confronted by vulnerability and loss of whatever you are attempting to hold onto. This is the nature of cultivating spiritual practices within the workplace. It is an allowing of the unfolding of the natural course of things to occur in service to what you say you want. This is also when the practice of faith kicks in, as you begin to consider the possibility of crossing the threshold, anticipating that first step required of you in order to begin this journey.

What’s at Stake?

What I like about working in corporations is that there is far more at stake for individuals, departments and the organization itself to actually walk its talk. The risk is greater and so is the reward. Not unlike any other institution and group of individuals, there is a culture and that culture has rules – some are spoken and some are not. Always – always we are walking the line between cultivating an environment that supports us and one that protects us. Again, if we are looking for a paradigm shift we have to surrender our attachment to this walking-on-a-fence approach to change and really challenge ourselves to practice acting in alignment with our speaking. What’s at stake will be different for each individual and organization. Generally though, we are afraid of losing what we have.

The distinction between business coaching and transformational coaching is that transformational coaching requires you to step into your commitments; to expand your comfort zone; to confront beliefs, interpretations, expectations and assumption that may not serve you or your organization; and to create a practice within which you exercise muscles that support cultivating consciousness and compassion for yourself and all beings impacted by the current paradigm shift. Transformational coaching requires you to be with the BIG-FAT-BE-WITHS that challenge current interpretations regarding personal gain and loss, as well as death of a way of being that no longer serves the highest good of all. It also requires a different way of choice-making in support of your commitment.

To choose to shift the degree to which you are committed by even one degree is enough to allow even baby steps to be taken towards your desired outcome; it’s enough to empower you to be with the anxiety and discomfort that comes with letting go and letting a higher power provide support, the consequence being that the process unfolds effortlessly. This is where the spiritual rubber meets the three dimensional world.

If Nothing Else

If nothing else, cultivating awareness through the practice of noticing will inevitably create profound shifts. Consciousness generates a greater capacity to change, to create and to generate from an empowered stand. This stand is grounded in a conviction to follow through with intent. It is far more powerful than just wishing and hoping for change to occur. A fascinating phenomenon that is challenging to grasp from a logical/rational perspective is that by intentionally increasing your awareness of what you are wanting, and bringing yourself – your being into alignment with your intention creates a vibrational modification in yourself and your environment. This in itself generates profound shifts beyond your wildest imagination. What isn’t in alignment with that vibrational state will either shift or it will disappear. Transformation at its finest!

Consciousness results in self-realization that we hope will translate into self-actualization. Without acting in alignment with our realization – well, all things will remain the same except for the fact that we know more then we use to. As I said above, if you shift how you are being to be more in alignment with your highest knowing, this in itself is transformational. You don’t have to overtly attempt to change your world or your organization. Just notice, shift and allow. This in itself is bringing spirituality into business.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Rosie Kuhn will be speaking on the topic of “Spiritual Wounding in the Workplace” at the San Francisco New Living Expo, Concourse Exhibition Center, Room #7, San Francisco, April 29th, 2011 at 7:00PM.

Leveraging Comfort

by Yakov Soloveychik on August 4, 2009

leverageassetsMany of us have been to a vacation time share presentation to get a free vacation, but with the clear intention of not purchasing it… and admittedly, have found ourselves on the edge of the purchasing decision! They did not close the deal, but did come close… very close… and for that, I have to give them credit – their sales process is very good. It is based on the centuries old four stage AIDA sales sequence:

1. Attention

2. Interest

3. Desire

4. Action

The concept of AIDA comes from the perception of a buyer going through stages of first becoming aware or Attentive to a proposed product or service, then, if it is relevant, it provokes Interest and willingness of the buyer to learn more about it. If the buyer perceives it to be valuable and unique or special, the state of Desire develops, and most likely leads the buyer to take Action to purchase or accept the offer.

In essence, the classical AIDA model is: Get ATTENTION – Create INTEREST – Make it DESIRABLEACT to Close the deal.

This looks logical and simple, but does not always work as intended. The main breakdown usually occurs in the transition from (stage 3) Desire to (stage 4) Action. What makes this transition difficult is the inception of the “decision making point” that may often change the dynamics of the selling process as the reality of the consequences of the buying decision overpowers the desire to acquire.

Successful sales people differ from those who do not close effectively in their ability to keep the energy and emotional levels of the desire stage high through the transition stage to close the deal often at or over the borderline of ethical norms by hiding or minimizing the impact of consequences or risks and thus deceiving their clients.

Let’s take an example from a familiar domain – you are trying to convince your child to complete the homework. You got their Attention – that is relatively easy (whatever methods you might be employing) – now your child is sitting in front of you and you are working on getting them interested to do the work. You proceed to talk about the benefits of education trying to build up the Desire (to get to a reputed ivy league school rather then working in the local fast food chain) … and then you go for the kill and at that very moment the whole structure collapses as your kid starts crying as they realize they have to give up TV or playing with the kids outside.

So, what just happened? … The transition from Interest/Desire stage to Action was not prepared – there was no COMFORT zone in the transition and all high emotional content achieved during first three stages simply collapsed.

This transitional issue became obvious to many in recent years and lead to the modification of the century old process of AIDA to what is now known as AIDCA. The “C” stands for the Comfort stage. This stage bridges the gap between the Decision making stage and the Action stage; the very gap that cause the breakdown we observed in the earlier AIDA process. Helping the customer reach this comfort zone is essential in the modern sales/negotiation process.

The old notion: “make me an offer I can’t refuse” is still very powerful in leveraging this comfort, but it is not always possible. “Make me an offer that I can comfortably accept” becomes more realistic. Both require one important piece of information – what is important, the “deal makers” and the “deal breakers”, the risks and the benefits perceived by the buyer, not the seller. Obtaining this information becomes critically important in order to create the comfort zone and close the deal and that requires a discussion rather than a monologue.

Sales presentation becomes Sales conversation.

The Vacation time share industry developed a great approach to the creation of the comfort zone. After showing you all the nice places you can go and most beautiful spots you can reach – they turn the table and start asking questions like:

  • how you spent your vacation time in the past?
  • what do you want to do in the future?
  • what are your key requirements in regards to price, activities, types of destinations etc?
  • All this with the purpose to find out and make you feel comfortable with what they have to offer and your decision to purchase.

    There are three distinct stages in the process:

    1. Development of Comfort zone:

    (i) Early in the Interest-Desire stages, start the interactive exchange with the purpose of identifying and developing the comfort zone structure for your client.

    (ii) Do not assume anything as no two customers are exactly the same.

    (iii) No previous experience is applicable (even with the same individual).

    (iv) Ask questions and be (not just look) sincere.

    2. Reaching the Comfort state:

    (i) When you are ready, get confirmation from the client about what you just learned of their interest and their comfort/discomfort with the decision to act.

    (ii) Talk openly about pros and cons and risks as you think they perceive it.

    (iii) Summarize and ask for confirmation or modifications to this understanding.

    3. Leveraging Comfort:

    (i) Using what you just learned in the process add something to your offering that makes your client decision making process easier and your offer more acceptable.

    (ii) Extend the warranty period, give additional guarantees, add refund benefits, etc – use whatever you discovered is important for this client to customize the offer, instead of providing them a generic prepackaged offer everybody gets.

    Now, let’s return to the example with your kid. After you told them about the choices of Harvard vs. McDonald and the importance of doing their homework, engage them in a discussion and ask questions of what they feel is important for them and where doing homework belongs in the level of importance. Ask questions of what would make them comfortable to complete homework before watching their favorite TV show. You may learn that taping their show and allowing them to watch it later may make the whole difference as that introduces the Comfort stage for them. You may then “leverage” this comfort further by offering to DVR the entire show every day and letting them to watch it any time they want after their homework is done.

    Here are a few questions that will help you in your thinking on the development of Comfort zone:

    (i) What do you like about the product/service/offering?

    (ii) How do you see the benefits, if you make the decision?

    (iii) Where do you see the risks and difficulties?

    (iv) What would make you feel good and enjoy your purchase a year from now?


    Yajov SoloveychikYakov Soloveychik is a business advisor, mentor and a personal coach to CEO’s and business owners. Yakov’s professional and entrepreneurial career includes VP,  COO, CEO positions and service on board of directors with a number of technology based companies in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley