Tinkering with a beloved classic can be risky, but the resulting movie smashed box office records worldwide. Nostalgia aside, I observed several things soloists could learn about breaking out of your comfort zone.
As human beings, some of us have more of an appetite for stretching our comfort zone than others. However, as soloists, what we do every day has elements of discomfort – there’s no salary to fall back on, no sick leave and often plenty of hard work. The solo life is not a comfortable one!
Given this, taking on more discomfort to build your business or win a new client can sometimes seem just a little too much.
But stepping outside that comfort zone can have huge rewards. And somewhat surprisingly, Beauty and the Beast can show us how.
1. It’s okay to dream big
Right from the start of the movie, we’re encouraged to think outside of what’s ‘normal’ and accepted. I’m sure there was a time when all of us thought, ‘there must be more than this working life!’ (okay, I’m taking a bit of creative license there).
Wanting adventure in the great wide somewhere can be scary and beyond our comfort zones, but it’s what sets us apart and makes us soloists. Vision and inspiration will keep us going on those days when we question why we became soloists at all. Dream of your ideal client, your ideal job, your ideal holiday – mine’s on pretty much any ski slope, if you’re wondering.
Although I’m possibly about to directly contradict myself, I’d like to point out that it’s also okay to dream small, as the wonderful Kate Toon points out in her book Confessions of a Misfit Entrepreneur. The point is that you’re dreaming!
2. The most attractive choice is not necessarily the right one
Oh, Gaston – we’ve all met a few Gastons in our time, haven’t we? Your Gaston could be the client that promises lots of work but never pays, or even the job that looks so much easier than your day-to-day soloist work. While Gaston might put on a good song and dance, he’s always way more work than he’s worth, and he definitely wants you to give up your dreams.
When you have a ‘wobble’ and are tempted to settle for a Gaston, or come across a client that just looks too good to be true, make sure you remember your dream. Just like Belle, you need to spot your Gaston for who they really are, no matter how they might flatter you.
3. Opportunities sometimes come in disguise
This is really a tale as old as time (sorry, I couldn’t help myself!). Sometimes the best opportunities are disguised as hard work – or as a scary beast.
I nearly turned down one of my best clients due to a few prickly conversations right at the start of our relationship. I remember whinging and moaning about how they were going to be difficult – and then I worked out how to best approach them and it’s been smooth sailing ever since.
If you make the best of the situations that you’re thrown into, you might find that in time, there may be something there that wasn’t there before.
So, to be the hero of your own story, today it’s time to get out of your comfort zone and do something that scares you. Or, you could watch Beauty and the Beast, relive your childhood with a healthy dose of nostalgia, and learn a few business lessons. Be my guest!