Exit Strategies and Comfort Zones


“Our thoughts create our reality – where we put our focus is the direction we tend to go”

– Peter McWilliams

This article departs from the technical aspects of Exiting a business and focuses on the emotional challenges of Exiting a business – specifically the challenge of breaking out of your ‘comfort zone’.

A ‘comfort zone’ can be described as a place where we all ‘return to’ on a consistent basis, or a place that provides us with a sense of security because we can predict and control the outcome of many of our actions in that ‘zone’. It is a place in our minds where we find a sense of control and where the world immediately around us has a sense of order. This is a personal place that we design through our thoughts and habits.

Business owners live in ‘comfort zones’ because every day that we report to work, we are confronted with challenges that have been created in the building of our businesses. Exiting a business requires that you step out of that comfort zone and develop new patterns of thought geared around your Exit.

Changing the way that one thinks is a difficult task. This is particularly true for busy business owners because we habituate ways of acting, much like the manner in which we drive our automobiles. We do not consciously think to hit the accelerator, look over our shoulder and slightly turn the wheel when changing lanes – we simply do it by habit.

In 1960, Dr. Maxwell Maltz wrote the following in his best selling book,

“[like changing lanes in a car] … in much the same way our attitudes, emotions and beliefs [towards our businesses] tend to become habitual. In the past we ‘learned’ that certain attitudes, ways of feeling and thinking were ‘appropriate’ to certain situation. Now, we tend to think, feel and act the same way whenever we encounter what we interpret as ‘the same sort of situation’. What we need to understand is that these habits . . . can be modified, changed, or reversed, simply by taking the trouble to make a conscious decision – and then by practicing or ‘acting out’ the new response or behavior. The pianist can consciously decide to strike a different key, if he chooses. The dancer can consciously ‘decide’ to learn a new step – and there is no agony about it. It does require constant watchfulness and practice until the new behavior pattern is thoroughly learned.”

Dr. Maltz was describing the manner in which we can make decisions to change our behavior. And I submit that formulating a proper Exit Strategy can be as easy or as difficult as we choose to make it.

So, what can we do today to address this ‘comfort zone challenge’?

The answer is that we can make a commitment to learn about HOW to Exit a Business. We empower ourselves to control our Exits only when we make a commitment to the endeavor. Exiting a business has a unique set of rules and decision making criteria that must be internalized and habituated in order to produce the best results.

A commitment to learning HOW to Exit a business will ‘reorder’ your thoughts and actions towards the eventual achievement of your Exit goal. Devote at least thirty (30) minutes per week towards doing a little research on ways that you can exit your business and you will begin to change your thinking. Thus, you will change your habits and will be prepared to meet the challenges of your Exit with a mind that is ready for this new action.

I am pleased that you are pursuing a pro-active interest in Exit Strategies because a pro-active approach to an Exit Strategy is the only approach to a successful Exit Strategy.

Copyright © 2007

Source by John Leonetti


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