Do the things which makes you uncomfortable!

Almost everyone (sometime, me too) tells you to ‘Do those things (only) that makes you happy’. While this is true, the interpretation of this can be horribly wrong.

First of all, this is at a macro level — ‘In principle, do the things that make you happy’ or ‘don’t do things that you aren’t motivated to do’. This means that the larger goal you are pursuing should be aligned with what you love. This means that — your activities should keep you happy that you are motivated enough to wake up and goto work.

The problem is when you think it at a micro level, this isn’t true at all. If you think at a micro level — ‘I will not do what I don’t love’. You are screwed. More often than not, you will have things on your plate which you absolutely loathe, but have to do it.

I have heard a lot of people saying that ‘I want to be a CEO because I’m my boss and I only do things that I want to/love to do’. This is total crap. I think I have wrote about this before too. A CEO is supposed to do a bunch to crappy things that he hates to do. ‘Firing’ for example. I haven’t come across anyone who loooves firing people. But a CEO primarily has to do a ton of these especially at the early stages. But by doing so, he is enabling himself and others to do the work they absolutely love to do.

Doing things which you don’t like, things which you don’t know, things which you will let you learn a lot more. Yes, it is important to play to your skills, but that doesn’t mean you don’t play out of your comfort zone at all. You should play out of your comfort zone enough that the ‘discomfort’ zone is starting to feel like ‘comfort’ zone.

I can give multiple examples from my startup journey. With my startup, Profoundis, as the CEO of the company, I’m the one who had to do sales (we were a B2B company). Am I a sales person by birth, by training or by experience? NO. Am I a natural extrovert? No, you could call me an ambivert, but far from extrovert. But I had to do this. I did public presentations, pitches, selling so many times in those 4 years that it turned out to be one of my strongest skill now (I’m still unwilling to believe this, but people more knowledgeable than me believe that I can sell. Rajan Anandan of Google has told a few times at multiple occasions — ‘this guy can sell anything’. Ofcourse, he was kind enough to give me an exaggerated appreciation which till date is a huge honor that I have got. Thanks Rajan).

On the other hand, I had cases where people were unwilling to do things outside their comfort zone - sometimes knowingly, sometimes not so. The worst thing is when you think (or want to)you are playing out of your comfort zone, but unknowingly gets pulled back into your comfort zone. I had problems with them when they couldn’t rise up to the occasion or give me the kind of support I was looking for.

Bottomline is - don’t feel disheartened if you are doing a bunch of not-so-happy works. Everyone does it at almost all points of their life. But the key is, by doing that crappy work, you are essentially getting one step closer to the work you absolutely love to do.