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Your Comfort Zone is a Liar

Originally published: 08.01.18 by Danielle Putnam

We procrastinate when things are outside of our comfort zone. But my vice president at The New Flat Rate, Matt Koop, says it best, “Your comfort zone is a liar!” The growth you want — the dream company, dream job, dream team — is all just on the other side of your comfort zone. We must step outside to reach for what we want. Along the way, we must manage well, but management starts and stops with leadership.

Take the Win

In college, I captained our ladies flag football team. I probably made 1,000 mistakes. But in hindsight, I probably had just as may wins. By wins, I’m not referring to the scoreboard. I’m referring to the small things I personally and together with my team achieved.

Sometimes I played quarterback while other times I ran my heart out as running back. I played for four years, and still today I often have flashbacks of late evening practices, running and re-running our playbook, and apologizing to my team for missing a catch or throwing short of our goal.

Taking the win means it doesn’t need to be perfect, it needs to be a place to start. Over time not overnight. Learn to take the win. Celebrate the small things.

Fortunately, preparation brings peace. We prepare by planning time for planning. In everyday life, practice the art of scheduling “thinking time.”

It’s not that we need more time in the day, we need more time to work on our high value activities. Make space for yourself by using some of these techniques:

Schedule thinking time. Some call it meditation. Meditate, think, plan your high-value activities. Regardless of what you want to call it, decide today to begin scheduling true thinking time on your calendar. Squeeze in what you can for starters and progress from there.

Have a coach. Whether your coach is in the form of a consultant or even a mentor, they can be free or paid, but if you don’t have a coach, get one … and don’t be ashamed to pay for one. But be sure to get the right one.

Be a mentor. When we teach, we learn. We learn by teaching. Mentor someone in your sphere of influence who is pursuing a similar career path. Knowing you need to empower them will spur you on to feed your fire and continue to stay ahead, so you can pass down your learning. And when you pass it down, it strengthens what you’ve learned.

Management starts and stops with leadership. If we are going to manage well, we must learn to lead well.

Ask Why

It all starts with the why. When we know our why, we can reverse engineer to get where we want to be.

As professionals in the Service Industry, the core DNA of our why is usually something like, “I want to help people!” Then we can start creating metrics that ensure we course-correct along the way. No one is perfect right out of the gate.

Winning in business is about course-correcting by nanosecond, which by the way, is what a GPS system does. With true GPS, you get where you’re going. With knowing your why, you will get where you’re going, which is just on the other side of your comfort zone.

And for me, I’ve had to step outside of my comfort zone to learn to manage, study leadership, and course-correct to where we are today in a continual process of learning.


About Danielle Putnam

Danielle Putnam is president of The New Flat Rate and immediate past resident of Women in HVACR. The New Flat Rate, a home service menu-selling system designed to put profit directly into the hands of plumbing, electrical and HVAC contractors. Women in HVACR provides avenues for networking and educating while encouraging more women to enter the trades. For additional information, email or visit and

Articles by Danielle Putnam

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Your Comfort Zone is a Liar

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