When was the last time you were in a place where you felt totally out of your element? Perhaps a place where English wasn’t the common language. Or perhaps you were the only person of your gender at a business meeting. Or someone with a very different life experience than those around you; they almost seemed to speak a different language than you.
If you get to experience being in a place like one of those, things become acutely different. Your senses are heightened. You notice more. It is likely that you are quieter. More observant. Perhaps gentler in your language, and perhaps even kinder… because you are an outsider.
Transformation From New Experiences
These experiences of being different can do something powerful for us – they can force us to rethink things we take for granted. When we don’t have the ability to easily communicate, or the understanding that most people around us think like us, we often become more thoughtful and introspective. If we are thoughtful about these situations we can translate the experience to the one our customer has when we are pushing them to think and behave differently than they ever have. Sometimes we must push our prospective clients to a place where they feel just as uncomfortable as we do when we’re outside of our element.
There are most likely risks in what we are asking our prospect to do. They may, in turn, be put in a position where they will be forcing many people in their organization to step into a place of intense discomfort if they agree to your solution. This knowledge can help you by making you more sensitive to their fears. It can help you choose your language more carefully, like you did when you were out of your element.
By pushing yourself to have experiences outside of your normal comfort zone, you can raise the level of compassion you have when pushing your prospects outside of theirs. So travel. Take risks. Go where people don’t look and think like you, and absorb the way it feels to be totally out of your element. Then hang onto that knowledge and use it to help your prospects when they need to step outside of theirs to push their organization towards a better but initially uncomfortable solution.
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