Most of us like to avoid uncomfortable situations. You watch what you say, think about what you do, and consider the possible judgements of others. If a situation made your palms sweat, you probably tip toe as much as possible to never repeat the experience.
For me, it was attending a Community Bible Church service.
I’m Episcopalian, and while I won’t bore you with my crisis of faith, I’ve been doing a lot of questioning around what the rituals in a service mean to me. I know what I like and what I don’t like, but I can’t really tell you why. But for example, I’ve always felt a little uneasy with the entertainment-style church service.
Recently, I attended one of those services with an open mind. This way of worship is important to my cousins, and I wanted to see what they saw. I let all my past experiences and preconceived notions go. Want to know what I discovered?
I had a business revelation.
Well, first I realized that I really can’t keep rhythm clapping with everyone. I’m always off. But after I got over the clapping issues, my mind started running. Thank goodness they had a notes section on their bulletin.
Back to the business revelation: There’s a reason these kinds of large, informal, friendly churches are doing well. From a business perspective, they found a mission, learned about their audience, and then found ways to deliver a message. Most of us wish we could do even half that.
The other thing was that it’s pretty clear how they feel about things. Have you ever read a business’ mission statement and had no idea what they were getting at? That’s not the case here. You listen to the sermon or prayers, and you don’t doubt how they feel or wonder if they will flip-flop on issues. While you may or may not agree with a church’s positioning, it’s kind of nice to know where they stand.
Being there forced me to think a bit harder about how I may approach business. Do I know my audience? Do I have a message? Do I flip-flop my feelings?
If you’ve been in a situation or environment that makes you a little uncomfortable, I would recommend taking a chance to revisit it. Go in thinking about the learning you’ll take away instead of what it is you want to avoid. Please keep your safety and well-being in mind, but jump at the chance to stretch your beliefs and experiences.
What have you learned from an uncomfortable situation? What surprise revelation did you have? Do you make regular efforts to pursue situations outside your comfort zone?