I've been at Graff Retail for 11 years now and as many of you know, my role has been primarily focused on consulting & speaking. I love what I do and I'm very passionate about helping people succeed in the retail industry. But, let’s be honest, we can all get a little comfortable in our roles and sometimes not be as effective as we are capable of.


A few months ago Kevin (Kevin Graff, in case you didn't know which Kevin I was talking about!) asked me if I would get involved in the design of the upcoming 2-Day Advanced District Manager Workshop.  I have always contributed content and feedback regarding all our programs, however, Kevin has always been primarily responsible for the design of our modules.  It takes a certain skill which he has honed for 28 years and he's brilliant at it.  This was definitely outside my comfort zone and quite frankly intimidating. I spent the last 3 months a little stressed about the new assignment.  Technically, I could have declined the opportunity.  I had tons of good excuses but I decided to push myself into the unknown.

Something interesting happened over the last 3 months, although I would say I have been in a constant state of anxiety.  I have been extremely productive, both at work and in my personal life. I have been inspired and more creative than I've been in a very long time.  And at the root of this was the challenge of taking on this new project.

Back in 1908, psychologists Robert M. Yerkes and John D. Dodson explained that in order to maximize performance, we need a state of relative anxiety.  A space where stress is slightly higher than normal, basically just outside our comfort zone.  I think I've just demonstrated how true that is.

Humans are creatures of comfort, but being slightly uncomfortable can push us to achieve things we never thought we could!   I'm inspired to learn more new skills. Outside your comfort zone is the learning zone.  Great leaders spend a lot of time there.

(BTW:  We have a great program that I'm excited to deliver next week!)

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!

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