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Guest: Feyzi Fatehi, Chairman and CEO of Corent
Episode in a Tweet: Complacency kills. Here’s how to follow your self-improvement goals out of your comfort zone and into building a hugely successful business.
Quick Background: Some people stay at the same company because it’s a perfect fit for their skill set, and their professional aspirations. Others just get complacent. In today’s episode, Feyzi Fatehi explains how his desire for learning, development, and professional growth led him to leave a cushy job at HP, strike out on his own to build cloud-computing leader Corent, and smack complacency in the face. The company’s success led to Cloud Tech Insights featuring Feyzi on the cover of the January 2017 issue of the magazine.
Transcript: Download the full transcript here.
Key Insights on Fighting Complacency
1. Complacency is the enemy.
As comfort level goes up, learning and fulfillment can go down. This can be a bad combination that, in Feyzi’s case, lead to feelings of unrest and anxiety.
Of course, just considering a change can often add to that anxiety. Starting your own business doesn’t usually lead to immediate financial rewards, and can often lead to major financial insecurity.
One way to deal with these worries is to replace a complacent focus on income generation with a new focus on wealth generation. You will most likely have a controlling interest in your new company, significant equity, the overriding vision, and all the enthusiasm and excitement that comes from creating something new that’s yours. This is a whole new vision of success that you can’t glimpse without stepping outside your comfort zone, following your passions to something new and bigger, and possibly hiring an executive coach to expand your thinking.
2. Master “the art of no rules.”
When Feyzi was an employee in somebody else’s company, his job had its own routines, its own expectations, its own rhythms. He knew them all by heart, and in fact, the comfort of that routine was one of the reasons he stayed at the job, despite how unfulfilling it became over time.
After eventually deciding to leave and start his own company, this new environment looked more like the Wild West. The rules weren’t the same. The people he was working with and competing against were different. Tried and true problem solving methods didn’t necessarily apply.
While building Corent, Feyzi had to master “the art of having no rules.” First, he channeled that same love of learning that led him to leave his old job into learning how to tackle new adversities. Feyzi learned that it’s OK if you don’t have all the answers to new problems right away, as long as the learning process prepares you for new challenges in the future.
Second, Feyzi embraced a simple mantra from one of his old colleagues: “I gladly will do whatever I have to do.” If the solution to a new problem leads you even further out of your comfort zone, necessity will make taking that leap a little easier.
3. “Be the change”
The example that will rally and inspire employees to work towards something new has to come from the top down. As Gandhi said, “You have to be the change you want to see in the world.” It falls to the leader of the company to be the role model, and to take notice when employees are making improvements to the company’s culture on their own initiative, said Feyzi. Not everybody knows this but it is very important: Recognition can be just as important to an employee as a pay raise.
4. Minimize regret
When faced with difficult decisions that could potentially alter your life and your company, Feyzi says to ask yourself, “If I don’t do it now, will I regret it?” That “perfect” scenario to make a big change might not come next year, and it might not come in five years. If this is your moment, will you regret not seizing it?
From a different perspective, focusing on regret can also hurt when those tough moments pop up. “I wish I hadn’t left my old job, I wish I hadn’t taken a pay cut to try this –” No! If you want to accomplish something bigger, ups and downs, doubts and triumphs are all part of the process, said Feyzi. Focus on being happy about the decisions you have made so that you have the courage to make the next difficult choice and push your business forward.
1. Defeat complacency by focusing on wealth creation, not income replacement. Familiar comforts, routines, and faces should not keep you from growing as a person and as an entrepreneur. As the owner of your own business, you call the shots. Trading short-term income loss for long-term wealth creation is a good trade.
2. Fear can be a wonderful feeling. Stepping outside your comfort zone can be scary, but it can also provide the kind of liberation that leads to bold new ideas and a big jump in your business growth rate.
3. Look forward, not backward. Embrace the decisions you’ve made, and keep your regrets to a minimum. You can’t change the past so move on from it.