337. Risk One Step Out of the Comfort Zone
He had climbed to a significant position over a 20-plus-year career in a leading restaurant chain. One typical Friday, his boss called to schedule a Saturday meeting at precisely the same time as his son’s basketball game. He hung up the phone, turned to his wife and said, “Today was my last day working with them.”
For the first 25 years of his business life, Robert was a successful executive in the restaurant and software industries. In 2002, he became a professional speaker and business coach and has conducted nearly 2,000 full-day seminars and inspired thousands with a focus on leadership, business and life. In 2013, he and business partner Bill Watkins created the Rusty Lion Academy. They work with businessmen and key leaders, between the ages of 30 and 49, who haven’t yet realized their full potential and who feel as if they’ve lost their freedom to their work lives.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
Perhaps before he even knew what his talents were, Robert was shaped by a mentor who took him under his wing. His parents divorced when he was eight, forcing his mother to find a job. Her boss, the head of a petroleum engineering company, stepped into Robert’s life and made a lifelong impression. “Whenever I did something bad, which was pretty often, I would have to go talk to him. But he always hired me, so I always had summer jobs, and I traveled all over the country doing petroleum pipelines. He showed me what a successful man would do, and how he would act. I think this is why I think I pour a lot of myself into the men I work with today; I feel a debt to him for what he did in my life.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
After college, Robert worked for a leading restaurant chain, Steak and Ale. “Very quickly they found that I had a knack for training new managers. They’d put them with me for six months or so and I could get them promoted very quickly. But I didn’t understand that I was really good at it. I just thought that was what everybody did. They started moving me up, from area trainer, then a regional trainer. Training and helping people grow was the most natural thing in the world for me. That’s where a lot of the background comes from that I still use to this day.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“Many people are afraid to try something outside of their comfort zone. I truly believe most people—after the age of 18 or maybe 22—get sucked into the status quo. Then they’re very afraid to try anything new. I found that if I could get one foot out of that comfort zone and leave the other foot in, the comfort zone got bigger. The more risk I took and started heading toward my talent area, the more fun life became, and the more joy I got in my life by doing that. But, it took a lot of courage to break out.”
Steps to Success from Robert Mallon
1. Be open to the people who can be your mentors.
2. Be willing to take the first, small steps out of your comfort zone.
3. If you’re not doing what you love, ask yourself, “Why not?”
4. Consider being a mentor to someone in your life.
On His Bookshelf
The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, by Greg McKeown
Connecting With Robert Mallon
Podcast: The Lion’s Den for Business Men
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