Why here and not there?

Updated: Nov 11

Despite the growth opportunities from experiencing discomfort, comfort is something we all seek.


Recently, I was reminded that as business owners, it’s important that we get comfortable with discomfort because in that moment, we choose to accept who we are. Beneath any discomfort is fear. For some it could be the fear of missing out and for others it may be the fear of not being in control (that’s my problem!).


Despite the growth opportunities from experiencing discomfort, comfort is something we all seek. In fact, the notion of “being comfortable” is promoted in our societies and is considered a major selling point for goods and services!


As a researcher of #culture and the merits of #diversity in organisational settings, I have always been curious about why some people are comfortable making friends or doing business internationally, while others prefer to stay within their immediate surroundings? And I think it comes down to the sense of belonging, either within our immediate social groups or amongst new friends.


You see, belonging is a widely used but loosely defined term that has two broad meanings:


  • Attachment to a particular social group - family, our local community or the national community we are a part of.

  • The second meaning is spatial: this identifies belonging as attachment to a specific place.


So, belonging can be seen from the points of view of individuals, groups, or certain places. From the perspective of individuals, a person’s focus is on how they experience belonging This tends to be described qualitatively using descriptors such as “sense of belonging,” “belongingness,” or “place attachment.” I typically do not get attached to places because I have been moving countries all my life, however my sense of belonging in say Japan was strangely very strong. It may have had something to do with the fact that I was surrounded by open minded Japanese folk and other expats. However, from the viewpoint of groups, we think about the ways that belonging is created and maintained in specific settings, such as in companies, in other words the company culture.


We all want to feel part of the community that we are a part of by the sheer fact that that is who we are engaged with in that moment in time – whether personally or in business - and in business we would often refer to this as our network - temporarily or permanently.


But what is needed to complete the puzzle of belonging to facilitate our social relationships to each other, to the places we are most affiliated with and to the people and places we are not yet familiar with, but that we want to do business with?


It’s all to do with our levels of engagement, connection and discovery of self and others.


I just have one question for you? What is stopping you from internationalising your business? More specifically, what is stopping you from competing in a $5trillion market by doing business in the last frontier for global growth – Africa?


If your answer to my question is “I don’t know” or better still “Nothing!” and you would like to explore your business opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, book a 15-minute chat with me here. My promise to you is that you’ll leave the call with at least one critical insight - whether your idea for business growth in Africa is a viable one or not.


To your success!





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I'm Leah

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