It’s human nature to try to ease discomfort as quickly as possible. As Freud famously described, we have the instinctual need to seek pleasure and avoid pain. But leaning into the discomfort of uncomfortableness is where we stretch ourselves, grow as people, and achieve greatness.
My greatest moment of discomfort was just over 9 years ago while living in Austin, TX. Early one (really hot and muggy) morning, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t going to be the person I was capable of becoming while living the fast-paced, uber-materialist, unexamined life I was leading. It was incredibly painful to acknowledge that I was failing at life. But that realization…that burst of utter honesty with myself…was the most defining moment of my life. And it really sucked. I was almost paralyzed with discomfort about what the future would hold.
That day, I made the decision to come clean with my mother and closest friends. I concluded that Durango, where my mother lived, was where I needed to be. A week later, I gave my boss a month’s notice that I was leaving. A month later, I traded in my sports car for a (very unsexy) Honda CRV and packed what belongings would fit into it, put the rest in storage, and drove the 1000 miles from Austin to Durango. And I cried most of the way. What in the hell was I doing?
It was the best decision of my life.
I could have pushed aside the discomfort. I could have ignored it and talked myself into staying in Austin. I could have easily stayed stuck.
Instead, I set my life on a radically different course.
Being pushed outside of your comfort zone means that you are being given a golden opportunity to grow as a person. Rather than run away from it, dig your heels in and resist it, deny it, or blame someone for making you uncomfortable, I encourage you to take it head-on. Breathe deeply and say to yourself, “I am going to learn something really great throughout this process. I may not know what it is yet but I trust that it is going to help me be a better parent/spouse/employee/coach/fill in the blank.”
Here are some things I do when I feel uncomfortable (which happens quite often, truth be told):
There is no doubt that it can be insanely scary to take risks, try something new, or make major changes in your life. You might fail, look stupid, get lost, or lose money. Or you might not. You can try to fool yourself into thinking that playing it safe will ease the discomfort. But I can tell you this, playing it safe isn’t safe. In fact, it’s the biggest risk you can take in your life. Settling for mediocracy in this one life you have to live is a major gamble.
Don’t let your fear and dislike of being uncomfortable hold you back. Acknowledge it, cuddle up with it, take one small step, and observe the powerful sense of achievement you will feel.
Thanks for reading as always, please comment or share if you feel inspired to.
A Quick Blurb on what this blog is about.
Welcome to my blog! My name is Kerry Siggins and plain speaking, honest leadership is my mantra. My intention is to help those who lead (or want to lead) become better at saying and doing what needs to be said and done in a way that it can be heard and seen, one person at a time.