How comfortable are you with being uncomfortable? I know this may seem like a paradoxical question, but it’s not. In fact, Michelle and I took a workshop this past weekend where they emphasized the importance of being uncomfortable – related to expanding our growth, success, fulfillment, and more.
Over the past few days I’ve been taking some real inventory of my own life and looking at how willing (or unwilling) I am to be uncomfortable myself. I notice that in certain areas of my life, I’m quite willing to be uncomfortable; while in others, not so much.
There seems to be a direct relationship between my willingness to be uncomfortable and how much excitement, creativity, and abundance I experience in a particular area of my life (both now and in the past). In other words, the more willing I am to be uncomfortable, the more I find myself growing, accomplishing, and transforming. On the flip side, the less willing I am to be uncomfortable, the more stress, resignation, and suffering I experience.
Our egos are highly trained at keeping us “safe” and making sure we avoid any and all “risks.” However, it’s difficult (if not impossible) for us to take our lives, our work, and our relationships to where we truly want them to be if we’re not willing to be uncomfortable in the process.
Being uncomfortable doesn’t necessarily mean that things have to be overly painful, dramatic, or challenging (although sometimes they will). When we’re uncomfortable it’s usually because we’re doing or saying something new, we have something important at stake, or we’re taking an essential risk. These are all beautiful and critical aspects of life and growth. Think of the most important areas of your life, your work, and your relationships – I bet there were and still are elements of these important things that are uncomfortable for you.
When we’re willing to be uncomfortable, we lean into our fear, try new things, and go for it in a bold and authentic way. It doesn’t mean we know exactly what we’re doing (in many cases we won’t). It also doesn’t mean we won’t fail (which, of course, we will at times).
We all have the capacity to be uncomfortable – we’ve been doing it our entire life (learning to walk, talk, ride a bike, drive a car, do our work, and so much more). However, instead of trying to “survive” the uncomfortable aspects of life – what if we embraced them, acknowledged ourselves for our willingness, and even sought out new, unique, and growth-inducing ways to make ourselves uncomfortable consciously?
Here are a few things you can think about and do to enhance your own willingness to be uncomfortable.
1) Take inventory of your life. Where are you willing to be uncomfortable and where are you not? The more honest you can be with yourself about your own willingness (or lack thereof), the more able you’ll be to make some important adjustments and changes. Be authentic and compassionate with yourself as you make this inquiry.
2) Identify your fears. There is always a specific fear (or a set of fears) that exists underneath all of our resistance. When we’re not willing to be uncomfortable, it’s usually because we’re scared. If we can admit, own, and express our fears in an honest and vulnerable way, we can liberate ourselves from their negative grip.
3) Create support and accountability around you. The best way I know of to challenge ourselves and step out of our comfort zone, is to elicit the support of others and make sure we get them to hold us accountable. There may be important things for you to do – that you know will take your life, work, and relationships to the next level – but they seem intimidating (i.e. uncomfortable). Getting people you trust and respect to help you, coach you, and push you is one of the best ways to make it happen – even and especially if you’re not sure how, or worried you can’t do it.
Being uncomfortable is, well, uncomfortable. But, it’s one of the most important things for us to embrace if we want to live a life of real meaning, purpose, and passion.