Getting Comfortable with Discomfort

Being the leader of your life takes effort.

  • You need to get clear on what you want,
  • You need to figure out how to best proceed to meet your objectives, and
  • You need to act to make your vision your reality.

But the secret is that you need to become comfortable with discomfort.

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It’s the essential ingredient to ultimately getting what you want.

Whether you are endeavoring to change jobs, leave a relationship, get fit for a triathlon, or start a business, the key ingredient is grit. By that, I mean working hard + being okay with building the plane while you fly it. Why is this so important?

Because setbacks are a part of everyday life.

If you are out in the world making change in your life, you are experiencing obstacles each and every day. You’ve likely heard the phrase, “The only thing that stays the same is change.” This is certainly true, now more than ever. At the speed that everyone, and everything, is moving, change is the only constant. It’s a way of life from which we can’t escape. So we best get used to it.

Consider the idea of survival of the fittest. Well, for me, the fittest people are not the ones with washboard abs, instead, they are the people who are not attached to any particular outcome but are focused instead on moving forward and trying new things. They are the people who are okay with the purgatory-like feeling that comes when waiting to hear back on the results of an interview, or going out for yet another run at dark-o’clock to prepare for our first triathlon because we committed to it and can’t back out.

Being comfortable with discomfort reminds us that we are alive.

It’s a feeling not to be avoided but embraced, because with discomfort comes movement, and with movement comes progress. When we open to the difficult emotions that come up when we feel anxious, fearful, or emotional, we are being open to becoming the best version of ourselves—the person who reaches for opportunity and has an abundant spirit, knowing that the universe always provides a door that opens when another closes, if we just care to see it.

Whether you are faced with a layoff, a termination, a demotion, a failing business, or an illness, it is all just information to inform your next choices. We live our dreams when we don’t allow the individual experiences of our lives to define us, but instead weather the discomfort of not knowing in order to discover our next step. We evolve when we allow the experiences of our lives – both positive and negative – to take us ever closer to what we truly want.

We are resilient beings, if we decide to see our resilience.

When I have a bad day, I notice that I can reframe my mindset to open to possibility, to invite in abundance, love, and light. I do this through ritual and mindfulness (my favorite morning ritual is to draw an oracle card to bring my focus to a different element for the day), and by getting into physical movement and service as soon as I can. I honor when I’m feeling low and follow my natural body rhythms (getting enough sleep and drinking enough water, for example). I often don’t notice how much progress I’ve made in being comfortable with discomfort until I’m working with a client who faces similar challenges, and I feel resourceful on their behalf.

The answers are within us. We all hold the key to embracing challenge, change, and uncertainty in our lives, to move through and beyond it to experience more of what we truly want.

Being fired is not the end of the road professionally, though in the moment, it can feel like it. Divorce doesn’t kill us, generally, even though it may feel like it at the beginning. It is all just information, an opportunity to do something new, to make new choices, to orbit closer and closer to what we truly want for our lives.

Here’s my challenge to you:

The next time you are feeling frustrated or angry, remind yourself that the challenges you face will make you stronger and bring you closer to your ultimate goal. Tell yourself that you are simply becoming more comfortable with discomfort—one of the little-known secrets to success.

Photo credit: Ucumari via flickr cc

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