get uncomfortable

Be Comfortable with being Uncomfortable

The other day I was in a cycle class when the instructor said “I know this feels hard now. It feels uncomfortable. What you need to do is get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” My eyes were bleary with sweat, and my legs were shaking, so I didn’t immediately ponder on the metaphor of life our wise instructor had thrown at us. I just got through the class. Just! But when  you think about it, it’s very true. Anything great was never achieved by sitting on the couch eating chocolate chip biscuits. It was done through a combination of blood, sweat tears, or just sheer determination. We look at successful people and thing “wow, they’re lucky”, and some of them are. Most of them, however,  profess that the harder they work, the luckier they get.

Nothing changes until something moves

Albert Einstein once said that “nothing changes until something moves”. But what has to move? Well, the good news is that it doesn’t have to be your legs on a spin bike. Not immediately anyway. The FIRST thing that has to move is a thought. Our thoughts become things – and the more we think, the more things we can create. So, the cool thing about this bit, is we just have to think. Create a thought that will lead to something amazing. Then move in a way that is consistent with what we are thinking. Some might call it goal- setting. Or manifestation. It’s all about deciding what it is we want and going after it. What are your goals? What do you want?

Most of our goals are smaller than what is actually possible. We think small because we want to be “realistic” or “not greedy”. We aim small, and we reach small, not realising the un-tapped potential awaiting us. There is another reason. We set goals that are small so it’s not too hard to reach them. We want to reach our goals but we don’t want to get too uncomfortable. We don’t want to sweat TOO much. We can be like the casual joggers of the goal-setting world. Just taking it nice and easy. Slow and steady. And while we are actually moving, we are not uncomfortable.

Feeling uncomfortable yet?

It doesn’t mean that every day has to be a hard slog. It doesn’t mean that every workout needs to be a marathon. It means that in order to achieve our goals, we need to be putting in an effort that makes us feel uncomfortable, and is consistent with the results we are after. And the really great thing about this, is the more we make ourselves uncomfortable, the more comfortable we get with it. Our comfort zone expands. Think about the first time you rode a bike on two wheels. At first (well, for me, anyway) it was scary. I thought I was going to fall (and did). It took all my concentration to stay upright. Now, I ride my bike easily, and while I’m still concentrating, it’s more comfortable than it was when I was learning.

Push the boundaries

It’s not about going from being terrified of heights to jumping out of a plane within a day. It’s about doing something every day that makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable. Slowly pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone out so it becomes huge! Opening up your world to more exciting things to try that you never thought were possible before. Take a night class. Go to a networking event. Offer to speak at an event. Introduce yourself to someone you admire. Sign up with a Personal Trainer or Coach to help you. Someone who can help you through your fears and limitations. There was a time when I would give the cycle studio a wide berth – it was scary (still is). Now I go to class regularly. I remember the first time I presented in front of over one hundred people. I was terrified. Now I’ve done it numerous times. And it has opened doors to opportunities I have never imagined.

What could you do that is uncomfortable but could get you outstanding results? What can you do today to expand your comfort zone?



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.