An Uncomfortable Secret
I’ve been uncomfortable lately. I “started” my coaching business is January of 2020, and we all know that two months before the impact of a global pandemic is the best time to start a business. My ambitious plans for 2020 were put on hold. Uncertainty swirled. I worked from home from mid-March through Father’s Day that year, and during those months I was doing my best to handle the swell of online sales growth my job was experiencing, figuring out which mask to wear and what material was best, making trips to the grocery store for my family and our neighbor, and how to wash my groceries. Investing in my business was officially on hold. I took some initial Co-Active Training Institute courses that year but doing actual coaching and working on my business was not going to happen. As we moved into 2021 and the vaccine became available, I continued to think about this thing I wanted to start. I completed the core course work and applied for certification.
The last year has been intense. I completed my certification course work and am nearing the end of the required coaching hours before I sit for the final exam. I’ve reached out to friends and strangers (I would love to work with you, by the way) in search of clients. I’ve asked for referrals. And I’ve recently begun something new in hopes of working with more businesses. It has all been a practice of deep vulnerability, opening myself up to others and expecting some rejection. It has felt risky, allowing myself to hope and dream that I could be doing the work I want to do, putting my gifts, experiences, and expertise out there for others to judge. All this work, my efforts and attempts to do work that is meaningful to me and my clients, has felt very uncomfortable. But I’ve grown comfortable being uncomfortable.
I first heard this phrase several years ago in a class I was taking through my church at the time and I often evoke it with my clients: Get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s cute, with its air of wisdom or fortune cookie mystique. Sure, the best things happen when we’re outside of our comfort zone. There is truth to this. If nothing changes, nothing changes, so we step outside our comfort zones to gain new experiences, build new skills, or engage in our lives differently. When we step outside our comfort zones it’s easy to gain whatever experience we were hoping to gain and then either retreat to our former comfort zone or expand our comfort zone into this new are. It’s like deciding to work out but then never lifting a heavier weight or jogging more than a mile. We just find a new comfort zone. But if we want to experience real transformation, we must get comfortable being uncomfortable.
Often the change that we really want to experience requires us to get uncomfortable and stay in the that discomfort. If we want to write that book, start and grow a business, shift careers, end a relationship, or rekindle a romance we must constantly place ourselves outside our comfort zones. We’ll choose actions that make us feel exposed and raw. We’ll share our emotions with a friend, a spouse, a coach or a therapist. We’ll network with strangers at a weekend conference or join a jogging group and run beside real people. We’ll invest in ourselves with our own time and money, and we’ll set boundaries with work, family, and friends that they won’t completely understand. And it will feel uncomfortable the whole time, but the more you stretch and grow and learn and lean into it the more comfortable you’ll be in the discomfort because you know that real work and real change is happening.
And then you’ll learn this secret.
You won’t believe me now, unless you’ve experienced it.
But I’ll tell you the secret and you can learn it for yourself later.
You were already uncomfortable. You were uncomfortable the whole time. Something inside you wanted to be die and be reborn. But fear or worry or discouragement or shame told you that this was as good as it gets, the best you deserve. When you start choosing to live in the discomfort of growth and change you realize how uncomfortable you were living that old way, but that discomfort offered you nothing new. When you learn this secret for yourself you will embrace this new discomfort and look for more ways to challenge yourself toward a life of courage and vulnerability and wholeness.