Thursday Thoughts





Nothing grows in a comfort zone


Dear First name / friend,


Happy Thursday!


Question for you: when was the last time you willingly and purposefully did something uncomfortable?


I’m not talking about giving the impromptu speech at work because your boss voluntold you during a company-wide Zoom call (and you couldn’t pretend to lose connectivity fast enough).  I’m talking about willingly and purposefully volunteering to make remarks at the company event, even if the idea of a root canal is more appealing to you than public speaking.


My latest foray into discomfort has been a yoga challenge I joined this month.  As I creep closer to getting into pigeon pose without looking like I have the coordination of a baby giraffe (read: none), it’s reminded me of the importance of embracing discomfort.


Aditi, one of my favorite Peloton yoga instructors (I’m @BlackStarSwag if you wanna meet me on the mat!), often says that it's normal to feel discomfort when getting into poses, but we should never feel pain. This is a concept that I often use in my coaching practice.  Many of us have bought into the idea that comfort is supposed to be our norm, our baseline.  Frequently when you ask people what they want to achieve in life, they say, “I want to be comfortable.”  And don’t get me wrong, I am a lady who likes comfort.  Sheets?  The higher the thread count, the better.  Blistering hot day?  Lead me to the air conditioner.  Argue? For what?  In the words of Lil Duval, “Ain’t goin back and for with you…I’m livin my best life.” But as an Instagram sage once said, nothing ever grows in a comfort zone.


The truth is that too often, our commitment to comfort keeps us from stepping into our full capabilities.  

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To grow and to develop, we've got to exercise new aspects of ourselves. We have to stretch, and sometimes when we stretch, it can feel uncomfortable. Not because we’re incapable or because the opportunity is wrong for us, but simply because it's new. Rather than experiencing the new, which could be wonderful, marvelous, and amazing, we retreat before discovering everything that the next phase of our life, career, or relationship has for us, simply because we mistake discomfort for pain.


The flip side, though, is that some of us swing the other way on the pendulum where we think it's not progress unless it's hard and painful. If you are a child of the eighties and nineties like me, you might remember slogans like, “No pain, no gain,” or the watch commercial, “Timex takes a licking and keeps on ticking.” These messages basically said, if it hurts, suck it up and keep going.


In my view: nah.  If it hurts, stop and figure out why.  Pain, like any other feeling, is a source of information. Usually, it’s telling us that something is wrong, that we may need additional support, to slow down, or that we’re at risk of hurting ourselves. Pain is often an indicator that healing needs to happen or something in our perspective or circumstances needs to change. Pain takes us to the stress zone where burnout and resentment reside.


I think the invitation for each of us is to identify the places in our lives where we are stuck in our comfort zones and where we need to embrace discomfort and the growth that comes with it.  The other part of this invitation, though, is to honor our current limits and acknowledge the places where we’re operating in our stress zone and in danger of burnout.   


It’s about finding the sweet spot, where you’re challenged and can grow, while also respecting your current capabilities and keeping yourself healthy and fit for the work ahead.


I’d love to know: in what areas do you need to make a move?  Please reply and let me know.


Until next week…


PS: If you’d like coaching to support you in moving out of your comfort zone, or scaling back from the stress zone, please book a discovery call.


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