Being Comfortable Being Uncomfortable
Entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs spend more time testing the edges of their comfort zone than most. And that's a better place to be when you're comfortable being uncomfortable.
It's easy to label discomfort as a negative, when, in fact, it can be an opportunity to get ahead of the competition. To persevere where others give up. Like all things, it's easier with practice. It's also less intimidating if we break down a given situation to understand which parts we're struggling with. Most often, discomfort comes from uncertainty: unfamiliarity, unpredictability, perceived risks. The good news is that these are founded more on our expectations than on reality.
Imagine you face a long, winding path up the side of a mountain. The way forward isn't sure, and the way looks formidable and full of obstacles. Yet, as you walk forwards, routes become visible and some of the seemingly impassable boulders turn out to be props, made of cardboard. Sure, there are legitimately difficult steps to take, it's a real work-out in places, and there is a risk of falling off the cliff edge, but as you progress, step by step, you find you are well-equipped to deal with the challenges as you face them.
"Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present."
Our perceptions of a situation are not always aligned with reality, and this example serves to illustrate how, if we're not careful, perceived future discomfort can hinder our progress. But by embracing the challenge, accepting risks without overplaying them, and focusing on the task at hand (or step underfoot) rather than reacting with fear to what we see on the horizon.
That's not to say discomfort is not real—but that sometimes the biggest hurdle is taking the first step, and leaning in to the sensation of uncertainty.
"If you master discomfort, you can master just about anything!"
Experiencing discomfort can be unpleasant, but it can also be a means to engage fully with a challenge: to stretch ourselves, and pursue opportunities for growth. Discomfort becomes a tool when we use it as a source of motivation. To thrive in discomfort means to dismiss our preconceptions about obstacles that we may or not face, to rationally assess risks, to embrace the challenge and recognise that the reward will come, and to take the next step up the mountainside even if it's difficult, by reminding ourselves why we're climbing the mountain in the first place.
How have you stretched your comfort zone recently? Let us know in the comments below.
Networking opportunity: Entrepreneurs' Brunch
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