I’m not one to second-guess myself. Once I make a decision, I’m all in. I’m going to make it work. So I haven’t woken up in the morning asking “What have I done?” In fact, on Monday I woke up thinking, “I’m so glad I did it!”
It hasn’t been without discomfort, however.
If you know me very well, you know I’m not often (or maybe even ever) one to choose to end something without another plan in place. I mean, plenty of things have happened that forced me to suddenly change, but that isn’t the same as doing it to myself. Yet this time that’s exactly what I did. Because I couldn’t see my way clear to another way. I was too immersed in what I was doing. I was in survival mode and almost to the point of drowning.
So here I am going with the flow. That’s so foreign to me that it feels uncomfortable. And liberating. Both at the same time. The thing is, I’ve noticed that when I feel uncomfortable, I do something to try and make that feeling go away. Like watch YouTube or read the news. Or escape with a book. Anything so I don’t have to sit with the discomfort.
Yet I’m seeing that’s exactly what I need to do. Let myself feel everything. The freedom, gratitude, joy, connection with friends. And yes, the uncomfortableness.
It’s amazing how strong the instinct to eliminate discomfort is. To go for comfort. And yet everything we read is that growth happens at the edge of our comfort zone – just beyond reach. Daniel Coyle calls it the sweet spot.
In “The Little Book of Talent”, Coyle says this: “Here’s how to find the sweet spot. Sensations: frustration, difficulty, alertness to errors. You’re fully engaged in an intense struggle – as if you’re stretching with all your might for a nearly unreachable goal, brushing it with your fingertips, then reaching it again. Percentage of successful attempts: 50-80 percent”
He says to play on the edges of your competence.
Now Daniel Coyle is talking about how to get better at something. But I can apply this to my situation as well. How willing I am to sit with discomfort and experiment with new and different things will impact my growth. Because everything’s new, it all feels unnatural. All my habits have to be rethought. My behavior patterns redone. And just letting new habits develop without intention would be wasting this opportunity.
It’s so much easier to numb by doing something isn’t it? Especially when the thing we numb with seems like helping or serving someone else. We feel like heroes. But if we’re doing it so we don’t have to feel, then it’s really a cover-up. Like drugs. Or food. Another way to avoid ourselves and our own hearts.
So I’m making myself feel it. Discomfort. Sometimes even boredom. I expect to hear my heart. My body. God. Because I’m taking the time to listen. Even when every part of me wants to do something else.
I’m asking myself – am I letting good things get in the way of even better things? You might want to ask yourself the same question. And allow yourself to sit with your uncomfortableness too. You might hear what you need to hear. Feel what you need to feel. And that might just be the springboard to something even greater down the road. All because you listened and learned now.
Feel free to share in the comments. There’s power in community.