Often we anticipate the worst possible outcome when it comes to potentially negative scenarios. We end up making it worse in our heads than it actually ends up being. And when we put off doing something we don’t want, it draws out the discomfort longer than it otherwise would be. But how do you talk yourself into facing what you fear? How do you motivate yourself to bring on the discomfort? How do you get comfortable being uncomfortable?
Recognize that Discomfort Makes us Grow
You’ve probably heard someone say that you need to step outside your comfort zone to experience growth. I know, it sounds cliché. I do feel like coming out on the other end of my uncomfortable situations, I had personal growth in some capacity. Particularly when I’ve conversation that make my stomach feel like it has twisted up like a pretzel. When I was in college and decided that I was not going to pursue being a CPA, which I had set as a goal for myself when I was VERY young, I was afraid to tell the people who expected me to follow this path. I was afraid to disappoint them and I even doubted myself because of it. There were two people in particular that I was absolutely terrified to tell. And one of them was disappointed. But I was actually relieved once I got through it. And I felt more confident because I stood up for what I felt was best for me. It taught me that it is okay to focus on finding what I am MEANT to do rather than worrying about what I am “SUPPOSED” to do.
Practice- and Face the Small Things First
When I was in my early twenties, I attended a training program to help me become a better presenter. During the course of this this training, we were tasked with standing in front of groups and presenting on a predetermined topic. I was terrified! What if I didn’t know enough about the topic and looked stupid. What if I had to share my own views and people didn’t agree? What if I was just a terrible presenter? It was really hard to force myself to get started. But over the course of multiple days of doing this, it got less scary. I realized that I was with a group of like minded people who were just as nervous as I was. I still got nervous every time I had to present, but it got easier to think clearly and formulate a presentation in spite of my nerves.
The more times I faced the nerves and anxiety and didn’t die from it, the more confident I felt in my ability to present. Find ways to practice getting uncomfortable with small thing first. Do your first Facebook live, write your first blog, get day one back at the gym under your belt. Build up your confidence so that even if you never get comfortable being uncomfortable, you know you will come out on the other side.
Be Realistic About the Potential Negative Results
Have you ever gotten yourself so worked up about something and then it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought? This resonates with me. There have been a number of times that I procrastinated on starting a project because I thought it would take too long, be too tedious or I wouldn’t like the outcome. And then I jump in and it is over before I know it. The same is true about having conversations that I was afraid to face. They’ve always been worse in my head than in reality. How do we put our creatively anxious minds in check? As yourself, is your perception of the outcome based on fact and experience or is it based on fear of the unknown? One of the greatest trainings I ever took taught me to recognize when I create a problem or get upset about something that has not happened yet. It is amazing how much more empowered you feel when you aren’t distraught over situations that aren’t real.
Create Your Power Ritual
I am not sure I will ever get comfortable being uncomfortable or facing fears. But I do know that when I give myself a pep talk, look at the situation objectively and take an honest assessment of whether my perceived discomfort is likely to be realized, I feel more empowered and confident that I can handle almost anything. I hope you too can find your power ritual and wish you all the best in getting uncomfortable!