Saturday morning in Pure Barre class I was standing in front of the mirror pressed up close to the ballet barre in a parallel squat, legs shaking uncontrollably, watching sweat beads form along my face, and feeling a nasty burn in my legs. Then our instructor G said it “work through the discomfort”. “Ah!” I exclaimed internally, as I watched my hard angry scowl lift into a smile. This wasn’t pain, it was just discomfort. I’d felt it before and I could choose to push through it now. This is what I love about exercises like Pure Barre or a yoga class where you push yourself hard physically speaking. What I learn about my body always applies to my life. If I can play with pushing my limits here in this relatively safe class and practice working through the discomfort, it helps me push through the discomfort in real life. Not only does Discomfort = Growth, I’d argue you can’t have growth without discomfort.
Building a business can feel non-stop uncomfortable, so it’s lucky that growth is one of my core values. I’m learning to live with a level of discomfort that I didn’t know was possible. Every day before I go to bed while I reflect on my day I’m astonished to realize how much I’ve grown and learned. I’ve learned more in the last 10 months than I learned in my entire 11 years in the insurance industry and I’m sure that’s because my passion, and what I’m good at have finally found an outlet.
Entrepreneurship is trial by discomfort, how uncomfortable can I be and for how long? I ask myself how much can I push through the discomfort? If I think about it like an exercise in Barre class I know there will be a rep I need to work through, it won’t last forever and I can take a break in-between the reps. The rest is just as important as the push, so I look for places where I can take short rests from the discomfort so that I can push harder when I need to most. I gave a presentation last week that seemed to fall flat, on a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give myself a 4. It was one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve done so far and it was by far the greatest learning experience I’ve had in ages. I wish there was a flowery way to say this, but it SUCKS that the experiences that feel the worst, the kind you cringe at when you look back on them, are often the ones you learn the biggest lessons from. There’s no shortcut through the discomfort on the path to growth. After my flat presentation, I made a list of all of the things I could have done to make that presentation better, and to connect better with the audience because that’s what growth through discomfort looks like.
What I did learn from my sales job in corporate America is how to be comfortable with the discomfort of hearing no over and over again. I learned that I could hear no a lot and be ok with it, like in Barre I’m learning I can shake a little longer before giving up and I take those lessons with me out into the world now every time I share my message. I feel intense gratitude that I’ve found my perfect combination, immense passion for coaching and building a business I believe in coupled with the great discomfort that comes with putting myself out there in the world over and over, mostly to be rejected but knowing that when I do get it right that’s when I’ve found people who belong in my tribe. For me, there’s no turning back, so I’m letting G’s reminder “work through the discomfort” be a motto for my day to day life. A reminder to push a little harder, to get in front of a new group, lead a new workshop, keep creating new programming or tweak my individual program to continually make it better. The more I can push through the discomfort the stronger my business will be, and the great a difference I can make through my work. Discomfort = Growth
Where are you working through the discomfort right now? Have you been playing it safe in your comfort zone or are you willing to “push through the discomfort” to grow? I know you have the courage to be uncomfortable to find the growth you need too.