Updated: Jan 12, 2022
As humans, discomfort is something we avoid. But what if I told you, it is the very signal that takes you out of your mental cage and leads you to achieve what you’ve always wanted. That is, if you let it.
I’m Shenali, let me compel you to stay in your discomfort zone by sharing my story.
I left a cushy job, with great benefits, to chase a dream- learning a subject area that I truly loved. During this transition, I experienced a lot of contradictory opinions. I second guessed my capabilities and my insecurities started getting louder. This is where a lot of us give up — when the process inspires all kinds of challenging feelings.
Yet, my instinct guided me, remembering that growth and comfort rarely co-exist. I pushed through the feeling of discomfort to do something I love, but never knew I was capable of achieving. But here I am. Learning something new everyday and I couldn’t be happier.
These are a few things I learned in my journey of self discovery.
1. Identify potential challenges and decide that you can meet them.
Between your comfort zone and the panic zone, is where you discover how wildly capable you are. With the right mindset and plan, you can push through barriers that are holding you back.
List all the factors that could encourage you to quit. Be specific. What sacrifices will be the most difficult? What changes might push you way out of your comfort zone?
Then ask yourself this: What do I gain if I keep going?
I’m currently maintaining a jam-packed schedule with freelance work, a full time job and a passion project. I would far prefer to cut out some of the work, but for now, that’s the price of indulging my passions. For now.
Juggling all of these responsibilities can sometimes feel overwhelming. Then I remember I chose this lifestyle to support my vision, and I am making progress.
It also helps to remind myself that busy-ness does not have to create stress. I can have a lot to do without worrying about it. Being anxious won’t get things done any faster; it will just suck the joy out of something I love.
2. Your moments of insecurity are tools, use them
Notice your feelings. Feel them. Realize they aren’t permanent — you won’t always feel scared, or anxious, or paranoid. No matter how uncomfortable change can be, I know what I do now creates what I feel tomorrow. And that’s worth moving through the negative emotions to achieve.
3. Constraints are your friends
Although ‘constraint’ is always expressed with negative connotations, the human body’s response to constraints of time, money and resource is profound. It unlocks a layer of creativity that all great leaders self-impose time and time again.
For example, let’s say you’re facing a business situation where you require a team of 6 for a tight project deliverable; but you can only afford 4 committed individuals (this is often the case with startups). This is a resource and time constraint.
What you’ll find is that with less time and resources you are forced to trust your gut instinct. You don’t have time canvassing opinions from numerous people for better options that might be ‘safer’. If you trust your gut, then a good way for you to force yourself to use your gut is through constraints. This will lead you to discovering big and outlandish ideas rather than having a room full of 25 people and result in death by committee and come out with the blandest idea.
I invite you to rediscover yourself in your discomfort zone. You are the connection you’ve been hoping to make. You hold the clarity you’ve been seeking. So reframe your fears into excitement and plow ahead. Be bold, be present and never forget how wildly capable you are.
Let 2022 be the year you start living the life you want to live — it’s the single most liberating and rewarding experience of my life and I hope it is yours too!