What I learned when I pushed through discomfort
For 5 full days, I was covered in a perpetual layer of sweat. If I wasn’t dripping with sweat, I was sticky with the salt on my skin. I know, it’s totally gross so why am I telling you all of this? There was a lesson here in my discomfort about what uncomfortable situations do to influence experiences. As I spent my time in Mexico with my Mastermind Sisters, I was reminded of how relevant pushing through discomfort is to business.
When we experience something foreign, uncomfortable or unexpected, we have an opportunity to decide what we do with that discomfort.
Maybe you’re growing into a new business idea.
Maybe you’re scared of a decision you’re facing.
Maybe you are hoping to leave your full time job for your business.
Maybe you just had a terrible day of client complaints.
No business owner is immune to discomfort; we all go through it at points in our businesses. The way we choose to engage with the discomfort is what creates the experience.
Newness is uncomfortable but it’s just the not knowing.
I took 8 years of French and even though I grew up in Southern California, I know almost no Spanish. So being in Mexico, I expected to not be able to converse with locals but it was still frustrating to not know what they were saying. Was I doing things right? Was I following the customs of the local culture? When I did try a few words of Spanish, were they laughing at me?
In business, when we don’t know the answer to something or what the solution is, it can be uncomfortable. The discomfort could make you stop from trying again or convince you that you don’t know enough and you should just quit. Instead, know that you’ll be uncomfortable and when it is, remind yourself that this discomfort is temporary. Once you move through the discomfort, you’ll know if it was the right call or not.
Your experience depends on your perspective.
When I was convinced that I couldn’t sweat any more, I kept sweating under the humid sun. I could have let the discomfort make me grumpy or complain but instead, I chose to embrace it and instead enjoy the game despite the heat. On the first day there, I changed my expectations from “I have to be in AC to be comfortable” to “I want to have fun even if it’s really hot” which made the rest of the trip so much more enjoyable.
Shifting your perspective on how you should feel (I should be comfortable or this should feel good) can be a freeing moment. Knowing that despite something being uncomfortable, you’re able to create results; despite being fearful, you accomplished something makes the end result that much more valuable. You could let the discomfort ruin an experience or you can choose to let it be “normal” and gain something from the lesson it has to offer.
Discomfort allows us to experience remarkable adventures.
Had I wanted to go to find only the air-conditioned locations in Tulum, Mexico, I would have missed out on the fun adventures we got to enjoy. In the muggy 95 degree heat, the mastermind gals and I biked along the water to the Tulum Ruina where we got to see the magnificent view of the ancient Mayan temples and gorgeous turquoise beaches. The sweat could be washed off but the memory of those clear blue waters are forever etched in my memory.
When you stay within your comfort zone, you might not reach out to somebody who you feel is farther ahead on their journey because you are intimidated when that relationship could have been an opportunity for a valuable collaboration. When you avoid discomfort in your business, you might not spread your message because you think, “who am I to …” and you miss out on the opportunity of speaking at a conference. Trying something that has a little bit of your comfort zone allows for your comfort zone to expand.
You’re in for the ride or you’re always looking for an exit.
We were snorkeling in a Cenote where there were deeper areas to explore. There was an opportunity to go deep, knowing we couldn’t breathe until we surfaced. Normally, I’m pretty much a scaredy-cat so I wouldn’t have done it, but I challenged myself and said “it doesn’t matter if I’m scared, I’m not going to regret not having tried it once.” Getting to see what others who didn’t take up the challenge was an incredible reward. If you don’t go all in, you’re going to look for an excuse, a way out, an alternative and try to talk yourself out and ultimately cheat yourself of an experience.
It’s the same with business. There are plenty of uncomfortable, scary, and resistance filled places that we face. If you don’t go all in, you’re going to wonder what it could have been like, or you’re going to constantly be looking for the way out of your entrepreneurial journey when it’s only just starting.z
You’re grateful when you have what you know.
Before I turned on the shower at the beautiful house we stayed in, I wondered why they didn’t have a shower curtain. Didn’t the Mexicans worry about splashing water all over the room? Then I discovered that the water only came out in a slow trickle out of the ceiling level showerhead, making it inconvenient to wash my thick hair. Instead of worrying too much about it, I reminded myself of how grateful I’ll be to have the water pressure when I get back home.
In the business world, when you step out of your comfort zone into an area of discomfort, you can always go back to something you’re comfortable with. You can always go “back home” and feel welcome, feel understood, and safe. Trying something new is just temporary and discomfort isn’t something that’s meant to damage what feels comfortable.