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Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable: Why This is Important to Your Personal Growth

December 15, 2023 by Linda Martindale

We all have comfort zones. Those cozy little places and daily routines where we feel safe, secure, and maybe content in our own habitual nature. You know, like snuggling on the couch with your dog when you should be attending a networking event or an evening class. It’s the little things that make us comfortable; like putting our face into our phone rather than saying, “Please pick up after your dog,” to that neighbor (yes, you have stepped in it, one time too many). However, it’s the big things, like opening ourselves up to potential conflict, that stretch us beyond our comfort zones and into areas of personal growth. 

As comfortable as these places may be, staying within our comfort zones can sometimes hold us back. In order for us to grow and reach our potential (and maybe find true happiness), we need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. It’s a simple idea with significant rewards. 

The idea of deliberately stepping into discomfort may seem counterintuitive, but being uncomfortable in the name of personal growth is actually a powerful mindset. This journey toward “embracing discomfort” can seem daunting at first, but there’s a number of tools and tactics that can guide you along the way. 

Some of the benefits of getting comfortable with discomfort include:

Increased Resilience: training us to handle adversity better.

Enhanced Creativity: unfamiliar territory forces us to find creative solutions.

Improved Confidence: when we realize that an uncomfortable situation can be resolved, the after-effect can be increased confidence and self-esteem. The concept of embracing discomfort may sound promising, but getting started can sometimes prove to be more difficult. This is where a professional coach becomes a valuable asset. Working with a coach to guide you through this process and provide you with strategies to sit with your discomfort will enable you to be fully supported and accountable to your actions at the same time. 

First, a client needs to determine why they want to change an existing habit or “a way of being.”  Once that is determined, a coach can lay out some strategies to test the waters and find a place that is uncomfortable enough to find growth but not too uncomfortable to become frustrated or discouraged.  

For example, if a person is lonely and looking for connections, a coach might recommend practicing saying hello to strangers or striking up conversations with people in the grocery store line. Another example would be if a person wants to be healthier, a coach may suggest adding vegetables to every meal and eating them first before anything else. Seems simple, but practice creates change.

The basic premise is that by pushing ourselves to try new things and take on new challenges, we develop novel skills and gain confidence in our abilities to get through uncomfortable situations. That can be incredibly powerful and empowering. With that said, it’s important to remember that stepping outside of our comfort zones doesn’t mean we need to take huge leaps or do something drastic. It can be as simple as trying a new food, speaking up in a meeting, or saying hello to a stranger on an elevator.  

It’s OK to feel anxious or nervous when trying something new, and it’s important to give ourselves grace and compassion as we figure this out. By stepping outside of our little cozy comfort zones, we challenge ourselves, develop new skills, and become more confident in the face of conflict or change. After all, the endgame is personal growth. And that’s worth it. You’re worth it.

Linda Martindale is a certified Mental Fitness coach for student-athletes. She was college athlete and a coach and is the mother of four college athletes (one in the recruiting process).  She is currently a varsity boys basketball coach and understands the importance of good physical and mental conditioning as it relates to enhanced focus, building resilience, maximizing performance and recovering from injury or set-backs.  She is a huge advocate for the “I See You” Movement and is a proud member of WeCoach and Strong Women, Strong Girls. 

Connect with Linda: www.MartindaleCoaching.com

Facebook: @Martindalecoaching

Instagram: @Martindalecoaching

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