On Being Uncomfortable

Transformation is not a comfortable process. It’s interesting to notice how uncomfortable we can be with making others uncomfortable.  I’ve heard many trainers and leaders share examples of how often we brush up against the wall of our comfort zone and stop:

  • “Our leaders won’t do that kind of activity.”
  • “We can’t really talk about that because we don’t know where that will go.”
  • “If we go there, we may never get back on track.”
  • “That could provoke a lot of (emotional) reaction…I don’t think we are ready for that.”

If we expect real learning, deep changes to the way we engage that result in huge leaps in life and business, we have to honor that discomfort is part of this process.

When leaders normalize discomfort, they invite a culture that embraces feedback and change.

What does normalizing discomfort look and sound like? It looks like putting it out there, bravely inviting in THE conversation that is the most important one we should be having. It sounds like, “We are all about growth here. Growth is uncomfortable and sometimes messy. You’re going to feel uncomfortable and that’s ok.”

Brene Brown, author of Daring Greatly, says that when she is teaching at the University of Houston she tells her students, “If you’re comfortable, I’m not teaching and you’re not learning. It’s going to get uncomfortable in here and that’s okay. It’s normal and it’s part of the process.”

What would it look and sound like for you to invite in the uncomfortable?

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3 thoughts on “On Being Uncomfortable

  1. Anna Kiesnowski

    I so needed to read this post! It’s so important to feel the “stretch” even when it’s uncomfortable. I live and work in a comfort zone that is, well… “comfortable” for me but my greatest moments of growth usually come from times of discomfort. It may not be enjoyable at first, but with practice and determination, it gets easier. 🙂

  2. Jen McGahan

    Jeanine, I like this. It’s like building muscle or sewing a seam together; the resulting fiber is always stronger. In fact, you’re wise to discern where to touch that uncomfortable point — because that’s the part you ultimately reinforce as you move through it and “fix” it.

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