Getting Uncomfortable (#61)

In theory, the more comfortable we are, the more successful our lives should be. However, the opposite has been proven true. The more vulnerable and uncomfortable we get, the more successful we can be.  It turns out that comfort often creates complacency and avoidance; it gets in the way of what we really want.

Think about all of those difficult decisions or conversation that you have put off. In most every case, it only serves to delay the inevitable. From personal experience, when I procrastinate having a challenging conversation or making a difficult decision, it’s because I’m trying to make too many people happy. However, it comes at the expense of getting the outcome that I really want and is a drain on my energy and productivity.

In my quest to get better at getting uncomfortable and addressing things head on, I’ve sought experts on the topic, such as Dr. Brené Brown. She’s spent the past 13 years studying vulnerability, courage, worthiness, and shame and is the author of three #1 New York Times bestsellers: Daring GreatlyThe Gifts of Imperfection, and Rising Strong.

After thousands of interviews with high achievers, her assessment is that our willingness to be uncomfortable is actually one of the greatest contributors to our ultimate success. Our ability to “lean into discomfort” and walk towards (not away from) uncomfortable situations defines who we are and our capacity for success.

She states that, “When we step back and examine our lives, we will find that nothing is as uncomfortable, dangerous, and hurtful as standing on the outside of our lives looking in and wondering what it would be like if we had the courage to step into the arena—whether it’s a new relationship, an important meeting, the creative process, or a difficult family conversation.”

I’d encourage you to watch Brené’s TED talk on The Power of Vulnerability. It’s one of the top 5 most watched Ted talks in history. You can also listen to her podcast interview with Tim Ferris.

I’ve mentioned this before, but regret is about what we don’t do, not what we do. When faced with a situation that requires you to be vulnerable or uncomfortable, making the choice to be brave will likely lead you to the best outcome.

Quote of the Week

“He or she who is willing to be the most uncomfortable is not only the bravest but rises the fastest.”

Brené Brown

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  1. Mindy March 3, 2017 at 7:30 am

    I could not agree more. As my children are starting to make a lot of there own choices, they are nervous about those hard conversations. When my daughter wanted to quit the top band in order to pursue other interests, we role played the conversation. She needed to have the hard conversation to know it is never as bad as it seems. there is nothing harder than not being true to yourself. Always look forward to Friday mornings. Thanks Bob!

  2. Carianne Roche March 3, 2017 at 9:47 am

    I totally agree with what you are saying. For a long time people have told me I should do something with my photographs and I never listened. I always said it was just a hobby; I am not good enough. Well, my brother gave me the inspiration to finally go for it. I am having my first art show in July at Patriots Place. I am still nervous (what if no one likes my pictures, what if no one buys any; of course the negative thoughts are still there), but once I made the decision, I got, and still am, so excited about the prospect of having a show! Whatever happens at least I put myself out there and will finally have done it. It is always scary to take that first step, but it is also so exciting! Go for it! Whatever you have thought about doing for a long time – do it!

  3. David March 4, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Bob- thank you for writing and sharing these thoughts each week. You are doing a GREAT job! It is really something how conflict avoidance allows issues to fester and grow.

  4. David Schoenberger March 6, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Good words, as always, Bob. Comfort is something we seek yet that craving creates the very problem you’ve highlighted. Sure, taking a break from all that “stress” is indeed a good thing but avoidance is an existential cancer – not a strategy…

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