“Be uncomfortable. Comfort zones keep you safe. They also keep you small.”
—Jessica Zweig, author of Be: A No-Bullsh*t Guide to Increasing Your Self Worth and Net Worth by Simply Being Yourself
Recently, I met a man who had been deeply afraid of needles.
He used to pass out when giving blood. He got woozy even talking about injections.
Then he got curious: What would happen if he poked himself deep enough to draw blood every day for a week?
He walked out into the woods and allowed himself to perform a very uncomfortable experiment.
There were days he spent two hours holding the needle above his finger, screwing up the courage to stab.
He discovered that his ankle and his thigh were the most reliable places to draw a drop of red.
He discovered that he had a fireball of screams bottled inside him. These were screams he’d never let himself express in the confines of a doctors’ office, but in the woods he let them loose.
By the end of the week, he still didn’t like needles.
But something had changed.
He told me this story during a long conversation over dinner, without a flinch as the topic meandered on.
The experience of turning directly toward his discomfort had changed him. Deeply.
As my mentors at the Conscious Leadership Group suggested recently,
“Bring an experience to mind that resulted in significant growth for you.
Something that felt game-changing, life-changing.
Odds are, discomfort was present, and you leaned in versus shying away.
Most of us can look back at hard moments and recognize that our pain and discomfort were an ally to our growth and full aliveness.
But embracing discomfort as it’s happening?
That’s a master … skill.”
What uncomfortable opportunity is your life offering you in this moment?
What would it look like to lean in — even if you have no idea what the gifts may be?
What becomes possible if discomfort isn’t a problem?
Hit reply and let me know what’s alive for you.
PS – To be clear, I’m also a big fan of gentleness and kindness with oneself. We don’t have to go seeking pain all the time. Sometimes, the direction of healing and growth is to offer yourself a break and seek MORE comfort. I’d say the trick is taking it all off auto-pilot.
PPS – Feeling lost about any aspect of your business — marketing, messaging, proposals, mission, etc. — is discomfort you don’t need to stew in. The on-demand courses offered by my mentors at StoryBrand / Business Made Simple are filled with fantastic frameworks to get you unstuck. Get a 7-day free trial with this exclusive link (but check out this page for full details of what you’re getting).
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.