As a colleague of Nan’s I often post here (though it has been several weeks) about work, life and sometimes how intertwined they often are. Recently, I had a rare opportunity to ‘hang’ with my almost 27 year old son for a couple of months. He is one of those humans who lives ‘in the moment’ and being with him I experienced it first-hand. How do you do that, I asked him one evening as we drove on a dark twisted unpaved road in Costa Rica; on our way to a restaurant someone mentioned prepared delicious local dishes. He shrugged his shoulders, “I guess I am more comfortable being uncomfortable.” I’ve been thinking about that idea on and off since. Wondering what that might look like for me. So, I’ve identified a few situations where I’m uncomfortable. Here’s where I landed —
Asking for Help – I don’t know about you but this is a big UNCOMFORTABLE for me. Maybe you don’t want to seem foolish. Or stupid. Or dependent. Or needy. Or imperfect. Not knowing how to do something or to figure it out pushes our frustration button. But we need help for many things: food, clothing, shelter, love, friendship, compassion, etc … It is human to need help at times. It doesn’t matter why we need help. What matters is the consequences if we don’t ask.
Failing – Like most people I don’t like failing, sometimes allowing exciting work and life opportunities to pass. Comfortable with what I know. The popular phase -Life is good – comes to mind. It doesn’t matter what or why you don’t want to fail. What matters is the thinking is limiting. You stay the same person if you keep doing the same things. Still failing makes me uncomfortable.
Saying No – I admire colleagues and friends who set boundaries and are skillful when saying no to requests and obligations; they don’t want to do or can’t reasonably make happen in already over-scheduled calendars and lives. For some, we get a pit in the stomach and the self-critic goes into overdrive. It doesn’t matter what you say no to. What matters is you sometimes over-commit and maybe resentful because you have little time for what you want to do. Yet, saying no makes me uncomfortable.
So, for the rest of the summer, I’m working on uncomfortables: I’ll be asking for help when I need to, learning how to say yes even though I may fail and listening to my instincts when they are telling me to say no. Who knows may be I’ll have a few moments of feeling comfortable being uncomfortable. Check back in September to find out.
What makes you uncomfortable? What would you do if you weren’t? What if sometimes you were comfortable being uncomfortable? We would love to hear from you.