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Finding Success in Being Uncomfortable

I’d like to think of myself as being above normal in quickly resolving obstacles while producing events. I guess, I secretly enjoy when something goes unplanned and having to quickly minimize disruption and appearing to be in control of the situation. Now envision yourself experiencing success in being uncomfortable.  

An event coordinator I work with experienced this after I tasked them with designing 5 capabilities deck slides in under an hour. I knew that this was a challenging assignment because their creative approach was different than quickly conceptualizing in order to design and execute. No additional instruction except that I wanted to see 5 differently designed pages in under an hour. 

I watched how uncomfortable they became and noticed how they began to mentally question the possibilities of completing this task.  As they began to work you could see doubt in their creative process approach. Finally, they started just designing the page and working it out at a faster pace because the clock was ticking.

The slides were not necessarily presentation ready it was creatively done even thought it was an uncomfortable project. “That was so uncomfortable…” Was the initial response I got. It took stepping outside of their comfort zone and seeing positive results. Have you had this type of experience before? If so, here are 5 things I believe you should remember when faced with an uncomfortable situation. 

Embrace Change  

Just like in nature, humans love rhythm and symmetry. It is in that type of repetitiveness that we can find comfort. Imagine you are headed somewhere new for the first time, like a journey to Paris or an amusement park. It is so exciting, much different than your typical day. On this journey you take in everything; the sights, the sounds, the smells and the people, the feeling is invigorating. Now imagine our daily journey to school or the office. Do we notice any of the people walking? Do we remember what the weather was like? What were we listening to on the radio? No clue, right? It is such a monotonous task and routine that it has become easy for us to tune out the journey. 

In an article on the Psychology Today website titled, “How to Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable,” the author, Dr. Bob Rosen, takes a deep dive into why we need to create safety and security and to pursue contentment. However, because we turn our focus to the comfort side of life, we sever ties to the full range of the human experience. It is safe to say that when we stay in that place that we are comfortable, we subconsciously slow down our ability at embracing change. 

Embrace Feelings of Discomfort 

While embracing change is something we may have to consciously work at, we must also lear to embrace the process. The feeling of discomfort goes a long way in terms of your personal development, as explained in an article written by Sujan Patel, a former online editorial contributor of Forbes. “If you dont get out of your comfort zone you might find yourself tuning out much of your life on a daily basis,” Patel explains. 

When put in new and unfamiliar situations we trigger a unique part of our brain that releases dopamines, the happy chemical. Imagine how amazing is to be ok with embracing discomfort and subjecting ourselves to new situations and actually experiencing happiness. Most importantly, we would remember vivid details along that journey because it was new and unfamiliar. Allow yourself to sit and experience this wonderful feeling of discomfort. 

Embrace Doing Something You’ve Never Done Before 

I find it interesting when I hear the extremely low success rates of new businesses. Along the way in my own career, I had moments when I thought about giving up and just getting a different job with 9 am to 5 pm hours. The struggle is real. Our friends may doubt us and that can make it hard and then… we begin to doubt ourselves. Rick West is a web developer, whom wrote about his personal struggles after learning to write code and trying to enter the work force. He then explains, in the article, titled “Why feeling uncomfortable is the key to success,” the times when he began to second guess his decisions. 

He sums his expose by stating, “If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something you have never done before.” Such a simple yet true concept. I recall a time when I was learning French, I had a goal of traveling to Paris with friends, and only speaking French while there. The first three days were exhausting. I had never done this before and it was tough, then about four days in, I began converting with greater ease. Although it was challenging, by putting myself out there, at the end of my two week stay, I felt a sense of accomplishment.

Embrace Every Situation 

At this point, it goes without saying, on the road to success you may experience some form of being uncomfortable. Ultimately, you have to embrace every situation, regardless of how it makes you feel. It can be challenging to put into practice, trust me I am living proof of this. However, humans have the amazing ability at being adaptable. 

In another piece on the Life Hacker website titled, “Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable,” author Patrick Allan talks about the training our Navy Seals must complete. Before their daily training begins they go through what is called “surf torture.” They must all link arms and lie in the freezing temperatures of the ocean until just before hypothermia. The goal is that they remain focused on things that need to be accomplished despite how uncomfortable they feel. 

Think for a moment how these soldiers must quickly learn to adapt to their new surroundings and persevere. This is also true when you produce an event of any size. In every event I produce, I strive to make sure each of my clients’ guests have an amazing experience. While obstacles will inevitably happen, I embrace them and remain focused on exceeding the clients’ and the guests’ expectations. 

Embrace Time to Reflect and  Recharge 

When I began writing this post, I took a moment to think about how and why I am a successful event producer. I am not a celebrity event producer nor do I always get recognized for some of the largest events my clients have ever done. However, when looking back at the me, 5 years ago, I am in awe that that version of me, had not conceived what this version of me could do. I reflected on how stepping outside my comfort zone could cause a positive feeling of success. On the website, The StartUp, an article titled, “The Art of Being Uncomfortable,” provides 3 rules for making sure you stay out of your comfort zone. The author writes in this insightful article of how our minds are wired for breaking down complex concepts and tasks. 

As I mentioned I reflected on how far I have come, the things I learned and all the wonderful concepts I learned. I enjoyed the process of learning how to produce a conference, how to drive a forklift and the opportunity to call a live awards show. By taking the time to reflect on my growth I was finally able to allow myself time to recharge.

As for the employee, they learned how to find their success in being uncomfortable. They learned that you can push past even your own boundaries and accomplish the impossible.