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Is It Time to Make Yourself Uncomfortable?

are you out of your comfort zone?

After 15 years in the same house, I’m packing up and getting ready to move. New house, new city, new state.

I’m no stranger to change. When I launched my coaching business many years ago, I changed not only where I worked and what I did, but over time, I changed who I was and what I was contributing to this world. And that change was good.

I know intellectually this change will be good, too. But the furrow between my brows is digging deeper. My UP band is regularly recording four hours or less of sleep (although I think it lies).

Bottom line—this change is making me uncomfortable, more than I’ve been in a long time. And it’s exactly what I needed.

Why Make Yourself Uncomfortable?

When I started looking at all the work it would take to move, one question kept playing over and over in my head:

WHY?

As in:why make yourself uncomfortable?

  • Why would you put yourself through this?
  • Why spend your time, money, energy, resources, sanity?
  • Why isn’t the life and location you have now enough?
  • Why do you think making a change will be any better than what you have now?

As I took a hard look at my “whys,” I realized there were three answers that come up any and every time I decide to make myself uncomfortable. Here they are:

1. Because the reward is worth the pain

Most of the time, we only change when we’re forced to. We’re practiced at sticking to the known and safe, and our brains are built to keep it that way.

But as the old saying goes, “a ship in the harbor is safe, but that’s not what ships are for.” To get different results, we need to give up some safety.

For me, I wanted to be closer to my family at this stage of my life and theirs. I wanted to live in a beautiful area of the country instead of somewhere that had been chosen for me due to work many years ago.

I’ve worked hard to envision the end state–a rewarding picture–and not get caught up in the day-to-day pain of the change. I know the reward will be there.

2. Because the process forces you to grow

In my workshops and speeches, I often tell the story of the seed.

How does that seed feel on its way toward being a flower? Think about it.

First, it has to crack open its shell, which might be hard and dry so as to protect it between growing seasons. It has to push up through the ground, stretch its roots out to search for water, and fight off storms, squirrels, bugs, and any other thing in its environment that might like to nibble at its success.

But the persistent seeds, the well-tended ones, survive and thrive. The process of being uncomfortable is just the natural one they must go through to grow. Discomfort is where the growth happens.

And it’s the same way with us.  Any major transition makes you think differently, try new things, and learn lots. There’s a reason we refer to growth and innovation as “breaking new ground.”

3. Because courage needs practice

A while ago, I asked you about what was happening in your lives at work.  I wanted to know what was w
orking, and what wasn’t. I also asked what you needed from this blog and our work here at RedCapeRevolution.com.

One idea surprised me: the request for courage. In addition to clarity, confidence, and control, you also want more courage around your career and life decisions. I was impressed—and inspired.

Your request made me think about how I was demonstrating courage in my own life.  And I found it lacking.

Like any muscle, courage takes practice. Repetition. Stretching. And so making a big decision like moving is definitely target practice for courage enhancement.

So now, I’m forcing myself to shake up the snowglobe of my world and bravely begin to rearrange the flakes again. (Apologies to the flakes.) Who knows how it will turn out? What I know for sure is that I’ll learn, grow, and be more confident about my courage to change in the future. I think that’ll be a decent result. Wish me luck.

YOUR TURN: Have you ever intentionally made yourself  uncomfortable? What did you gain? What’d you learn? Share your story (or your request for courage!) in the Comments below.

20 responses to “Is It Time to Make Yourself Uncomfortable?”

  1. Darcy,
    I sure can relate! Just over a year ago I did the same thing. I sold most everything I owned, left the city and state I had known my entire life, and moved across an ocean to start completely over in Maui, Hawaii. I knew NO ONE there and would not only need to start a new life but rebuild my business from the ground up. I was so far out of my comfort zone, it was like a view of the Earth from outer space. 😀

    All your points are totally right on. The courage and confidence I have gained, not to mention the faith and trust muscles, as well as the new friends and experiences I would not trade for the world. It was all worth it. I still have a ways to goto get it running smoothly, but the life I’m living is more than I could have imagined.

    Good on ya’ and wishing you the best on your new adventure. You got this! As a card from a dear friend once declared, “A Leap of Faith Never Fails.” Banzai!

    • Tania, thanks for your story and it’s so good to know things have turned out great for you! And if you’re going to leap, Maui sounds like a great place to leap to. Thanks for reading and sharing!

  2. Darcy,

    You are an inspiration. You are leading the life you preach! We will miss you in the ATL and know that you are always welcome to return and re-connect.

    Your Red Cape is calling….

    Diane

    • Diane, I appreciate your support and cheering on! And I don’t plan to reconnect because I’ll work hard to stay connected! Thanks for reading and being part of this amazing Red Cape community!

  3. Darcy: What an awesome blog! You are definitely making some choices and some changes. I can hear you growing as you put it out there. You are indeed lucky that you can work from just about anywhere. Sometimes being uncomfortable opens more than we ever thought possible.

    I was struggling a little with the decision myself as my parents are elderly and have some health issues. My father told me directly (as I was waiting in the ER with him after he fell) that I was NOT to move home as my life is where I live now and have for 30 years. He told me if I even thought about moving home he would take my mother and move into senior housing. I said am I allowed to visit for longer periods and he said yes, but I was not to move home. I told him I respect that decision and would make sure they have what they need as far as caretakers and such. Do you think he realizes how much I plan to visit?

    Good Luck with your move and your growing!

    • Marie, thanks so much for sharing your story and encouragement. I can see that it’s a balancing act to help those we love have a better life without compromising ours. What I know I’ll want to watch for most is letting their life drive mine, rather than making sure I continue to have my own live outside of theirs as I long have. I’m lucky to have parents who get that–it’s really me I’m afraid of! It’ll be too comfortable to spend time with them. Sounds like more growing ahead.

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to share. I appreciate it!

  4. Darcy,
    Wow! This has been the most inspiring post yet. Your courageous move is certainly very inspiring. I will think of you as I grow stronger in my courage ( I still have quite a bit to go).

    Thanks for building such a great community here in Atlanta.
    Best
    Joyce

    • Thanks, Joyce! One of my discoveries has been that courage is a muscle–we have to use it to the point of pain in order to strengthen it. So I am building and I know so are you!

      Thanks for your encouragement and know that my community continues well beyond any geographic bounds. I’m fortunate to have people like you in it!

  5. My recent interview for a new job may seem a small stretch of courage muscles for most, but the process caused me great discomfort (and even prompted a professional check-in with the red-caped guru). The reward was not as expected: I was not selected for the job. But I exercised those muscles, breathed through the discomfort, and felt pride in making the effort.

    • Even the small stretches help the muscles grow, right? And I’m so glad you took time to feel the success of just doing something, even if it didn’t turn out as you’d planned. The next one will come your way now that you’ve had more practice. Good luck, thanks for reading, and we’re here when you need us!

  6. A favorite quote: Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated: you can’t cross a chasm in two steps.

    Good luck with your move!

    • Hi Rebecca! Thanks for the quote. It reminds me of what I say to my clients often which is that the change you’re going through is like a shallow river, and you can see the other side, but to get there, you have to first put your foot on the rock closest to you. That rock may point you toward another rock close-in, or you might need to stretch to the next. But it’s one rock at a time to get to the other side. So we might as well start stepping on rocks.

      Thanks for sharing!

  7. Darcy, inspirational and relatable as always. Congrats on your decision. While Atlanta may miss you, your new spot will welcome you 🙂 Change comes in so many forms and is different for each person but we can all understand the uncertainty that comes with it. Keep writing awesome posts like this; we are all right here with you.

  8. Darcy – I’m so happy for you! I think you just opened gates to a world more full of wonder and fulfillment. You clearly have inspired so many, but you have more/other work to do. Best, BBD

    • I appreciate your support, Bonnie, as well as the recognition that there’s still more work to do! That’s our journey, right? Thanks for helping me celebrate the small wins along the way. All the best!

  9. Hi Darcy, I am so excited for your change and wish you all the best in your new “digs”. You helped me make a very important life decision a little over a year ago….to leave my comfort zone and make some pretty significant life changes. The goals were simple but extremely important: be happier and feel more successful. Although my first stop didn’t get me there, my next one did, and I am now in a place where I have greater “work nirvana” than I have had in a couple of decades. Please keep us posted, as I know you will, on what happens next in your latest adventure.

    • Hi Susan! Watching brave people like you take big steps out of their comfort zone never ceases to amaze me, even though I am always confident of your success. It’s only right that I continue to push myself into the same cycle of growth and exploration that I encourage others to explore!

      I’ll keep this community up-to-date and try to share the lessons (and failures) I expect to experience along the way. Thank you for reading and sharing your experiences–it means a lot!