"Embrace Productive Discomfort."
I heard this quote Friday working out while I was listening to Tim Kight and Urban Meyer's podcast, The Focus 3.
Hearing that statement really made me think.
We've all been told before that we must step out of our comfort zone. For various reasons, we choose whether or not it is worth doing so.
Listening to Kight and Meyer about embracing productive discomfort made me reflect on the times I stepped out of my comfort zone. What were the influences that resulted in me doing so? Was it due to pressure? Was it worth it? Which times paid off?
After reminiscing I concluded two things:
1) Have intent
Will doing this help you reach your goals? Will it help you grow? Will you learn from it? What skills will you develop?
There were times I remembered stepping out of my comfort zone and it didn't have some huge life changing impact on me. However, it benefited me in ways of now knowing the previously unknown. There's a weight that gets lifted off your shoulders.
Even if stepping out of your comfort zone didn't create the results you intended, be flexible with your perspective and pride yourself in the actions you took. Practicing this courageous behavior is productive in itself.
2) Trying is SATISFYING
Over thinking and making excuses is easy when something in front of us appears intimidating. However, it's NOT as scary as you think. If you've never done it, you'll never know what it's really like until you try. Overcoming a fear and attempting something you previously neglected your entire life is an accomplishment; accomplishment feels good. You'll learn new things and find new loves the more you indulge yourself in different experiences.
One of the moments I reflected on was my time studying abroad in Australia. Oddly enough, spending 4 months away from my family on the other side of the world is not what stretched my limits. What I challenged myself to do was be completely open and unafraid. My buddy and I both had this "I don't care if I die in this moment," mindset because we truly were making the most of our temporary home. Having this outlook allowed me to live more freely and approach things without hesitation. If you ask me about my semester abroad, I'll repeatedly state it was one of the best experiences of my life. That wouldn't be the case if I didn't step out of my comfort zone. I still use some of the techniques today; even cliche ones like counting to three and just doing it.
The takeaway from this is to not go through the motions. As Kight and Meyer stated, embrace the discomfort. Instead of having a negative attitude, realize you are growing from the uneasiness and trying efforts you are making. Breaching the comfort zone happens when you create opportunities and seize them.
Life is about moving forward. What's settling worth when there is unlimited potential to reach? Next time you're convincing yourself why not to step out of your comfort zone, remember all the good it can do and that sometimes it's as simple as taking one step forward. Acknowledge what you're good at and embrace the challenge of becoming better at the things you're not.