Discomfort is Required

I did a 20-minute HIIT workout this morning -- my favorite kind because it’s only 20 minutes. And although my muscles were burning, my heart was racing and “is this over yet” thoughts were going through my head, I knew it was only 20 minutes of discomfort. So I allowed it, I welcomed it, I challenged it to beat me. I was determined to complete the 20 minutes because I knew I could.


I also knew that this is how I will get stronger. Breathe easier. Feel more alive. Change happens whether we welcome it or not, but if you want to choose your change, you often have to choose your pain.


In a world where I feel there are few truly real facts, this is one of them: discomfort is required for growth. Muscle growth, personal growth or career growth. Even growth in your marriage. To go from where we are to somewhere new we have to be willing to leave where we are - while it may not be painful, it often will feel uncomfortable because change, in its essence, is momentarily unsettling.


Yet we spend so much time actively seeking comfort. There’s a whole culinary category called comfort foods! When discomfort comes knocking, we run the other way looking to self soothe. Sweatpants, COMFY socks, tasks that are easy, friends that affirm who we are... all the places in life that slow us down and tell us right where we are is good enough.


About two years ago, I shared a post on Instagram about wearing lingerie to bed every night… that it was fun and flirty and allowed me to slip into my softer side after a day of being in charge. I then posted a poll asking if people would rather 1) feel sexy and alive or 2) comfy. To my surprise 85% of people said comfy! I couldn’t believe it. Why would anyone want to be comfy when they could feel unstoppable, turned on and magnetic?!


But now I get it.


Not everyone is desiring a path of growth. Some people like where they are and want to stay there. And there’s nothing wrong with that; in fact, there is beauty in being right where you are. But for many of us, that just wasn't a choice. Or it didn't feel like one. There was something stirring within that had its own timeline and its own drive for change. Often mirrored by life happenings that cause us to pause and evaluate if we can continue how we are going or if we need, change.


Life, the universe, god… brings discomfort to you. The new job that’s a challenge. The marriage that’s hit a bump in the road. The health issue that’s caused a resetting of priorities. I don't believe these are happening to hold us back or derail us -- quite the opposite. They’re all here to help us. To show us that our life manifest is greater than this moment and greater than all the moments before. These struggle-filled periods of discomfort aren't asking us to "hold on and get through it", they're asking us to grow, to move, to nudge us toward more freedom, connectedness and purpose... if we’d only let ’em.


Now looking back at my path over the last 5 years, I can see the dots connect. I can see how everything that felt like an unfair challenge or disadvantage was all leading me right to this point. It’s hard not to believe there is a master plan for each of us when you can so clearly see the experiences of your life leading up to a bigger story, bigger meaning and bigger purpose.


A few years ago I was teaching my kids to sew. My daughter wants to be a fashion designer, so why not start at age 5 learning the basics? We were making wrist cuffs out of an old T-shirt when I reached in my sewing box and found an old business card. It was mine. From about 15 years ago when I wanted to be a fashion stylist and personal shopper. What was shocking to me is that the bottom of the business card said “Be Your Best Self.” What?! That is the same tagline I launched Collective Gain with 15 years later! I had no memory of these cards or that I had even had this idea of wanting to help people be who they were meant to be, only through a different lens. The me 15 years ago hadn't experienced the depth of who I was, yet, but had felt the call to help people experience the best versions of themselves.


Then, twelve years ago I launched The Gorgeous Project. It was a passion project with the goal of brightening people’s days, leaving them feeling inspired and excited about life. I posted an inspiring quote on Facebook every day for three years. The page grew to 50,000 followers. I wanted to infuse one moment of inspiration, hope or clarity into someone's life.


And seven years ago my corporate life took a turn. I was being challenged with a politically charged environment and didn’t know how to handle it. I became so unhappy and preoccupied with negativity that I quit. I walked away and found another job. Then another one. Each leaving me wanting more and each with their own challenges. What happened? I was a corporate superstar who loved working! Why wasn't work working for me anymore?


I came to learn that I was graduating to the next phase of my life. Becoming an entrepreneur and living my truth -- my essence. My natural desire to lift others up and help them see just how magnificent they are. And this purpose-driven work that has found me has been unfolding for two decades, well actually longer.


I remember in the fifth grade my group of girlfriends not being nice to one of our classmates. She was a bit nerdy and looked different than everyone else. I remember her sitting on the ground, back against the wall, slumped over as one of my friends walked away giggling. I went over to her, knelt down and told her she was awesome, not to listen to them, and I that I loved her outfit.


You see, there is a part of us that is full of the truth of who we are from the moment we arrive on this planet. It’s been with us always… and it shows up over and over again if we pay attention... if we look for the dots to connect, they are there. And discomfort arrives to greet us at the door of our next best self, getting us closer to who we really are and why we are here.


To self-actualize into who you really are, to experience the freedom, abundance and soul-satisfying work you crave, you have to get uncomfortable. It’s like a rite of passage. There’s no way around it. You want to live your best life, then you have to show up, look discomfort in the face and ride the wave until you arrive at moment of alignment. As if you're skipping levels in the matrix of life, to a new world of possibility and outcomes, but only if you're willing accept the discomfort that is shifting worlds.


When discomfort arrives, hold your ground. Feel it. Speak to it. Respond to any thoughts of I can’t… with one more step, one more breath, I can, I Can, I CAN. And before you know it, the discomfort has passed and you’re there with everything you ever wanted. The body, the partner, the job, the bank account. It's an unfolding that starts with a feeling of "something's not right", "is this all there is?", "I can't do this for 20 more years...", "I feel like my soul is dying."


There is power in feeling all the feels and allowing them to do what they were designed to do: move you away from the pressures of life that drain you to the pleasures of possibility that call you.


Most of us have an unconscious trigger to comfort ourselves when we get anxious, sad or stressed. A feeling that doesn't sit well gets paved over with food, shopping, alcohol, gossip, sex, etc. This buries the feeling deeper and gives is fuel to come back even stronger, later. Instead, if we allow the feeling to move us, literally, to tears or to a big life move, it will leave our system as fast as it came in.


Recently, I committed to feeling all the feels. To allowing the discomfort. To doing meditation and journaling every morning (power hour), to exercising, to eating healthy, and most importantly to saying positive I AM statements any time I started to doubt or criticize myself.


When discomfort arises, like being tired and not wanting to get up, sitting still when my to-do list is long, wanting to reach for sugar when an email set off anxiety... I repeated over and over to myself “I am OK. I am SAFE. I have ENOUGH.” These words gave me the courage to be still, to experience the feelings, to let them be there while I was there too.


The months following were epic -- I felt and looked better than ever. Clients were happy and flowing. My marriage was better than it had been in years. Clarity came through and new teammates joined my team. I walked around in shock. That I withstood discomfort and that what was on the other side was so much joy. To stay there, to continue to choose what’s best for us even when it’s hard takes a mindset shift, but once we’ve been through it, it’s so much easier the next time.


It’s just like my 20-minute HIIT exercise -- I know I can do it because I’ve done it before. I know at the end of the 20 minutes I’ll feel great. I know when I’m done only 20 minutes will have gone by and my day is just beginning. I’ll feel grateful that I said yes to the discomfort because the reward on the other side was so worth it. Have faith that the discomfort you're experiencing now is leading you to exactly what you want, if you can be present with it, embrace it, and see it for what it is... your biggest helper.


Give it a chance to give you everything you always wanted. Allow it to do its work. Discomfort gets you to who you want to be. It propels you on your path to your true self, where you can be in awe of your own story. Discomfort is required to live your best life. Lean into it.


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Staying in discomfort can be, well, uncomfortable! And triggering. And sometimes something that's hard to face on our own. Especially if new habits cause fear or when our faith is lacking that what we want is on the other side of change. We can be with you through the discomfort t0 get to the other side, faster. Experience a TRIAL of our Coaching Membership and see if who we are and what we do is your best next step.