Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Embrace the Uncomfortable

Real growth requires change. And real change can be scary. Think about the first steps for a baby learning to walk. His entire life he has watched all the “big people” walk instead of crawl. The baby wants to walk. It is almost instinctual to first stand up and then to take actual steps. But it is also very scary. What if I fall? What if I get hurt? (I know, I know – the baby is not thinking in such terms but you get the point). The baby has to overcome fear, has to overcome inertia and overcome lack of total muscle control. Despite what could seem an almost impossible task for such a “small person” to overcome babies do learn to walk. And then walk fast. And then run. Once they have pushed beyond the known and into the previously unknown they are unstoppable.

That same pattern has repeated itself throughout your life. Think about how you felt learning to ride a bike. You pushed past the fear and then felt the joy of the wind as you pedaled faster and faster or as you stopped pedaling and picked up speed down the local hill. It was the same when learning to drive a car. You wanted to learn but felt some trepidation the first time you sat in the driver’s seat. After driving down the country road or across a parking lot your confidence grew and soon you wanted to drive everywhere. Once you got your license you went where you wanted and when you wanted (depending upon how good you were at convincing your parents to actually give you the keys on Friday or Saturday nights).

That is what growth for everyone is. Pushing beyond the known; pushing beyond the comfortable. If you never venture outside your comfort zone you’ll never discover just what you are capable of. You never grow and you never really change. Sure you’ll get older and your outward appearance will change, but deep inside you will remain the same. No one ever comes to the end of their lives and says they should have done less or should have tried less. The common reflection is to look back and wish to have done more, to have moved more boldly and to have taken more risk.

Growth is risk, but as the saying goes: Nothing ventured, nothing gained. When you come up to that point where a little voice in your mind tells you to back off, that you are pushing smack up against the unknown, go ahead and push forward. Embrace the uncomfortable and see where it will lead you. You will be surprised at just what you can handle and just how much you can accomplish. The more you push the more skills you will develop. The most powerful of which will be the courage to demand more of yourself and to move ever forward.

Uncomfortableness is just your minds way of telling you that a new life lesson is straight ahead. Move forward, embrace it and let the education commence.

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