For so much of our lives, we spend a great deal of time trying to make things as painless as possible. And while that’s something to be applauded, say, when working collaboratively with a colleague or trying to be a supportive partner, it’s also important to be wary of not embracing the discomforts of life in your own personal development.
Neale Donald Walsch once said, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” The hard part about making things as painless as possible is you may be doing so at the risk of stunting your growth—whether that be professionally or in your personal life.
Today, let’s take a look at some of the ways you can push yourself little by little. We’ll discuss a few of the common insecurities that often bring about discomfort in our daily lives, as well as ways to tackle them head-on.
What If I Fail?
As a professional, hard-working individual, this might be the biggest fear currently out there in corporate America. So often, a fear of failure keeps us from taking any action at all. Because acknowledging the chance of a failure feels like taking a risk.
Now, let’s play this out logically. What if you do fail? What if you accept a big promotion and realize you aren’t a great fit for the position? What if you attempt to have a meaningful conversation with a partner or colleague and end up fighting or ultimately not getting anywhere in the end?
Trying something and not reaching the successful end that you desire means, first, that you took a step forward in your personal growth. You’re not going to be the same person that you were before because you have now learned something, for better or for worse. You have found out how you react in the face of adversity. Or maybe you just eliminated one possible way of getting your desired outcome.
Whatever the case may be, if you didn’t get what you were hoping for but are continuing to try, you are learning and growing as a person. It’s when you allow the fear of failure to freeze you up that you become stuck, anxious, and unsure of yourself.
Plus, let’s never forget that there is always an opportunity to succeed co-mingled with the chance of failure. If you aren’t trying and failing, you’re essentially eliminating your chance for success from the outset.
What If I’m Judged?
Am I doing the right thing?
I can’t ask that question; it’ll make me look dumb.
They probably all think I’m bad at my job because of what I said in the meeting.
The fear of looking good all the time can be absolutely stifling, particularly because it’s not possible. Everyone will have a bad day, and nobody is immune from rough patches. Truly, this type of performance anxiety will only make your life harder. Since you’re never going to please everyone, focus on doing the best that your individual self can do each and every day.
When you’re confident in your work and abilities and can honestly say that you work your hardest at everything you take on, there’s nothing more anyone can ask of you. So, stop worrying about what others may be thinking. Chances are, they’re more focused on what they said in that meeting than what you did.
Allow the discomfort to grow your confidence, little by little. Each time you have one negative thought about your self-perception, actively replace it with one thought about a time someone complimented you for something. Positive self-talk is also an essential skill to develop in the midst of this discomfort. Don’t allow negative words to beat you down.
What If I’m Not Enough?
Why do I never get anything right?
Not only does this fear contribute to the performance anxiety mentioned in the last section, it can’t be true. You’re enough simply by being yourself. You’re enough by showing up each day and doing what you can. You’re enough for all of the ideas you’ve had as well as all for the ones you haven’t.
You are enough.
Don’t let the fear of the evaluation of your work ethic (be that in an office or relationship) stop you from trying your hardest. Don’t try to measure up to those around you—that will only lead to anxiety and resentment. Instead, learn from your co-workers and friends. Take their advice, suggestions, and critiques, and use them to continuously improve. Learn from the times you felt like you didn’t do enough or let someone down and make an action plan for how you’ll handle a similar situation in the future.
What If I Fall Behind?
There is no linear path that you can follow and call it life. If you feel as though you’ve “fallen behind,” it may be time for a change in your mindset.
Put simply, you can’t fall behind. You are exactly where you are meant to be right now!
Resist the urge to compare yourself to others and where they are in their journey. Instead, use your discomfort to propel yourself toward your goals. This may include growth in your workplace, such as taking on more tasks and responsibilities. It can also include growth in relationships: exploring why you feel “behind,” taking a step back, and asking yourself what this really means.
Focus on what is working.
Embracing the Discomforts of Life Moving Forward
No one is immune from feelings of inadequacy or even embarrassment at the notion of “failure.” However, instead of giving up because something undesirable happened, use it as an opportunity to assess what occurred, why you consider it a failure, and how this moment will inform your next steps moving forward.
Understand that it’s okay to be uncomfortable and learn from your failures. It shows that you’ve grown as a person and, in the end, failure will continuously seem like less and less of a frightening concept. In the end, it will look like more of an opportunity, a chance to learn. And a chance to grow.
If your fear of failure, discomfort, and the unknown is holding you back, it may be time to get some coaching. I will help you build your confidence with proven exercises to change your mindset and give you the tools you need to be successful. If you need help pushing forward, don’t hesitate to reach out.