About a month ago, my pastor posed a challenge for the congregation. She asked, “Have you ever been invited to be uncomfortable?” The question immediately drew me in while making my palms sweat at the same time. I’m thinking, “Don’t go there, preach!” Well, she did and that was just the beginning of the sermon. It was…uncomfortable.
We don’t like to be put in that situation, do we? Put on the spot or challenged. We don’t usually have the luxury of being invited to be uncomfortable. Life constantly sends us discomfort, challenges, and obstacles. It’s how we respond to them that determines how we grow. And isn’t that what being outside of your comfort zone allows you to do? Grow as a person, professional, husband, wife, partner, son, daughter, and so on? In what ways do YOU want to grow? As an HR professional for over 20 years, I’ve seen people tackle some of their greatest fears (personally and professionally) not by sitting back, but by taking intentional action to overcome them.
Some of us remember “stretch” goals from back in the day (“Who moved my cheese?”, anyone?). They were incremental in nature, trying to get you to think outside of the box and think of ways you could grow in your role. One of the best examples I can think of from personal experience: the company engaged its employees to ask themselves a question – if you weren’t doing what you are now, what would you be doing? It forced us to think and face our desires for becoming something else. It was uncomfortable. It sent me down a road towards project management, which afforded me some really cool opportunities to touch all of the areas of the company and learn how the company prioritizes its goals. It was exciting, but I had to start over. I didn’t know project management. I eventually made my way back to HR and the three years in that experience gave me some real insight into truly providing a consultative approach to my customers.
So, here it comes…
I invite you to be uncomfortable. Take a few minutes to define “uncomfortable” for YOU. We’re all different. Some of us don’t like being IN a plane, much less jumping OUT of one. (Palms sweating again) Then, take a few more minutes to list the one thing that makes you the most uncomfortable. You know what it is, and it won’t take long. You are likely to have multiple answers but focus on one. Think about the incremental and intentional ways you can relieve this discomfort – be realistic about what it will take. Commit. Breathe. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Overcome.
Finally, invite your favorite person in the world to do one thing: be uncomfortable. And it’s okay to let them know they’re not alone.