Getting Good At Feeling Discomfort
Ep. 168
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This week we talk all about discomfort. And I don’t mean the dictionary definition of discomfort. I mean the feeling that you have when you are pushing towards your goals and you feel like you might throw up…or die. Yeah, that’s discomfort. And if you’re going to live the biggest life possible, you have to learn to get better at feeling it and not making it mean anything about you. In this episode, I dive into how you can get better at dealing with the inevitable discomfort and keep going!

Show Transcript
Mental or physical uneasiness, annoyance. And I realized what the problem was. This is way too soft of a word, because that is not what it feels like to push outside of your comfort zone. It feels like death.

Hey, welcome to Lessons From a Quitter where we believe that it is never too late to start over. No matter how much time or energy you spent getting to where you are, if ultimately you are unfulfilled, then it is time to get out. Join me each week for both inspiration and actionable tips so that we can get you on the road to your dreams.

Hello, my friends. Welcome to another episode. I am so excited to have you here. I am on like cloud nine. I finished my six-month group program like a week ago. By the time this will come out, it'll be a couple of weeks. And it had me in tears. It honestly is the biggest joy and privilege of my life to be able to do this work and then to see it actually impact people is something I can't even explain. And, you know, you always wonder like is it working? And obviously the point of this is to like help people figure out what they want to do in their careers and their lives. But as you know, and the reason I focus so much on mindset work is because it's so much more than that, like that your career, right? It's about learning to have self-compassion and trust yourself and be able to make decisions and not need everybody else's approval and be comfortable in your own skin.

And that that work permeates every aspect of your life. And when you see it, I mean, there's nothing more heartwarming for me. And I had people in this group talk about how they got off anti-anxiety medication and how they're just completely different in how they approach their lives and how they're no longer afraid to try things. And they're taking a beat and not getting overwhelmed, not letting work, stress them out and finding passions. And it's just so amazing. And I want you to know that it's available for you. I know, I'm so proud of the people that listen to the podcast and take the work and implement it. And that's the reason I do this. And the reason I put it out every week for free and I will consistently do so because these are concepts that I want everybody to have access to and I want people to use to change their lives. But I know for myself and the fact that I'm in a group program all the time, and I'm getting coaching all the time, that sometimes we need more than that. We need more support. It's easy to hear things and harder to implement. So I want you in the group. I want you to take advantage of having someone guide you through this so that you can get the results faster so that you can start living, stop living with all of the um internal turmoil that so many of us have just accepted as our status quo. It's not the way it has to be. There's so much more ease and peace in your life that's available to you. So if you're looking for that and you want to make a change in the new year, I'm going to start ramping up and we'll open the doors in November. So in about a little over a month and I’m first gonna open it to the waitlist and there's already over, I think, 190 people on the wait list and there's 20 spots. So if you want to get in, I would get on the wait list so that you can have a chance to sign up and do this deeper work for six months together. I would love to have you in the group. You can go to lessons Okay. So I just wanted to talk about that for a second, because it has left me kind of on cloud nine for the last week, and also in awe of the people that show up and really do the work and transform their lives in such a short amount of time. So thank you for letting me be a part of that journey. So fun.

Alright, on to the not fun stuff. And again, actually the, sorry, I didn't even mean this to be this way, but it's such a good segue for this topic we're going to talk about, because I think often we look at those things, the wins of other people, and we think like the whole journey is that like it's just rainbows and butterflies, so much fun on my end, right? And there are these moments and it's so amazing. And then there's the vast majority of the moments that are just so uncomfortable. And I am not immune from that human experience. That's why I take a moment to recognize, because I know the importance of celebrating because those moments are few and far between. I can promise you that for the six months that I work with people, most of the time, my own feelings are very uncomfortable of putting myself out there, taking on the responsibility to help people transform their lives. Like with that comes a lot of discomfort. And so the successes are wonderful, but what I want to talk about today is getting good at feeling that discomfort, because that is the only way to have those good-feeling emotions when things go well. So here's the thing: we all hear about pushing out of our comfort zones, right? We all have heard the adages and we see the Instagram posts, my mentor, Brooke Castillo, um, runs The Life Coach School, where I got certified, always says that discomfort is the currency to your dreams. And all those things sound great, intellectually we get it. Like of course anything that's going to be new is going to be outside of my comfort zone. Right, what I'm used to. By definition, it can't happen in your comfort zone. So we sort of understand that. And I think that's why we kind of gloss over it, but I want to slow down and just like ask, like what do you think discomfort means?

Right? What's the definition of discomfort? Because I think a lot of us are confused about what that actually entails. A lot of times when we think about discomfort, like pushing out of that comfort zone and like yeah, I kind of feel a discomfort. I get it. And I think we sometimes are relating it to physical discomfort. Right. Cause we all understand what that I think means, you know, let's say you're working out or you're gonna train for a marathon. You can know what to sort of expect in that sort of discomfort. And I looked up the definition just to see, you know, like what, what does discomfort mean? And it was feeling of irritation, soreness, or pain that, though not severe, is annoying. Right. And I think again, like we think well it's not painful, it's just uncomfortable. Right? Like I don't like this feeling. It's annoying, it's irritating, but I can handle it. And even when I looked up some different definitions that it was a non-physical discomfort, there were things like mental or physical uneasiness, annoyance. And I realized what the problem was. This is way too soft of a word, because that is not what it feels like to push outside of your comfort zone. It feels like death. It feels painful. It is not merely uncomfortable. And I think that's where we all get a little confused, right? Or a little mixed up. I want you to think about what are some of the emotions that we're talking about when we talk about getting uncomfortable, like when you want to go after the thing that you want, when you want to go after that dream life, when you want to do something bigger than you've ever thought about doing before, when you want to put yourself out there, I want you to think about some of the emotions that are going to come up. What do you think is going to come up? Now I think like fear, we've all accepted that one, like of course I'm going to be afraid. I get it. And it's almost like cliche at this point, but I want you to dig a little deeper and really understand what you're signing yourself up for right. Embarrassed, judged, rejected, frustrated, inadequate, uncertain, lonely, miserable, overwhelmed, jealous, resentful. I want you to think about those emotions and how awful so many of them feel to us, especially if we don't know how to process emotions, especially if we don't know how to sit with them. And we've been taught always to just suppress or numb or push away or ignore whatever. And we wonder why so many of us, when we are going on these journeys end up kind of trying to check out whether that's with food, alcohol, social media, shopping, whatever it is, because these emotions feel so terrible.

And the bigger problem, that we've talked about on this podcast, is not even those emotions. Those ones are already bad enough but here's the big problem, is what we make those emotions mean, right? When we feel rejected, when we feel jealous, when we feel inadequate or uncertain or lonely or whatever, embarrassed, we start attaching stories to it. Like maybe I'm just not cut out for this. See, I knew I couldn't do it. Who was I to think I could do this? I don't know what I'm doing. Everyone's laughing at me. They were all right. I was wrong, whatever it is. And so then we add additional negative feelings to those, right? We just pile it on. We have that clean pain. And then we add on all the dirty pain of shame and regret and guilt. And it's no wonder that so many of us give up or, you know, backtrack or think we've made the wrong decision or think that something has gone terribly wrong or that we're not meant for it or whatever, you know, your, um, variation of those thoughts are.

And I think it all really stems from this idea or the, the lack of understanding, of what discomfort means. And the fact that all of this is absolutely normal. Not only normal, like it's going to happen, let's just prep you for it. Right. Nothing has gone wrong is what I want you to understand. I think so often when we feel these super intense emotions, we think that something has gone wrong. Right? We attach that story that like oh, I am just not meant for this. That's why I'm feeling like this. And I just want you to know no, that's what they meant when they said that discomfort is the currency to your dreams. Like what if we just replaced the word discomfort? And we said oh, embarrassment is the currency to your dreams. Rejection is the currency to your dreams. Overwhelm is the currency to your dreams. Frustration, loneliness, resentment, inadequacy, jealousy, all of those. Now a lot of those are unnecessary and you can work past those by managing your mind, right? You can alleviate, you can like learn to manage, but not most, right. Most of it is part of the process. And when you start making it mean that there is something wrong with you or that you're not cut out for it, that's when you start like the self-loathing, beating yourself up. That's when you quit. That's when you give up on your dreams before it's even started. And I just want you to hear me on this, that frustration is part of the process. Rejection is part of the process. Nothing has gone wrong. It has nothing to do with you, right? Uncertainty, doubt, fear, judgment, all of it. That means you're on the right track. I want you to think about this. Have you ever heard of a story of somebody that went after their dreams, whatever that means, right? Whether that's, you know, writing that book or getting a new job or going for the promotion that they don't think they're qualified for, whatever the thing is, like pushing outside of that comfort zone and doing something they've never done before. Have you ever heard that like somebody did this and they never had any problems? Everything just went fine. Right? No frustration, no uncertainty. They knew how to do everything. They felt cool as a cucumber the whole time. Never doubted themselves, just knew what they were going to do. I mean, it sounds silly, right? Like have you, if you would ever heard somebody tell you like yeah, I started a business, never had a problem. I knew exactly what to do, even though I'd never started a business before, I knew exactly what to do. Step-by-step, I never doubted it once. I put it out there, there was no objections. Nobody ever said anything bad about it. Everybody loved it. It was a huge hit. I made tons of money. I woke up every day feeling completely at peace, no stress whatsoever. Right? Like it sounds so silly. And like obviously, like you know, it sounds like I'm making fun, but like sort of in our head, that's what we think is going to happen. We think like if I just think of my way to the end of this, if I plan out every single step, if I know exactly what I'm going to do, then I'm going to avoid all these problems. And I just want you to know the problems are part of the process. That's the only way to ever do anything. That’s the only way to ever learn anything. That's the only way to ever try anything new. And so if you're avoiding those problems, you're just avoiding the path. Like you're avoiding your path to success. You're avoiding that discomfort that you know, is the currency to your dreams because you've made those problems mean something about you. And it's funny because like when we watch other people, we love stories of people overcoming problems, right? We love us some underdog stories of watching people, you know, like that heroes aren't the, nobody goes to the movie to watch someone that's like mm start everything worked out for me in my life. It's always been perfect. Just gliding through, right? Like could be a very boring, super short film. And yet we're under some like delusion that like our life is going to be like that. And so we love seeing other people, we just don't want to be the one to go through that. Right. And I want you to understand that like part of the journey of this, part of going after big things, part of, um, pushing yourself and setting goals and doing things to blow your own mind is to get better at feeling that discomfort and not trying to run away. Is to get better at feeling that discomfort and not attaching a story to it and not making it mean anything about yourself. Just accepting that like that is a part of the story. We've talked a lot about that, about goals on this podcast, and the fact that like once you get there, it doesn't all of a sudden transform your life to like rainbows and butterflies. It's still 50/50. You're still going to have positive and negative emotions. You're still going to have stress in your life. And I get asked the question a lot like so then what's the point of the goals, right? Like what's the point of pushing yourself? Part of it is just getting better at this, is to get better at feeling discomfort because those negative emotions are a part of your life. Right? I mean, we, I've talked about this example like I think it's really easy to see, let's say with a marathon, learning to run a marathon, like what's the point of having that as a goal, it's not to run the 26.2 miles, it's to get better at being self-disciplined at, you know, overcoming that voice that wants you to sit on the couch. At doing things that you don't want to do every single day so that you can create those habits.

Right. It's becoming that version of yourself that is able to not run away from that feeling of discomfort. And so I just want you to understand when we say this thing, when we say that, like you know, your wildest dreams are right outside your comfort zone, it sounds so wonderful. Sounds like of course it is. I'm gonna go for it. And we think that that discomfort means like it's just hard work, I'm going to have to put in long hours. No, no, it doesn't. You actually don't have to put in long hours, which is what I'm trying to prove in my business. But like I don't put in a ton of hours, but I can tell you, I feel judged and rejected all the time. I feel uncertain and frustrated probably every day. I'm embarrassed quite often. I'm overwhelmed a lot. I'm not as resentful or jealous. I'm looking at this list of feelings I've written because I can manage my mind around a lot of this stuff. But I feel a lot of these negative emotions on a daily basis. At every level, there's going to be a different set of negative emotions, right? Like when I was just starting out, it was a lot of like rejection and embarrassment of putting myself out there maybe. Thinking that nobody wanted it, feeling inadequate, feeling lonely. And then it just changes. Like now that I have people that buy my programs and want my coaching and think I'm a good coach. Now it's like the fear of what if I don't get them the results? And am I good enough to do this? And you know, what is the best method in this way? And why is this other coach doing so much better than me and whatever. It's like new levels, new devils. There's never a time, I mean, if you're going to continue to push you can coast and then maybe you don't have to feel a lot of these emotions and that's fine too. I'm not, listen, I think there's definitely seasons in your life where you don't want to push. But what I want you to understand is that if you are going to go for your goals, then the point is to learn how to become better at that discomfort and understand what discomfort means, understand that it feels like death.

And I don't say that to scare you. I want you to know that it's not just you. Feeling these super intense emotions requires work, requires you to be able to handle things when you feel like it feels like you're gonna throw up. I mean, it's scary to the point of like almost paralysis and you still have to push through that. That's what we're talking about when we say discomfort. And I just want you to know that nothing has gone wrong if you're feeling that, like don't attach a story to it, know what discomfort means and get better at it. In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert, um, it's a book about how to basically have creativity in your life and how to pursue kind of your passions. It's a fantastic book. I've recommended it a ton and I think you should read it, but there's one part that I love. And she talks about how, you know, when you look at a movie or you look at your own past, it's really easy to kind of see that hero's arc, right. It's really easy to see when you're going through a hard time. It's easy to look back and know where kind of that low point was and how it ends and how that low point wasn't really the defining factor of your life. Right? So in, let's say a personal way, I can look back and see, yeah. You know, the time that I ended up not getting the score I wanted on my LSAT, right. It was a really hard time when I was going through it. And I can look back with so much compassion on myself and realize how silly it was and how it was a time where I learned, you know, how to get back up when I get knocked down and go after the thing that I wanted and whatever, a million other lessons that I probably learned from that. Or in a movie, you know, when you watch the protagonist and you are kind of in the middle and you see where she goes through this horrible tragedy. And she thinks that her life will never be the same and she'll never love again. And you know that that's not the way it ends. Right. And you know that that's not true. And like she’s obviously, obviously that's going to build her character and that's going to lead to kind of a greater love or whatever the movie is about. You get the point. It's easy to pinpoint that and think like oh, this is the part where, like this is the part where you think that you're doomed and your life is over and it's never going to be good again. And you know that that's not how it ends. Right. And Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how she does that in the present. Like it's easy to do it with the past, but when we are in it, it's really difficult to have perspective and realize that this is just one moment in our life. Right. And that we, we can learn from it and it can help us grow. And so when she finds herself in these moments, she reframes it by saying like this is the part. So when you know, she is sitting down to write a book and she has writer's block and she can't come up with anything good. And she's getting super frustrated. She thinks things like this is the part where I think I'll never write another good book and I'm doomed and everybody is going, you know, all the critics are gonna attack me and all this stuff. And she knows that like that's not how her story ends. Right. And so I love just having this tool to help reframe where let's say every day, you're getting up to start that business. And you're frustrated. It's like this is the part where I feel like I'll never figure it out and that other people know something I don't, and that I have no idea what I'm doing, but of course, I'm going to learn from this. And like this is going to be the foundation on which I build this business. Right. It's just a really easy way to understand that like this is not the end of the story. This is but one part. And it's actually a vital part of the story. Right. I have a friend who always says this is good for the plot. Right. So anything bad that happens and it's tongue in cheek, but it's actually such a helpful way of looking at it like oh, okay. Anything that's like a disaster is actually really good for the storyline. You know? Like nobody wants a perfect story. And so these are just like little reframes that help you kind of in the moment understand that this discomfort, these quote unquote problems are not problems. They're part of the process. They're part of the story line, right? They're good for the plot because when you eventually write that book about your life or have that movie made, you're gonna look back at those and be so grateful that you pushed through that discomfort, that you felt those feelings, that you didn't run away. And you continued to go towards your dreams. And the only way to do that is to get better at feeling discomfort. And the first step of doing that is knowing that nothing has gone wrong. That feeling those super intense, super painful feelings that feel like you're going to die is what we're talking about when we say that discomfort is the currency to your dreams, right? It's what people are talking about when they say that everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of your comfort zone. It's feeling those feelings, getting better at it, not running away, not making it mean something, not attaching a story, not trying to get out of it. Knowing that those obstacles are the path forward, that there is no journey where you don't run into problems. So you can stop avoiding them and take them head on. And that you can know that you're strong enough to feel any feeling and be okay.

So my friends, I want you to spend some time getting better at feeling discomfort, just feeling it in your body, letting yourself sit with it and not attaching a story to it, not running away from it and reminding yourself that this is the part where I take step after step to go after my dreams. I hope this episode has helped. If you want help feeling that discomfort, learning how to process those emotions and manage your thoughts so that you can go after the biggest life possible. If you know what you want to do, you just don't know how to get there. I want you to sign up for the wait list for Stuck to Strategy. We are going to dive for six months deep into how we can develop a plan and go after the biggest version of your life. So go to and get on the wait list. I hope to see you there. And if not, I will see you next week for another episode.

Thank you so much for listening. If you liked this episode, share it with someone else. I promise you know somebody who also hates their job and wants to quit, so why not share the love? And if you want to come follow along for more, come join me on Instagram at LessonsFromAQuitter and make sure you say hi. I'll see you next week for another episode.