When Discomfort Becomes a Part of Your Routine

I gave myself 8 weeks to train. 5 days a week (with the other two days I spend time cross training), I run (ok run/walk) approximately three miles. On December 9th, I’m participating in the Hot Chocolate 5K run in Phoenix. I’ve never been a long distance runner (always a sprinter) but its been a long term goal of mine to participate in a long distance run. Its also been a goal of mine to get in top shape. The process has been both incredibly satisfying and difficult to say the least.

Over the past few years, I’ve tried something new — deliberately putting myself in situations that make me a little uncomfortable, i.e. going to events where I know no one, traveling to a foreign country by myself (Prague), striking up conversations with complete strangers, taking an improv class, trying bikram yoga for a straight month. This has been a fruitful exercise that has disrupted my routine and forced me to challenge myself in the hopes of inspiring creativity and creating more diverse life experiences. The above video is of Whitney Johnson, an entrepreneur and regular Harvard Business Review blogger, on the merits of disrupting yourself.

Though there has been some push back to this idea of disruption, particularly when it comes to your career, I found this idea inspiring. By making yourself a bit uncomfortable, you can learn more about yourself, find different ways to problem solve, and most importantly shake things up a bit. Now, I’m really interested in becoming more athletic. I want to try different things like martial arts, boxing, dancing, yoga and take my body as far as it can go. I was in part inspired by The Olympics and folks like Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas and Michael Phelps. Being physically strong is important to me and I’ve seen a difference already in the quality of my work.

I know it sounds counterintuitive to tell you to seek out ways to make yourself a bit uncomfortable but I can tell you that there’s value in trying new things. And learning new things about yourself. As Riley Gibson, CEO of Napkin Labs, asks in his Fast Company piece, “What are you doing to make yourself uncomfortable today?”

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