One of the last things my mom told me was that I was one of the strongest people she knew.
Now, this was saying a lot because most of the people in my life at the time were telling me I wasn’t strong. I had almost begun to believe them.
I’m forever grateful to my mom for saying those words to me because they have helped me survive the past decade, which has been a crazy, wild ride. But this really isn’t about me.
I am telling you this for a reason. You need to know that YOU are strong.
I see so many people give up just as the good stuff they are working toward becomes a reality. They start to lose weight and then something happens and they go off their plan. Or they begin to feel fit and then they quit coming to the gym. They aren’t used to feeling those new things (lighter, stronger, fitter) and they get uncomfortable.
The good stuff happens just outside your comfort zone. That means you have to enter the discomfort zone for a while.
In the discomfort zone, you feel anything but strong. It’s hard to trust your footing and you tend to second-guess yourself. Movies tend to romanticize these things but when you’re in the thick of it, it’s not very pretty. In fact, it feels awkward and crappy. But the thing is, it’s OK to feel that way.
It’s not OK to quit on yourself. Be brave. Trust yourself.
Resist the resistance.
Now, I’m not suggesting you stay in a dangerous situation or ignore the warning signals in your head if you’re in a situation where things are not working toward your best interest. I’m writing here about what happens when making positive changes in your life and everything feels as if it’s unraveling and you’re scared or worried.
I think nowadays we tend to believe that discomfort is something to be avoided. How much pain are we willing to endure — the pain of being stuck in our current situations — in order to avoid the pain of change, of daring to try something new?
For example, the other day I started to feel some butterflies — more like vultures — in my stomach. Usually I’m fairly resolute when it comes to decisions and I trust in my abilities. But all of a sudden — boom! I was doubting myself and it even got a little hard to breathe. I almost wanted to run off into a cave to hide from the world, or at least stop making some of the changes I was making because … well … because.
And then I realized my insecure feelings were actually “resistance” — my own little demons telling me I need to keep things comfortable, as-is. Steven Pressfield wrote a great book about this phenomenon that I have read countless times — The War of Art.
Here’s a quote:
Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is yours and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you’re no closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.
(Here’s more if you want to read it. Personally, I think you should buy it. 🙂 )
The comfort zone is a trap.
So as I’ve said, I’ve been making some changes that had me feeling energized and optimistic. But then those little self-doubting demons started to notice and felt threatened, so they started yelling for attention. They wanted me to stop doing what I was doing and get back on track to the comfort zone.
The thing is, I know that’s actually a DISCOMFORT zone because when I’m in it, I feel trapped and stuck. Instead, it’s time to make some breathing space and keep moving forward.
See the ring in the picture above? A wonderful, sweet (boy, would she ever hate that word!) client gave it me a few years ago. I dug it out of my jewelry box and now it’s on my finger as a reminder.
And here’s your reminder: Be brave this week! Don’t let up, and know that those icky feelings might be a sign you’re on the right track. Hang with it and soon you’ll be on the other side.