comfortzoneHave you ever been uncomfortable?  Of course you have, we all have.  There are times when people do things or say things that you don’t necessarily agree with that you might squirm in your chair a bit.  Have you been faced with something new?  Were you uncomfortable doing it?

Most things that are new to us are uncomfortable.  To grow as individuals, we must do new things.  How do we accept that things are going to be uncomfortable?  How do we become comfortable with the uncomfortable?

There is a magic answer. (Sorry!)   We must be ok with challenge and adversity.  We must know that we are going to be uncomfortable and we must expect it and not be afraid.  We must challenge ourselves to live in the uncomfortable.

I Don’t Want to Look Stupid

When I am faced with people that know more than me, (a LOT in my world), I listen intently.  Sometimes, I have no idea what they are saying.  When that happens, I look around and assess the room.  Does everyone else in the room look like they understand; are they nodding and taking notes?  If they look like they understand, then I will ask my questions privately to make sure I am on board.  If others in the room look confused or stone faced, I will ask a clarification question. I listen intently and also watch others to see if they understand.   Ultimately, I cannot be satisfied with not-knowing. It is my job to do my best, and if I don’t understand what is going on, I cannot do that.   While no one person can know it all, I must understand what is going on around me so that I can clearly explain it to someone else.

If you find yourself coming out of meetings and you cannot explain what occurred, make yourself uncomfortable.  You must decide if is it worth the risk of “potentially” looking stupid to learn something new.  Personally, I would rather look stupid because I asked a question than be stupid because I went along with something I did not understand.

Believe in Yourself

Believe in your value.  Almost everyone I know (myself included) underestimates the value we add.  When you are in a company, the more you know the more valuable you become.  Why aren’t we all striving to know all we can?  We underestimate ourselves and don’t recognize the potential we have.  We choose to be comfortable.

Challenge Yourself

The next time you are listening to something and it does not sound right, ask a question.  Push yourself to be uncomfortable.  Over time, as you see yourself grow and mature, you will be glad you made the choice.