Yesterday, I implored you to get uncomfortable, to change your life. Because when we step toward those things that are scaring us (well, as Mastin says, as long as the thing that scares you isn’t a tiger, you should step toward it), we’re stepping into growth, uncertainty, and a much bigger and brighter future than our scared, wannabe comfortable and safe selves could have ever imagined.
But how do you do that? How do you make yourself uncomfortable in a comfortable way, if you will? How do you know it’s worth it? How do you know you’re not going to die if you get too uncomfortable, if you take too big a risk?
How do you challenge yourself to get uncomfortable?
Today, I want to share a story, a process, and some inspiration to get you started on your uncomfortable journey, on your life’s journey, the one where you’re epic, and awesome, and really, really living.
I used to be safe. Like all the time. That doesn’t mean that I actually was any safer than I am now, but it does mean that I constantly battled for feelings of safety and security, which for me looked like chasing financial safety and career/societal safety.
Not too long ago, I was working 6 different jobs/businesses simultaneously because I saw potential in every single one of them, and I was too nervous to let go of even one stream of income because I could already barely afford my rent as it was.
One of those jobs was the grandmother of this business. SedivaAbroad.com, my blog.
I had this idea for an epic media company that worked with solopreneurs on personal growth and sharing big, fat, epic messages with the world, but I didn’t really have the clarity on what that would look like. So without letting go of those five other jobs, I started trying to transition my old blog. (You can still see some of those old posts here.)
But here’s what really happened. I constantly avoided and procrastinated writing and posting blog posts, and then I would post one sporadically, and get frustrated when the engagement, readers, and clients didn’t just roll in. And,every time I “failed”, I would silently allow myself to confirm those thoughts of See? You knew you couldn’t do it! I told you! And so did everyone else in your life. This won’t work. You can’t do it. when the results didn’t show up.
Sheesh, what a way to live right?
But what I didn’t realize at the time was that I was playing small. I was fighting to stay comfortable in a new world where everything was scary, risky, uncertain, and yet more like the life I wanted than anything else.
And staying comfortable, rather fighting tooth and nail to stay comfortable, allowed me to keep playing small, keep procrastinating on writing and publishing, keep not putting myself out there and being seen, and just keep scraping by every month… barely.
Money, guilt, shame, fear, and ultimately, not believing in myself, scared I wasn’t good enough, and therefore, not believing in myself some more.
Sounds awful right?
But I think for a lot of us, it also sounds really familiar.
What I wanted, what so many of us want, is money and financial security and freedom, which wasn’t to say that I wanted comfort in the money realm, but I thought I did. So I fought really hard for it. I wanted to do something I loved, to be someone I loved, to work on projects I loved with people I loved. I wanted to travel to visit my family and friends around the world and not have to plan more than a year in advanced just to come up with the money for it. And I really wanted to live that life, go after that dream, that I’d always wanted but had kept pushing aside because at the base of it all, I was scared I couldn’t.
So if this sounds familiar, here’s what we can do.
We can get you uncomfortable.
What happened for me was that I realized that I could know or learn everything in the world about strategies for starting and building a business (a lot of which I already knew through my professional work outside of my own business!), I could do it easily enough for other people or their businesses, but I couldn’t do it for myself unless I got uncomfortable, invested in the dream, and require myself to step out, be seen, put my ass on the line, and live bigger.
Essentially, the knowing, learning, experience weren’t stopping me.
I was afraid to be uncomfortable.
And yet I was already incredibly uncomfortable.
So something had to change.
And real transformation and healing needed to happen in order for this business to exist. So I found a coach, I invested in myself and my business, and I stepped out in a bigger way. I’m still terrified sometimes pushing Publish on my writing, and I’m still nervous sometimes hopping on coaching calls or networking, but I know that those things that make me most uncomfortable (again, as long as you’re not literally going to die, say, at the hands of a tiger or something!) are the things that are going to help me grow the most.
So let’s get practical now. How can you start getting uncomfortable? How can you figure out your bigger dream and go after it in a bigger way? How, how, just freaking how?
Step One: Write down everything you got going on in your life right now.
For me that was six jobs/businesses, five additional project ideas, and a part-time job that I hated. Figure out what’s going on in your life and also figure out how you feel right now!
Step Two: Write down what you want your life to look like.
Forget the shoulds. Get a little impractical, illogical, and uncomfortable here. Stop thinking about what you should want, what you should do, or any other implied obligation. What do you want?
Step Three: Figure out how you can move from stuck to epic.
Hint: You don’t have to know how. You can ask. Ask for help from a mentor or a coach, ask a friend or colleague that knows some ropes around the stuff you want to do, find a class or a course. You don’t have to know how.
But you do have to make a committed decision to start making big steps into what makes you uncomfortable.
It’s time for a change.
This is healing work. It’s hard work. And it’s gonna test your personal limits in so many ways. But if you want to play a bigger game, if you want to get unstuck, if you want to be as you as humanly possible, it’s time to stop playing small, safe, and comfortable.
The shape of the dream might change. Mine did, but it’s already bigger than I ever imagined it could be. Opportunities came up, and the money and the ability to take those opportunities continues to show up in all sorts of places that I don’t expect. It’s truly incredible.
I’m still scared. It’s okay to be scared. That fear doesn’t go away, especially if it’s been there a long time.
But I know (and finally trust – well, at least a part of me trusts) that when I step past fear and into awareness of that fear, past anger and into healing of that anger, past doubt and into trust of myself, and play a bigger game, bigger things happen.
And let’s face it. Owning up to your life’s work, starting a business, or whatever that looks like for you is certainly a bigger game.
It’s okay to be scared. But it’s not okay to let that stop you.
Go get uncomfortable.