Enchantment…has nothing to do with fantasy, or escapism, or magical thinking: it is founded on a vivid sense of belongingness to a rich and many-layered world; a profound and whole-hearted participation in the adventure of life.
One of the reasons I said Yes to visiting Tanzania this summer was to take a leap out of my comfort zone.
Yet – and I’m a bit embarrassed to say this – just this week I noticed that most of my preparations have involved doing what I can to stay in my comfort zone while traveling! Now there’s wisdom in taking some precautions like getting vaccines, but spending time searching for a lavender sachet to place in my luggage is a bit much.
My realization hit me when coaching a rock star client who had just accepted a larger role at work. It was an opportunity she had wanted and earned, yet during our session she admitted to feeling so uncomfortable in the new role that she questioned if she had made a mistake.
I reminded her that just last month she had recognized her readiness for a new challenge and eagerly applied for the opportunity when it came up. The real question, I suggested, isn’t whether she made a mistake taking the job – but if she is willing to being uncomfortable for a bit while she gains her footing? Happily, her answer was Yes.
When our goal is to avoid discomfort, we keep ourselves small.
Instead, consider creating or noticing natural opportunities to become more comfortable with being uncomfortable – to remind yourself that you can handle being a bit of discomfort – especially when it’s for the sake of something bigger.
So, in addition to finding the perfect pair of hiking shoes, I’ve decided to give myself small experiments in being uncomfortable in advance of my trip.
Here are some ways I’m practicing now:
- When I’m in a doctor’s office waiting room, instead of pulling out my phone to distract myself, I’m sitting in silence and tolerating the boredom.
- When my husband has the AC in the car on high, instead of putting on the seat warmers or jumping to turn it off, I’m tolerating the cold…for a bit.
- When a song comes on the radio that I don’t particularly like, instead of clicking past it I’m listening to the whole thing.
- And instead of seeking every conceivable way to make my trip to Tanzania more “comfortable,” I’m prioritizing items related to health and safety and reminding myself that I can and will handle any uncomfortable situations with grit and grace and without a lavender sachet.
How about you? Tell me, where in your life can you lean into some discomfort?