Be comfortable being uncomfortable

career courage Sep 01, 2021

As a career coach to formal and informal tech leaders, one of the most damaging things you can do as part of your career is to stay when you are comfortable yet bored. If you are fabulous at your job, but you are not challenged, you need to start looking at alternatives.

I stayed in a job where I was bored and unfulfilled for years. It caused stress, anxiety, and frustration. I thought I had stay because I didn’t want to put any risk on my family. Reality check…no job is secure. Change is a constant.

The only that you can count on is yourself. Your spirit, talents, gifts, passion, grit, and the drive to contribute to something that matters to you in life.

I like to call this becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to reach out and stretch to grow our skills.

For me, my crucial stretch point was when I decided to go back to graduate school at the age of 44. Yep, the age of 44. I had kids I had to send to college. How would I afford this? Could I do this?

I discovered a program at Northwestern University and was accepted. I couldn’t believe it. I loved being a student again in my 40s. I absorbed every piece of information like a sponge. The uncomfortable part was being in graduate school as a technologist, where everyone around me was consultants. The other awkward piece was being 44 when everyone was in their 20’s. My fellow peers were starting to get married, and here I was thinking about sending my kids off to college.

It was the best thing I did as well as one of the most uncomfortable situations. I loved learning things that I found so inspirational. I became a risk taker. I learned grit. And I learned to be comfortable with change.

And moving into a new career or moving horizontally within your organization can be a bit comfortable.

But when you learn to become comfortable with change and trying new things, amazing things will happen.

You will let perfection go
Reality check, no one is perfect. To step outside of your comfort zone means that you will make mistakes, fall, but you will learn what works and what does not work. You will feel free. You will be experimenting and enjoying the process. You cannot be testing and trying new things while at the same time trying to be perfect. Without taking a risk, there is no change for you to step into your joy and greatness.

You will inspire others.
What you do is noticed by others, whether you realize it or not. People are watching you, and what you do gives them an inspiring role model for growth and change. This applies not only at work but at home with setting an example for your children.

You will have no regrets at the end.
The idea of going back to graduate school seemed impossible. It was not even something I considered. But once I started on the journey, I loved every moment and every class. I gave it all that I had. And it has helped me in every aspect of my life. I was a role model for my children. I build grit and resilience. And I learned how to step into my powers.

I now live without regrets. Regrets come when we wonder, “What if?” yet don’t act. Don’t wonder – for it.

I learned to stand in my power.

I spent my career doing something I thought I should be doing. It was only when I leaned into moving forward with a change that I started to come out of my shell and be my authentic self.

When you step out on your path, you get to live and work on your terms. Become the one who sets the rules and drives your change. Having a sense of personal control is not only essential for well-being, but research has shown that it lowers stress and increases job satisfaction as well.

Let's stay connected, shall we?
I promise you this is worth it! 
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