The most difficult things to accomplish are usually the things that we are the proudest of. One might think it should be a large project or milestone but its the regular day to day stuff that really adds up to become the big picture! So being uncomfortable should be embraced as a part of the process to achieve things that are actually worthwhile!
You can read it in a million different publications, watch it all day on youtube and then listen to it in your earbuds as you fall asleep… the things that are uncomfortable to do, the things you need to take a deep breath and push yourself to do are the things that are going to bring dramatic change to your life.
When you have an uncomfortable situation, when you have a problem to handle or when you have to physically do something that is not fun, you have to look at what the outcome will be and put your head down and do it!
Seldom do rewarding things just happen to walk through your door and land on your lap while you are snoozing. Things that are relatively easy can be done by anybody and that usually dilutes the reward. It’s the things that no one wants to do; difficult situations, jobs that require intense labor or training, that tough talk you need to have with an employee(or boss) these are the things that are tough to do but after doing them – you feel great.
– While I am out visiting current customers I try to walk into a new potential client workplace and introduce myself. It’s uncomfortable. I have done outside sales for many years and people think that I am very comfortable in any scenario. But the reality is that I need to push myself. This is especially true towards the end of the day when I’m tired. I may tell myself that I did enough that day and that I should be okay with what I have already done, but I make that one or two extra calls and one becomes an account.
-While attending business training or self-improvement seminars there are drills that you must participate in that are uncomfortable. I work through them and when I’m done I have acquired new skills or strategies that improve my business or life.
-Exercise is a huge one. Everyone has fought through a workout and felt better by doing it. Consistently doing this is the key to racking up those small wins that turn into something bigger – like your biceps.
-Fear of speaking in front of authoritative people. This may have started in my childhood when speaking in front of authorities was more about defending myself from the trouble I was in. Whether it was going for a permit in townhall or supporting a project in front of town leaders or the county legislature – I get very nervous… but I get up there anyway. It is very difficult and unpleasant but I do it anyway and every time I do, it feels really good. It is a lot easier to sit in the gallery, but not as rewarding.
I have performed public speaking enough times that I should be comfortable, but I’m not!
Curtiss Schaeffer, President of the Long Island Propane Gas Association asked me in August if I would speak at their October meeting on a subject that I am knowledgeable and passionate about. It is centered around improving the image people have of the trades and recruiting young people into blue-collar careers. Easy for me since it’s something that I discuss constantly. Curtiss gave me 2 months to prepare and deliver my message to approx 50 people at a dinner meeting, most of whom I know. I thought about speaking at that meeting every day for 2 months! It would have been a lot easier to pass on it, sit back and watch someone else speak, but I said I would do it and when I say that I am going to do something it forces me to do it!
I prepared hard and when the night came I was still uncomfortable. I did not eat my dinner at that meeting. When my time came I went up to the podium and put down my notes. I was sweating so profusely that I made a joke of it to the room and had to borrow a cloth napkin from Curtiss sitting at the dais next to the podium.
Bob Spitz of Drive, a company that trains shop owners in business skills, asked me to be part of a panel discussion at a NAPA Auto Parts convention in Las Vegas a few years ago. I was quite honored because Bob is a great public speaker. To be invited by him to be on his team was an honor for me. I have been to conventions and most of the time speakers only have a room of 50 or so people. The day before going I found out that this convention sold out 5 full hotels. At that point, I asked Bob approximately how many people will be attending our presentation. He didn’t really flinch when he told me between 500 and 700!
We were speaking about marketing in the truck repair industry, a topic that I am pretty well versed in. We were very well prepared before I left for Vegas but that was not enough for me. I went out there and took it to a new level of over preparing with yellow pads all over the spare bed in my hotel room. We had to go for a rehearsal and sound checks the night before. The day of the presentation I woke up drenched in sweat.
Do you think this may have been an uncomfortable thing for me to do?
We crushed it on stage that day!! We were rock stars for the rest of the weekend with people walking up to us in casinos and saying “hey you’re the truck guys!”
Was it worth it, hell yeah! It was one of the most gratifying things I have ever done and something that I will be proud to speak about for the rest of my life!
So I have figured out that forcing myself to do things that are uncomfortable is well worth it! The rewards are almost always greater than doing the things that are fun and easy!
If I know I should do something that I am uncomfortable with, I tell people that I am doing it! Then my standards kick in. I am very proud of the fact that I do what I say I am going to do! So, once I say that I am going to do something there is no backing out!
My recent podcast is a great example of that. I was scared to do it, but I agreed with AJ, our marketing guru, that I would do it and then there was only one way to go… Once again, very very uncomfortable, but I opened my mouth and had to follow through! Now I’m proud of our product and committed to the next uncomfortable thing, which is learning and sharing the success stories of others starting with Peter Florey, a highly respected businessman.
Celebrate! …. Oh shit, I almost forgot this part! We must celebrate our achievements and do it often, that is what encourages us. Many people feel that you need to do something monumental in order to have a reason for celebration. This is not true! We need to celebrate all the time, especially the little things. This is not easy to do, I struggle greatly with it, but I do stop and remind myself. We should not only celebrate our achievements but also when things are just running smoothly. Celebrate doesn’t mean you have to throw a party. It could be just a few moments of reflection and a warm feeling, or a quiet fist pump when no ones looking. Make sure you don’t forget the last ingredient of this successful recipe!
So when I say “I hope you’re uncomfortable now”, embrace it. If this article is well received you can be sure that I will be celebrating, you are welcome to join me!