In August 2011 I attended an “event” that set the stage for what getting uncomfortable felt like. I had travelled to Minneapolis, Minnesota with a colleague and the truth was that neither of us had never felt so incompetent and unsure of ourselves. We nearly left half way through, but in the end, we allowed ourselves the experience of becoming incredibly vulnerable in a space with complete strangers. It was my very first MarBecca workshop…and it was very, very uncomfortable.
I don’t recall a single time in my life prior to that point when I felt pushed to become so uncomfortable. It sucked. Plain and simple, it was awful. But yet, since then I have travelled to many more MarBecca workshops for more of that feeling…that unique experience of being made to feel completely, nakedly and uncontrollably, uncomfortable.
As a frequent listener of the Tim Ferriss Show, the topic of pushing past one’s “comfort zone” and having uncomfortable conversations for the purpose of personal and professional growth comes up frequently. While driving down the highway a few months ago, something Tim said about being made to feel uncomfortable caused me to pull over, skip backwards in the podcast and write out precisely what he had said:
“You only know what you’re capable of if you push yourself close to the breaking point. You’re going to have to endure incredible amounts of discomfort. Period. That’s it.
…Your success in life, by and large, can be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations you’re willing to have.”
Pushing outside of the proverbial “comfort zone” takes guts, courage, commitment, and most of all, the willingness to be vulnerable. It requires the willingness to ask questions and not be afraid someone might think you’re stupid. It takes the willingness to be coached by someone who sees right through the world we’ve built in our mind. It takes a willingness to fully embrace becoming uncomfortable.
Staying comfortable keeps us nice and cozy. Staying comfortable is easy. It doesn’t rock the boat. It doesn’t push us to question what we know, what we do, how we do things, why we do things. It protects us and keeps us safe. Staying comfortable keeps us from looking like a fool.
As I reflect on the years that have come since that fateful trip to Minneapolis, it has become pretty obvious that while I’ve embraced the idea of being uncomfortable and having uncomfortable conversations, there are still many uncomfortable facets of my life that I’ve steered away from. Time to change that.
Committing to a new blog post here every week, getting more physically fit, doing video blog posts, speaking on a stage in front of people that aren’t wedding guests… some of those tasks scare the living daylights out of me. Just making that list made me very uncomfortable! So guess what…it’s time to get uncomfortable. Getting uncomfortable is my prevailing theme for 2017. As I navigate this year I would encourage everyone reading this to consider the same.
Forget being cozy. Welcome becoming uncomfortable. Have the conversations. Ask the questions. Forget how others might judge. Be vulnerable.
What are you going to do that makes you uncomfortable?
Are you going to call up that wedding professional you’ve always wanted to meet and schedule lunch? Are you going to mention to your partner that you’d like to explore the idea of postponing the family vacation because of a professional development opportunity that could really help you and your family accomplish some life goals? Are you going to attend that workshop and embrace being vulnerable and (maybe) looking like a fool so that you can come out a better version of you on the other side?
Since that first MarBecca workshop in 2011, I have witnessed first hand DJs that refuse to make themselves uncomfortable or vulnerable enough to experience the growth and awareness that others can provide for them. I hope that person isn’t you.
Most people, even after reading this, won’t push through to the other side of embracing discomfort. That’s good news for you, IF YOU are the one who succeeds at leaving comfortable behind.
Most DJs in your market are going to choose staying comfortable. Again, this is good news for you.
If you’re willing to have that conversation…
Make that phone call…
Do that thing….
Get uncomfortable in 2017.
(For more on this topic and many others, check out this interview I did with DJ Shri on the new Mobile DJ Tips podcast. Be sure to check out many of his other great guests too!)