Time to get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Our ideal client is a High Achiever.  To inspire, motivate and be respected by such a client each of our advisers must be a High Achiever in their own way or style.

The question was asked in the office the other day how to spot a High Achiever, or more specifically, “Is there one attribute that all High Achievers have that makes them who they are?”

After a rigorous debate, a strong argument was put forward to the group that the most important attribute of a high achiever is their healthy attitude towards failure.  They aren’t scared of it.  They embrace it.  Failure doesn’t reduce their confidence, it increases it.

We have decided to keep an eye on this concept to see if we can prove it to be true.  Whether it is the defining attribute or not, we’re pretty sure that High Achievers aren’t born this way.  They weren’t born with a healthy attribute towards failure, it’s something they developed over time.  They have trained themselves to be this way and I believe it all comes down to being comfortable with being uncomfortable.

Being a perfectionist is an attribute many people associate with High Achievers.  Being self-critical can lead to a lot of improvement, but at the same time there is a lot of corrosive energy that surrounds perfectionists that can hold one back from realising their true potential.

Personally I’ve discovered the benefits of being comfortable with being uncomfortable through the running group I am a part of at the Kew YMCA Recreation Centre.

A few weeks ago, we were doing a session where we had to run a 400 metre lap hard followed by another 400m lap at a slower recovery type pace.  My coach instructed me to run at a 4:00/km pace for the hard lap and 5:00/km pace for the recovery.

On one particular hard lap I felt quite comfortable.  I glanced down at my watch to see that the pace was 4:15/km, which was far too slow.  I immediately pushed the pace and within 50 or so metres I started feeling uncomfortable again which brought a smile to my face.

I smiled because I knew that it was good for me because I have seen the results of being uncomfortable.  I’m getting faster, stronger, losing weight and feeling more confident and proud of myself.  I’m surrounded by productive energy (not corrosive – spot the ex-perfectionist in the room) and I’m now employing the same strategy within our team at work which is producing positive results.

In the past few weeks, everyone in our team at work has revealed their uncomfortable zones.  We are now far more aware of each other’s feelings and concerns and are working hard to make sure we take care of each other when we’re in our respective uncomfortable zones.

We are at a point where we can imagine that our team members are surrounded by a red ray of light as they step into an uncomfortable zone.  Whilst in there, we are sensitive to how they are feeling and operating.  Once they leave the red zone and are back in the green (more comfortable) zone we check in with them to see how they felt and whether they want to go back in there again.

You know you’re doing something you love when you come out of the red zone and no matter if you’ve failed or succeeded, you’re keen to jump back in when the time is right.  It’s also a great sign of a High Achiever because the only way to grow and get better at something is to regularly get inside the red zone on a weekly, and when appropriate daily basis.

In this article about getting comfortable with being uncomfortable, Ethan Maurice elaborates on why comfort is the enemy of awareness, is the enemy of change; is the enemy of appreciation and the enemy of presence, wonder and feeling alive.  It’s worth a read if you’re interested in exploring more about this topic.

Before you do, can you identify your uncomfortable zone?  Have you unconsciously or consciously been avoiding it?  Have you got an adviser, coach or colleague in your life who encourages you to get in and get out of your comfort zone on a regular basis?

I encourage you to experiment with this.  It’s already starting to pay dividends for our business and is creating a lot of positive energy in all parts of our lives.

Matthew Ross

Director and Independent Financial Adviser