Discomfort on Purpose

Last year I read a book called The Discomfort Zone which became the inspiration for my phrase of this year. Every year in late December or early January I get together with my coach friends to work on our vision boards. We also declare our word of the year (WOTY) that we add to the top or bottom of our vision boards.

Our WOTY is a word that taps into intention and meant to guide us throughout the year. We look at it often, we think of it, and use it to access the wisdom within and to inspire us into action. The words are typically positive ie: DELIGHT, PRESENCE, COMMITMENT, GRACE, UNLEASHED, CLARITY, SELF-LOVE, etc.

This year, instead of focusing on a word, I chose a phrase inspired by that book: “Discomfort On Purpose”. 

Most of us avoid discomfort at all costs. I did too for many years. But being willing to allow discomfort in our lives allows us to grow and stretch much further than we ever thought possible. Choosing discomfort ahead of time and on purpose builds you up and gives you the kind of power required to grow yourself into someone who succeeds in life, consistently and is not limited by fears.

Discomfort is brief. Failure is brief. Everyone can handle that if they are willing. It is not debilitating. In fact, it can be empowering. One of the best things I learned from the book that I now teach my clients is called The BMD Method. BMD stands for Brief Moments of Discomfort. The BMD Method is about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

The BMD method is a reminder that ANYONE can handle short periods of pain or discomfort (think childbirth, public speaking or waxing!) when they are aware that the payoff, in the end, is worth it. We have more power when we choose it willingly.

The formula is simple:

  1. Acknowledge your fear 
  2. Identify your moments of discomfort 
  3. Reimagine discomfort

Translation: Stop pretending you can conquer the world! It’s okay to have fears. Be honest with yourself and identify where your comfort zone ends and where your discomfort zone begins. This will allow you to process all the feelings that come up for you. 

Identifying when you’re in the zone of discomfort means you have to also identify when you’re in the deadly zone of comfort. Deadly comfort has people rotting at dead-end jobs and comatose relationships. Deadly comfort requires zero thought, zero discipline and will ultimately give you zero gains. If you’re too comfortable, you’re not stretching or growing. Identifying your discomfort has you set goals to conquer it.

In step three, you reimagine discomfort and reframe it by recognizing that discomfort on purpose means you choosing to be uncomfortable for nothing more than a few nanoseconds in service of your own growth (okay, maybe slightly longer!). You don’t see your discomfort as disruptive but as constructive. When you reimagine discomfort on purpose you can see that it’s not a struggle, but more of an invigorating challenge. 

Through our discomfort, we can truly appreciate what is good in our lives, what it takes to get there and what we are truly made of. It reveals our incredible capacity and ability to overcome challenges and BMDs, that over time, help us unleash our truest potential (and, that is how I ended up being a mother to four amazing humans and didn’t just stop at one!).

Leave a Comment:

Eileen Mendel says July 10, 2019

When we consciously choose to challenge ourselves is when we grow into a higher level of being. Don’t wait for situations to happen. Build your courage and capabilities so that you make breakthroughs that will serve you for the rest of your life.

    Nancy says July 10, 2019

    Well said, Eileen!

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