Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Being Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

Using Fear to Grow and Overcome Obstacles

What holds you back from accomplishing your goals, your dreams?

What stops you from moving forward, creating anxiety within you?

If you are crippled by fear and can’t seem to move forward in pursuing your goals just know you are not alone.  Everyone has some sort of fear: fear of failure, fear of acceptance, fear of being alone or in pain. The issue is never about whether you have a fear or not, it’s about how much it controls your life.

I use to tell my sons, when they were little, that it was ok to have fears, as long as it doesn’t control you or stop you from being healthy, happy and living your life.  Fear is defined by Merriam-Webster as an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger; anxious concern. Fear is the most general term and implies anxiety and usually a loss of courage.  Sometimes fear is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined.

For most of us, we experience fear based on past, unpleasant experiences. It makes sense. If I went rock climbing a year ago and my foot slipped and I went sliding down the face of the rock, scrapping up my body, I might instantly feel anxiety well up inside of me when a friend suggests we go rock climbing today. As adults, we tend to hold onto past experiences, good and bad, and file those moments away, only to have them resurface when we perceive that we are walking into a similar situation.

However, this only becomes a problem when it creates a roadblock in our living. If we allow that fear, that anxiety, to stop us from experiencing life, then we’ve allowed it to define us.

Once we realize that fear is just a part of human nature then we can learn from it, and dare I say, use it as a tool to help us grow and actually enjoy new experiences. We don’t grow in our comfort zones, we grow when we get pushed  into uncomfortable situations. It forces us to improvise, it heightens our alertness and makes us aware of our limits, helping us to push our minds and bodies into new, unchartered territories.

This is how I have felt since becoming an amputee. Each day I feel that there is something that makes me become more alert, anxious, or even fearful. When I first learned to walk in my prosthetic I worried about falling and hurting myself, or making myself look foolish in public. Then as I got better at walking I tried to run. I’d put on my running blade, but would only go out at night so no one could see me stumble, look awkward, or stare at me. Fear of not being good enough stopped me from getting out in daylight, when it was safer and easier to see the road. I eventually got past that enough to go out earlier, but I still felt uncomfortable. Each day would bring it’s own set of issues, anxiety and discomfort. I tried a lot of new things like sled hockey and surfing, for the first time as an amputee. And each one of these was a test of my fortitude on pushing past my own insecurities. I am a perfectionist and very competitive with myself and others.

If you can do it, so can I.

If you tell me I can’t because I’m missing a leg, I’ll show you that I can. (That might actually be the stubbornness in me).

Skiing in Colorado March 2021

 

In today’s podcast I share with you my journey at getting back to skiing and how fear of falling takes away from the experience. I want to enjoy skiing again. To be outside, breathing in the fresh air, getting exercise and making a connection with my family.

So what do you do when fear takes hold? How do you push past discomfort and really start living your life?  It’s a mindset. It’s positive self-talk, your own personal pep-talks.  It’s about goal setting.

This goes back to the vision boards I talked about in the last episode. If you didn’t hear that podcast you can take a listen here

My vision board

A vision board is a place to put your dreams, goals, positive messages. Once you’ve created it you will have a place to go to keep yourself motivated. When you start to worry or doubt yourself or your capabilities, look to your vision board. You also need to remember that goals take time, and the bigger the goal the more grace you need to have with yourself and the setbacks that may occur. I remind myself, daily, that baby steps are still steps.

When we went skiing this past week, my first day on the slopes wasn’t my best. I just wasn’t feeling it, my movements were tense and unsure. We didn’t ski again until the end of the week, and quite frankly I couldn’t help but worry that I was going to feel the same way as before. Part of me would have been content with not skiing again….but I decided to push myself into uncomfortableness and try again, and you know what? I had a great day of skiing! I relaxed, worked on breathing, remembered some techniques I had been taught by my adaptive ski instructors from the previous year and enjoyed my day (and yes, I even talked to myself, affirming my skills and capabilities as a skier). When all was said and done, I was grateful I pushed myself out of my comfort zone that day. I wiped away the negative memories of the first day of skiing and replaced them with healthy, positive ones. The funny thing about that, I am the only one who saw my progress, because it was internal. It was the way I felt out there and how I moved from being uncomfortable to comfortable. This was MY victory. I conquered my fears and came out on top.

You need to remember that you CAN do anything. You set your goals, you speak and write affirming words to motivate and push yourself forward, you surround yourself with a tribe of people who can support you-mentally, emotionally, physically.

It may not be easy, but you can accomplish your goals, and when you do, when you learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable, it’ll be then that you will truly be living your best life. And nothing will be able to stop you.

Call to Action:

This week, write down a fear you have. Something you want to conquer. Decide on the goal and the steps you’ll need to take to get to that goal. Add the desired outcome to your vision board or tape it on the mirror in your bathroom, somewhere you can see it everyday, someplace that will be a constant reminder of what you want to accomplish. Now go for it!! Reminder: some days will be better than others (remember my first day of skiing was the pits) but don’t give up. I challenge you to enjoy the journey, with its ups and downs. Get after it, have grace with yourself. If you take a step backward, don’t GIVE up- GET up, and attack it again. You can do this!!

Finally, lean on someone. Ask for accountability and support from someone you trust. If you struggle with that, reach out to me, let me help you.

Make sure you let me know how you’re doing.

Tell me what your goals and dreams are in the comments below, or email me. I’d love to hear about your journey. I’m here.

Best wishes on conquering your fear(s).

Speaking of conquering fears, next week I have a special guest. My friend, Mike Coots, joins me from Kauai, HI. He is an amazing photographer, shark advocate, surfer, and an amputee who lost his leg in a shark attack! Be sure to subscribe so you don’t miss it!

Until next time:

Be Healthy,

Be Happy,

Be YOU!

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