Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Week 1: Be Uncomfortable

Photo(12)“Venturing out of your comfort zone may be dangerous, yet you do it anyway because our ability to grow is directly proportionate to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.” – Twyla Tharp

It was lunch time, and the office break room was teaming with hungry worker bees. When I crossed the threshold I felt like I’d been hurled back almost two decades to my first “real” job after college. Back then that break room, much like this one, was always packed with people. And back then I harbored an almost paralyzing angst toward entering a crowded room alone.

You see in my mind, the whole room freezes. Forks are suspended in mid-air as their owners stop to stare at me. Some dissect my fashion sense, or lack thereof in their opinion. Others study my hairstyle, perplexed by the fact that I haven’t bothered to color my roots, instead deciding to just let the new hair color go the way of the earth altogether. In my mind, they’re whispering something or other, this or that, and it’s about me.

Of course I’ve come to understand that my mind can be quite a deviant, and people have far more important things to talk about than me when I enter a room. And if, by chance, I do end up the topic of choice among some, well so be it. Worse things CAN and do happen, right? The bottom line is there’s something about entering a crowded room that did, and often still does, make my internal temperature fall just a few degrees below comfortable.

Recently I opted to chunk my usual comfortable routine of having lunch in the quiet cave that is my car (ahhh, the good life) and instead, chose to enjoy my lunch in the massive office break room. Do you know what that means? That means I made a conscious choice to be uncomfortable.

Currently, I’m reading Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit…. In the book she says, “Our ability to grow is directly proportional to an ability to entertain the uncomfortable.” Wow… Those words leaped from the page and slapped me in my forehead. By golly, she has a point. When I reflect on the life experiences that have stretched and strengthened me the most, more often than not they have been the uncomfortable ones. Take a moment to think about it. You’ll probably say the same.

So, my friends, as we go along life’s journey of becoming better while being completely and unashamedly who we are, this week our challenge is to seek out an opportunity to be uncomfortable. There’s probably already an opportunity that comes to mind. Big or small, just step out and do it. You never know how much you’ll grow from it or how far it will take you.