2020 presented many challenges. Most challenges were not by our choice.
In some cases, we thrived with the new challenges. Working from home, reducing the commute, more family mealtimes and bedtimes.
In other ways, we struggled. The juggling of home schooling and work, virtual working and less sociable lives challenged us with loneliness, maintaining and creating relationships.
For me, the dust has settled a little and this ‘new normal’ has become a little more comfortable, albeit not perfect.
Growth vs Comfort
The positive side of this uncomfortable new normal is there have been many opportunities for growth.
‘To grow, we need to be uncomfortable’ our Ping Identity CEO, Andre Durand, said before Christmas in our 1 to1.
In that meeting, we talked about how the status quo can create complacency, missed opportunity or the lack of new ideas which will obstruct innovation.
Personal growth can be at risk too, by being too comfortable.
If you are looking for the next promotion, the next pay rise, the next career move - all of those goals usually require you to learn or achieve something new.
So, by being comfortable, you limit your growth opportunities.
Small Discomforts Yield Big Results Too
Growth doesn’t have to be taking on a massive undertaking. The growth opportunity could be slight - perhaps just a small deviation from the day to day.
A good example of this is to seek out your peers in the industry for peer-to-peer mentoring.
If you are great at your job day to day - you will be managing your work, your people and stakeholders in the business well. But, how do you grow?
If all your interactions are internal, there is a limited scope to take ideas from the outside and apply them for your own progression.
A great way to make a small uncomfortable step forward, is to seek out peers and share ideas about how you are performing your role.
For most people this will feel a little uncomfortable - but it will yield good results.
By discussing your ideas and experience, you will gain greater clarity on what has worked through the reflection.
And you should also hear new ideas from those peers, meet new connections and add a new perspective to your work.
Get Comfortable with Imperfection / Discomfort
If being a little uncomfortable yields growth, it’s important we come to terms with this too.
Often when we set goals for the year - we talk above the achievements and how we will cross the goal line.
And we get frustrated in the journey when things get a little sticky.
How many times have you said ‘if I could just achieve this, my job would be much easier’.
The growth, the opportunity - is the journey.
We need to embrace the discomfort and thrive on the lessons being taught. In the darkest days, ensure some time for reflection to not miss the subtle hints of how we can improve and progress.
Being comfortable with discomfort takes time and everyone has a different tolerance to the frustrations this journey can provide.
Balance Discomfort & Self Empathy in 2021
To be able to balance the discomfort of pushing ourselves to do things we have never done before, we must give ourselves a break when things get tough.
Self empathy is rarely practised. Our inner critics excel in bad times, reminding us of our mistakes.
Remember though, if you have pushed yourself into discomfort to grow…. You will not have all the answers - that’s the idea! So practicing self-empathy is vital. Don’t scold yourself for a mis-step on the journey.
Celebrate the fact you had the courage to try.
Be your own cheerleader in 2021.
Push yourself to the win, make yourself uncomfortable, embrace the journey and be kind to yourself along the way.