“Get comfortable being uncomfortable”

Damn, what a contradictory and profound statement…Its something I heard from one of my block instructors in the Air Force. “Things WILL never go exactly as planned…so get comfortable being uncomfortable”. I suppose we can apply this to just about anything in our lives. Simple experiences like working in the elements are the easiest to illustrate. Cold, Wet, Windy weather on a 3-5 mile hike…or a 3 mile run. Its going to be MISERABLE…unless you don’t let it. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable is mindset, adaptability, and in many cases…conditioning. I will elaborate on each one.

Mindset – I see this from perspective and direction. If the current situation sucks completely…but there is a purpose for it…I must let that settle in. I need a goal oriented and purpose driven mindset to push myself through the SUCK and to the end result. This is true for the work place as much as a cold, wet, and windy 5k run. There are days that things are collapsing, sales are falling through, projections are dwindling, The boss is pacing behind you while you draw up last quarters reports…all of these things can be overcome with the appropriate mindset.  Look for the objective, purpose, or goal of each task, especially in situations where you feel smashed under the circumstances.

Adaptability – This is a matter of addressing the situation and making the appropriate changes to better equip you for them in the future. This is easier understood when we are new to a job, or a position…but it is also important in dynamic work environments with changing company focus or even inventory shift. We have to be willing to adapt to address change and shifts in direction or we become the source of the discomfort. The catalyst may be the change itself, but an unwillingness to adapt is what will create our anxiety or discomfort. That is why its paramount that we are willing to adapt to each shift.

Conditioning – This is exactly what it sounds like. If you want to know what cold weather running is like…you run in cold weather. If you want to know what high stress is in the work place…allow yourself to become enveloped in high stress work situations(relative to your job/position).  Don’t haul off and create these situations, but don’t shy away from them. When they arise, consult with your work group and stay in the situation until a solution materializes. Don’t hide from customer conflicts, approach them tactfully and professionally. I can almost guarantee the client, customer, or co-worker will provide you with the artillery to dodge and a myriad of situations to navigate. BE WILLING…to allow yourself to eventually BE ABLE.

With the right mindset, willingness to adapt, and experience(through conditioning), you should be well prepared to face uncomfortable situations without allowing them to break you down. The best words of advice I have received and that I’ve been able to give…”Never TELL, Always Ask”…”Never Lecture, Always Inform”…”Never degrade, Always Encourage”. ..If you can be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, there is no reason your team cant do the same thing with your guidance.