We should feel comfortable with discomfort

We should feel comfortable with discomfort
We should feel comfortable with discomfort

This week we had our Morning Coffee with Esteban Pintos, Regional Manager at Wolox

The space is limited within our comfort zone, and it is based on it that we set our boundaries. There is no room for the excitement of the unknown, just for the certain and the familiar. Thus, we distance ourselves from the fear of what we do not know or what we didn’t dare to explore.

One of the most common excuses people tell themselves is: “I really am good at this job or task, I do not need to level up or learn something new. I will do what I know because I am already successful at it. I will save time and energy if I focus on what I know.”

It is very important to change this type of mentality to know what we can do beyond our own established limits.

In this article, I will share my experiences of how I stepped out of my comfort zone.

A few months ago, I talked at a Wolox event called Tech & Talk, about how to get out of one’s comfort zone. During the event, I noticed the audience’s reaction: by sharing my experiences, they too were remembering their adventures in life. Their faces both motivated and inspired me to continue sharing my experiences. 

Let’s start with the basics: what do we call a “comfort zone”?

It is the zone where someone is happily confident about something.

Where our routine produces good results, where anxiety and stress are low. We have everything under control and little to worry about. This may apply to different aspects of our everyday life: work tasks, relationships, our position in a sports team, the way we interact with people, among others. 

For instance: As a software engineer with a few years of experience in full-stack development, developing codes with well-known frameworks comes easy to me and is something I feel pretty confident with. I know how to make things work and I love it. So…

Why do I need to get out of that zone?

To reach a different state of mind. Because that’s where the magic occurs, it’s where you learn and find your potential, new experiences. It’s where you challenge your ideas. 

Have you ever felt a deep pain in your stomach when experiencing something unknown?

For example, talking to someone you admire, proposing a new project to your boss or, a very common one, speaking in public. Well, congratulations! That strange feeling is an indicator you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone.

What happens when you get there?

You will start to feel anxious, a little bit stressed, confused and a little bit lost and perhaps uncomfortable. But… this is the place where you will: 

  • Experience new things
  • Test your limitations
  • Learn
  • Understand your real potential

And those are invaluable moments/feelings you have to experience. You need to know your potential and limitations to be able to navigate through future situations of life. 

I consider myself an introvert. Every time I approach a group of people at an event, when I have to speak in front of an audience or when I have to give my opinion at a large meeting, I feel my heart beating loudly, nervously, and very, very anxiously.

With practice, that feeling lasts just a moment and then amazing things happen: I get to know incredible people, I express myself in meetings. There are a lot of things I would miss if I stayed inside my comfort zone. 

But, what happens when we go too far? You enter something called the panic zone.

I remember when I was a boy, I wanted to learn to ride a bike. I took my bike and started riding without fear.

Finally, I ended up crashing into the only tree that stood in my garden and hurt myself. I entered the panic zone, I felt discouraged and stressed. But I realized the importance of learning from our mistakes, making adjustments and keep trying.

This time I got help from my father and I succeeded. After that situation, I started gaining confidence and wanted more. I searched for new proposals, but soon I found myself in the same situation as before. 

And that’s one more lesson: Be patient.

When you get out of the zone where you have everything under control, you are entering a new zone where you might not have the right knowledge, where failure is imminent. Give yourself time to learn; fail and move forward. 

From there, you will start to get different results. I started with small talks, then some courses for students and began to write articles in a blog.

All of that took several hours of practice, patience, and self-awareness, but in the end, it was worth it. Without all of that effort, I would still be afraid to give my opinion in front of a crowd or maybe would have never met all of those incredible people with whom I share my daily life at Wolox. 

Each person is different. One task can be challenging to one person but simple to another. There are times in our lives when being in our comfort zone could be the healthier solution, but I promise it’s worth it.

I encourage you to take that step, to expect new challenges and to feel comfortable with discomfort.

Translated by Alejandra Rodríguez

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