Freckles in April: It Isn't Supposed to be Comfortable

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

It Isn't Supposed to be Comfortable

My last morning at my old gym

Some time last year I outgrew my small gym. That gym had been part of my morning routine for almost 2 years and I couldn't fathom going anywhere else so, when my membership came up, I renewed for six more months. When that six months ended I knew I couldn't renew again. I needed different equipment, some coaching, more options. It was past time to move on.

There's a super affordable full gym in my old neighborhood where a ton of my friends go and I seriously considered it but, when I was honest with myself, I knew I wanted to try CrossFit. I got a recommendation for a box near my house and signed up for a two week trial.

The day before I started at the new place I went for a run. I'm not much of a runner but I was crazy terrified of starting CrossFit and I needed to run off my antsy nerves. After less than half a mile I was huffing and puffing and thought, "What am I doing?? I can't even run a mile without wanting to die, what makes me think I can handle a CrossFit workout?" And then I had a thought.

This is normal. 

It isn't supposed to be comfortable.

The shortness of breath. The tightness in my chest. It's normal. Sure, if I ran regularly it might not be quite as much of an issue but it's still an expected side effect. Running isn't comfortable. Exercise isn't comfortable.

As soon as I had that thought I decided to be ok with being uncomfortable. I turned up my music and ran until I got bored. I ran 4 miles. I can't tell you the last time I ran that far. I think it was 2009.

A few days later I was getting ready to release the first episode of my podcast and I had the thought that it wasn't too late to back out. I could just keep that one finished episode and my handful of drafts to myself and no one ever needed to hear them. I was uncomfortable imagining what people would think when they heard it, how I would explain it when I ran into old friends at the grocery store and they inevitably asked, "What have you been up to lately?"

And then I remembered:

This is normal. 

It isn't supposed to be comfortable.

New projects are fun but they also come with a certain amount of discomfort as you grow and stretch and learn. Putting yourself out there isn't comfortable. Letting people see vulnerable parts of you isn't comfortable.

I reminded myself that I am ok with being uncomfortable. I published the episode.

Over the past couple weeks I've noticed that life is not comfortable.

Talking to people I disagree with. Going to the lady doctor. Calling someone out on an inappropriate joke. Trying new foods. Sharing a deeply held belief. Driving in unfamiliar areas. These things make me wildly uncomfortable and that's normal. But I can choose to be ok with the discomfort, to do the thing anyway. Comfort zones are, well, comfortable. But good things happen outside them. Growing. Strengthening. Stretching. Learning. Expansion. Joy. Once I dropped the expectation of comfort I felt limitless.

Today at CrossFit my coach was teaching me a new skill involving a wonky hand grip. As I was trying to wiggle my fingers into position she said, "I know, it's not comfortable." I honestly almost laughed. I stretched my hands a little further and said, "That's ok!" and in my head I added,

I'm not here to be comfortable.


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  1. I was so nervous the first time I tried Crossfit that I started gagging on the banana I was eating to calm my nausea. Literally said out loud to myself: "You have never vomited from nervousness and you are NOT starting today." ....and showed up at the gym. So, so glad I pushed through that.

  2. Back in 2011 I put on what ended up being a really successful conference at BYU. 8 came up with the idea and moved it all the way to reality. But the very hardest part of the whole thing was telling people about my idea. It was even hard to tell Joel! I am a crazy confident person usually so it felt weird to be so self-conscious. I guess I was worried people would think it was a dumb idea. Anyway, point is, I totally relate and I’m glad you are stretching yourself (and that you are doing CrossFit).

  3. Ohhhh...this is fantastic and SO SO true. I hate being uncomfortable, which most of us probably do, but it's also necessary, often that emotional/inside uncomfortableness that leads to the good stuff eventually! But I also totally understand the running thing, we're in the Midwest and I don't run in the winter because of ice and snow and all that. So I ran yesterday for just the second time in 3 months and it was PAINFUL. I know it'll get easier as I get back into it but starting is sure uncomfortable!


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