Photo credit: Kristopher allison,

“I’m going to ask you to get uncomfortable.”

These are the words that the trainer repeated at a recent exercise class that I attended. How counterintuitive is this in our current society? We live in a time when many strive to increase pleasure and reduce pain. It’s normal to go to great lengths to find a shortcut or take the easy way out.

Yet, here I was in a room being asked to get uncomfortable.  

Here are some other phrases I noted throughout the workout:   

It’s going to be hard.

Push through.

You are only here for an hour – make it count.

As an exercise class participant, I understand this when I walk in the studio. After all, I (and thousands of other people) show up and pay for these classes on a daily basis because we know that the only way to transform our bodies is to push to our limits. We’re willing to do the hard things because we can see the physical transformation.   

What if we applied this concept more broadly in our lives? What if we relished in discomfort, knowing that it’s only in that space that we make progress? We hear great leaders and entrepreneurs say that they’ve learned their greatest lessons through failure and discomfort. If you’re like me and have a love-hate relationship with perfectionism, how can we practice stepping into discomfort — and potentially, even failure?

Here is a starting point based on how I made it through the workout:

  • Deep breaths.
  • Visualization.
  • Pushed through to failure on some exercises.
  • Kept reading the quote in front of my treadmill: Work hard and be proud.

I allowed myself to get uncomfortable outside of the exercise studio this week as well. A peer asked me to take the lead on portions of a project that I’ve never done before. Typically, I would have found a way out or offered to do the portions that I have mastered. This time, I told her “this makes me very uncomfortable, and that’s why I want to do it.”

We make our greatest leaps by getting uncomfortable and pushing through when things are challenging. Those of us in this amazing coach community do this every day with our clients. I ask my clients questions no one has ever asked them before. I help them push through by uncovering the next actions to take. Above all, I create a safe space for my clients to get uncomfortable.

What are you willing to gain by pushing through the discomfort? Reach out to me or another coach in this community today. We’re ready to help get you into action!