Begin Anyhow: Living with Discomfort

Begin Anyhow: Learning to Live with Discomfort

Begin Anyhow: Learning to Live with Discomfort

Art credit: Lisa Congdon

Lately I’ve been having a lot of new ideas. Ideas for my business, ideas for redoing our backyard, ideas for new knitting projects, the list goes on. I’m great at ideas!  New ideas are fun and creative and give me a ton energy.

Something inevitably creeps up between the idea stage and the action stage: discomfort.

At its best, this gnawing feeling of discomfort can be mildly annoying, persisting in the background of daily life. It’s something you can choose to ignore, to push away.

Discomfort will also show itself in the form of self-doubt, fear, uncertainty.  Every decision is difficult. You start to feel unfocused, scattered, and overwhelmed.

At its worst, this discomfort can become terrifying and paralyzing. It will jump onto your back and cripple you with its weight.  It stops you from moving forward in your daily tasks with any ease.  Your mind is anxious, wrestling with the excitement of your idea and the uncertainty that wants to crush it.

I have felt this way before every major thing I’ve created or changed in my life. 

Two years ago I had the first inkling of wanting to start a podcast for creatives. I held the idea close to my heart for months, too afraid too even tell anyone about it.

Starting a podcast was an idea that I couldn’t shake; I thought about it all the time! The creative spark had been ignited, and I was having constantly having new thoughts and ideas for the podcast.  Looking back, I know that was my intuition trying to get my attention, to counteract the self-doubt that was starting to creep in.

You see, I was SO afraid of putting myself out there in a new way.  Discomfort would follow me around and assert its presence at inconvenient moments, reminding me of my insecurities.  The thought of sharing my ideas and opinions over live audio was scary!  I didn’t know where to begin or what steps to take.  I worried no one would listen.

These fears and uncertainties followed me for months until it just started to feel silly.  Eventually I knew that the discomfort of not knowing how it would go or what I would do wasn’t so bad compared to the idea of not trying at all.

I needed to feel the discomfort and begin anyway.

I took action and sought out supportive mentors, found tutorials for starting a podcast, and reached out to my first set of guests. Suddenly it didn’t feel so scary anymore!

Every uncertain step I took in the direction of my dream to start a podcast added momentum, and eventually I was running forward, too inspired to look back at what I was so afraid of!

I recently put out the Season 2 finale episode of my podcast, featuring an interview with artist Lisa Congdon. Getting to speak with such interesting and inspiring creatives has been such a joy; I can’t believe I almost let discomfort hold me back!

Don’t let fear or uncertainty stop you. Let it motivate you.

It’s good to pay attention to that feeling of uncertainty and fear. But it is in this moment that you have some thinking to do.  You can let it stop you, or you can feel it, work with it and let it propel you.

Somewhere along the way, this discomfort is something that I have learned to live with.  I started asking myself if the discomfort would be something I could live with if I never took the risk. I use discomfort as a tool to tap into my intuition, to ask myself: is the risk I am about to take worth it?  Would I regret not going for it?

Is there a time you pushed through discomfort to discover something great?  The more you do this, the easier it becomes. Share your wins below so we can celebrate with you!