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Being Uncomfortable Never Changes

“I see her standing there… I think I’ve seen her around, but now, I’m seeing her right there in front of me. She stands out with almost a glow to her. I can’t explain it, but I’m immediately drawn towards her. My heart’s racing because I know that if I don’t say anything to her at all, she may disappear and I’ll never see her again. I have to make a move, right? She’s not wearing a ring… that’s a good thing. Crap! She’s seen me. Ahhh, the jig is up! Okay, I need to get up and introduce myself. How do I greet her? Should I just walk right up and tell her I think she’s beautiful? Maybe. Wait… maybe I can just say I’ve seen her around, and I just want to introduce myself. Is that too casual? What’s my next move after that? Should I ask her out? Will I have this opportunity again? I really wish my heart would stop beating so damn fast… I think it’s about to jump out of my chest. Damn, I’m getting hot under these clothes now… Crap! She’s getting up to leave… what do I do?! Eff it! I’m going in!”

I’ve learned over the years that as much as I say I’m comfortable being uncomfortable, I am still almost always uncomfortable. That is, even after writing over 160 posts, working with executives from startups to multi-million/ billion dollar companies, or even talking to women, I can still feel uncomfortable about the next “opportunity”.

Case in point: I’ve written a lot over the years, and I have strong readership. I get great feedback and enthusiastic compliments about my writing as well as some challenges. However, when I finished writing the first version of my book back in November, I was incredibly uncomfortable and nervous about asking editors to read and provide feedback. I felt my writing still wasn’t good enough (probably isn’t now and probably will never be perfect). Given the book is about failure and I go into detail about our (my) missteps at Body Boss, I felt that much more vulnerable… exposed.

However, I know, too, that to be a better writer and to produce a book worth reading, I need the input from peers. I need them to be critical. I don’t need the pats on the back so much as I need to know what to improve on. That’s uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to grow.

Maya Angelou once said, “Each time I write a book, every time I face that yellow pad, the challenge is so great. I have written eleven books, but each time I think, ‘Uh oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.”

I’ve written a few blog posts and a single book, so if Ms. Angelou feels that way, at least I’m not alone.

Coming up on Thursday, I’m going to be a speaker at the second edition of FuckUp Nights at the Atlanta Tech Village. I’ve pitched countless number of times. I’ve spoken to entrepreneurs, friends, execs at the big corporates about failure. Heck, I just wrote a book! And yes, I’m a bit (read: very) nervous about it.

I’ve realized that I probably won’t be comfortable all the time about many things I do. However, I’ve also caught myself to realize why am I uncomfortable? Am I pushing myself to be better? Am I pushing myself to learn more? Am I pushing myself because I believe in what I’m doing? If I say yes to any of those questions, then being uncomfortable is a great thing to be. Over time, I've just learned to continue embracing opportunities... even if my heart feels like it’s about to jump out of my chest.

What are you doing now that makes you uncomfortable? How do you pursue more “uncomfortable” things? 

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