Becoming comfortable at being uncomfortable

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Can you imagine going to the gym first thing in the morning, doing a full workout, then spending the day in work? Nah me neither. I’ve tried it, and it didn’t last longer than one or two attempts.

But there is something in going to the gym several times a week, and the impact it could have on your work, and even your career, as a whole.

Push yourself to your limits

When I say go to the gym several times a week, these ‘several times’ each need to be sessions where you are seriously out of breath for at least some part of your workout. One of my top three pet hates (ask me about my other two) is people who go to the gym and just sit there yapping, yet will no doubt post something on social media about ‘smashing the gym’. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be the gym; maybe you enjoy exercise outside?

The key thing here is that you need to push yourself to your limits when all you want to do is stop, but you manage to get through it.

I once read in an article by Brad Stulberg that to become a successful athlete you need to ‘become comfortable with being uncomfortable’, and you could argue that to be successful at the difficult, yet most rewarding things, this same mantra can be applied.

I’ve run a few Manchester 10K runs in consecutive years, and when I first started training for them I’d never done long distance, I was always a sprinter. But my mate was an experienced long-distance runner. I started running with him, and whenever I felt like stopping (which was often at first), he would be screaming to keep going.

Eventually, when I reached the edge of what I thought was physically possible, I kept on going, and it actually became so much easier when I’d passed through it. It was all about embracing the pain and almost enjoying it, and still is.

This can be applied to so many aspects of your work life, even everyday life.

Got to make a call you’re dreading? Do it at the earliest opportunity. If anything, always offer to make the awful calls. Do enough of them, and they won’t even bother you, leaving your colleagues in awe of your superhuman ability to not be phased by them.

Got to do a presentation? Always offer to go first if there’s a few people/groups doing them. Trust me, you’ll feel amazing once you’re done and can then sit back and watch the rest. Do this every time, and eventually having to go first won’t matter.

Repetition is the key when learning a new task, but repetition of pushing yourself to your limits will essentially make you bullet proof, both physically and mentally.

Apply these principles in your hunt for a new role/career, and the possibilities are endless.

You just need to get started.

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