There are places and times in our lives where it pays us to create comfort and discomfort. Not necessarily at the same time, though I don’t rule that out. It’s the juxtaposition that’s telling.
In order to do my best work of any description, I need to be comfortable. Physically comfortable. I work at home so my home must feel supportive to me in every way. Emotionally and spiritually I want it to be nurturing and a sanctuary, a place of safety. With all mod cons!
Practically I want my office to be warm and yet have fresh air. I want the desk and the chair to be just so, just so I don’t have to think about either of them because they provide space and support.
I want the tools of my trade about me and, these days, they are few. Wifi. A notebook and pen. A laptop. Skype. There are other things I need within easy reach. The kitchen. A cup of coffee. A glass of water. Tissues. Moisturiser. Lip balm. My printer (but weaning myself off that one). A telephone headset for the very rare occasion when someone uses the phone to call me instead of Skype, as I need to be hands-free when coaching. I could easily manage without that too.
I don’t really want any extraneous noises or distractions of any sort so, when coaching, everything else is turned off, so my focus can be 100% on you.
I am sure I have other needs for my comfort, air-con when working abroad for instance. But mostly I can ordain my working circumstances to be just how I like them, and fairly easily too.
Discomfort, then, is more interesting and perhaps the more challenging?
I am put in mind of this particular word today because yesterday I remembered, when talking to my client, Andrea, that it was she who said on the occasion of returning to her “home” the last time, that she didn’t want to get too comfortable there.
Comfort can keep us stuck. It makes it too cosy to be bothered with doing any of the stretchy things that the adventurous part of us yearns for. It can so easily mean that we put off all our hopes and dreams indefinitely, and all too soon that becomes forever.
Stay in discomfort, stay on the move. And that’s precisely what Andrea wanted to do and has now done. She’s learning to be comfortable with discomfort. It’s her new comfort. Sometimes it’s harder, but less and less so. How wonderful to be able to say (and live) that.
Coaches will tell you that everything worth having happens outside of your comfort zone. Yawn! Cheesy! But cliches are almost always true. Something you have to stretch for might be more rewarding. You also might fail and almost every internal and external voice wants to keep you safe and stop you from trying. But be brave, my loves.
Look at Teddy in that pic! He’s outside, alone, in the rain. Ooh, I bet that’s uncomfortable. But just think of how quickly that’ll be assuaged by a hot bath, a hairdryer, and a hot chocolate. And that tells you all you need to know about my comforts – they are all hot ones!
But many of my clients and colleagues and Facebook friends revel in the things that make me uncomfortable, and vice versa. One woman’s comfort is another’s discomfort and vive la difference, I say. I love how we are all different. Only today I swapped messages with someone saying she loved a tent and a campfire, which is my idea of H.E.L.L. No, perhaps I exaggerate for effect, but I definitely know my one-season perpetual summer would be hell for the majority of folks. There we go, back to my heat again, and as I wrote that the boiler turned itself on. Lovely.
Now, only you know where you are hiding in comfort. And where a nice bit of stretchy discomfort would shake you up in a good way and eventually become your new happy place. Where would you rather be, and what are you prepared to go through to get there, I wonder?
When it comes to Teddy’s rainy dilemma, it was Billy Connolly who said there’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothes. And like any good quote it is attributed to many more besides so presumably he was paraphrasing another great. Teddy’s in the wrong clothes. What’s your equivalent?
I believe I can create comfort wherever I go as my needs are simple and few. Discomfort and whatever I am uncomfortable about will travel with me, so I’ll need to get my act together wherever I am. Much easier to hide at home, as Andrea recognised.
And, just like self-employment, travel – so broadening of the mind – accentuates anything we are already uncomfortable about.
Andrea’s travelling. I’m about to. What’s your 2017 stretch?