Today marks a big day for me. I made it back to the gym for the first time since October. Oh, I had a lot of reasons to avoid it. In fact, I had considered sending myself a bill because coming up with reasons not to go could have been a full-time career. In the beginning, I wasn’t supposed to. Then I was just too busy. Then it didn’t feel right. In the end, it came down to one singular thing; I was uncomfortable going back.
As I’ve written before, I stopped doing the things I knew I should, and I was uncomfortable putting that on display in front of people who were fit and healthy. I let my discomfort hold me back to the detriment of my health and my waistline. Today, when I walked into the gym for the first time in nearly five months, I felt the discomfort and went anyway and realized something really important; the successful people in that gym had gotten comfortable being uncomfortable.
Sure, I’ve heard of runners high and other nonsense people tell us to try and get us to exercise, but for my money, no one likes being sweaty and running or lifting heavy things. It is by nature, uncomfortable, but it’s the discomfort that leads to results. The people who are seeing the best results are the ones who have gotten the most comfortable being uncomfortable.
One of the wises quotes I’ve ever learned was from The Common Denominator of Success by Albert E.N. Gray which states that “successful people have developed the habits of doing the things unsuccessful people don’t like to do.” That’s pretty obvious, but the second part of the quote that says that successful people don’t like to do those things either, but do them anyway is where the gold lies. Said in other words, successful people aren’t always comfortable either, they just do it anyway and they do it enough until they get comfortable.
There’s a big lesson to be gleaned in this. We often think that people who are great at difficult conversations, or who can inspire a room with their words, or who are able to persuade people to accomplish what needs to be done must be really comfortable in those moments. Most of the time, they’re not. They aren’t any more comfortable in those uncomfortable moments than the rest of us, they just don’t allow their discomfort to keep them having the conversation, standing and or making themselves heard. They do it regardless of how it feels until they become comfortable doing it and they’ve grown into becoming the leaders the rest of us are envious of.
I let my discomfort keep me from the gym for five months and the results aren’t good. If you’re avoiding uncomfortable conversations, tasks or moments in your life, just remember, successful people aren’t always comfortable either, they just do it anyway, and that’s what makes them great.