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Embracing Being Uncomfortable is the Key to Personal and Professional Growth

Updated: 4 days ago

I published this piece on LinkedIn in 2018. I have edited and republished it here because I find it is still relevant today.

In 2018, I chose "discomfort" and his sister "uncomfortable" as my theme/challenge for the New Year. I decided to put myself in situations that made me uncomfortable because I realized I was becoming too comfortable in my little world and my little space.

It wasn't always like this. I'm no social butterfly (many might disagree), but I try to be social, or at least I used to. I used to attend networking events, volunteer for social causes, and participate in social gatherings where I mingled and made new acquaintances and even a few friends. I used to do this after I first moved from Washington, D.C. to Georgia. And then things changed.

I became a mother. At first, I was still engaged with life outside of work and motherhood, but, as time passed, it became increasingly convenient for me to focus on working and raising a feisty little girl who thrilled the heck out of me. However, the more I focused on being a work-at-home mom, the more I became a "stay-at-home mom". I was no longer attending writing workshops and business networking events. I was no longer meeting strangers for coffee and having my brain picked by those interested in starting their own editing businesses. This caused me to draw further and further away from people and collaborative efforts, and business began to lose its luster.

Many people assume that working from home or running your own business means that you get some joy out of being reclusive, but that is far from it. We still need to be around like-minded people who fuel our desire to rise above the challenges we face. At least, I do. With every networking event or meeting someone for coffee, I've returned to my laptop rejuvenated and determined to win some more.

Until as recently as the end of last year, I was not even aware of how deeply I had recoiled from society. The realization shook me to my core, and I began to think of ways to undo the damage. I knew some uncomfortable work was required to navigate what was once familiar. Doing uncomfortable work is a skill that requires constant pursuit and effort. I knew I would have to re-train myself to be comfortable in awkward situations.

So, I got to work! I went to a new church with my then almost 3-year-old daughter while my husband stayed home with the baby. (Oh, yes, now I have two daughters). I also signed up for, and attended, a writer's meeting that April. Then, I scoured Meetups for business groups to belong to, and considered rejoining the ones I used to belong to. In short, I resolved to embrace discomfort in 2018 and came to terms with the fact that to rise again, I would most certainly have to be okay with being uncomfortable. Pray for me!

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