Transcript Episode 7: 5 Ways to Create Intentional Discomfort in Your Life and Business
Transcript Episode 7
Stephanie Skryzowski: Welcome to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast, the show for purpose-driven entrepreneurs who want to get inspired to step outside of your comfort zone, expand it to your purpose, and grow your business in a big way. I’m your host, Stephanie Skryzowski, a globetrotting CFO whose mission is to empower leaders to better understand their numbers, to grow their impact, and their income. Let’s dive in.
Hello, hello, everyone. I am so excited to talk to you today about how to create intentional discomfort in your life. Now, before you turn this off or move to the next episode, you may be thinking, “Well, why in the world would I want to make myself uncomfortable on purpose?” Well, I think you all probably know my story by now. If you haven’t, go back to Episode One and listened to my story all about where the name 100 Degrees even comes from. It comes from being pushed outside of my comfort zone and experiencing and seeing the impact on the other side.
So, I believe that when we push through the uncomfortable, the hard, the challenging in our life, that’s when we have a greater impact on ourselves, on our community, on the world. The impact is on the other side of discomfort. So, in order to get that impact, we sometimes need to create intentional discomfort because it’s really easy to get into our routine and to do what’s comfortable, and to just kind of hang out in the status quo. And sometimes that’s okay, but sometimes we could go further. We could push through that comfort zone, but there’s fear that’s holding us back. And sometimes we need to actually just make ourselves be a little bit uncomfortable. So, I have this quote by Seth Godin that I really liked that says, “If you’re seeking to create positive change in your community, it’s almost certain you’ll be creating discomfort as well.”
So, maybe that’s discomfort with other people because they are sitting in this status quo or maybe that’s discomfort within yourself. But if you’re seeking to create positive change in your community, you’re probably going to be creating discomfort as well. So, it is really only when we remove ourselves from our comfortable little bubbles that we discover things about ourselves, about our abilities, about who we are. And I shared my story in Episode One of this podcast, all about going to Kabul, Afghanistan for the first time and traveling to a number of different countries around the world that I had never been to before. I didn’t really feel like a particularly resilient person growing up. I didn’t feel like I needed grit to get through my everyday life. But that travel and going to those places where nothing was familiar, that really gave me that grit and that resilience.
But would I have known the extent of my resilience without being uncomfortable? No, I absolutely would not have. So, today, I want to share with you five ways that you can create intentional discomfort in your own life to help you push through that comfort zone and see the impact on the other side. So, I have five things for you today. Let’s dive right in. So, the first is travel. So, this episode is being recorded where we are still in the midst of COVID, in the global pandemic, so travel is not exactly on the table for a lot of us right now, but I have faith that the world is going to open up at some point again, and we will all be able to safely travel. So, travel is number one. That is how I have created intentional discomfort in my own life. I’ve spent a lot of time in countries that some people don’t even know where they are on a map.
Like, do you know where Malawi is? I have to honestly say that before I started working in these types of organizations, I did not know where Malawi is. Now I do. But it’s only when I step outside of my everyday comfortable suburban bubble here where I can look around and see nothing familiar to me, I gain a deeper understanding of different people, different cultures, different languages, and that is growth in its own right, for sure. And you don’t actually even have to travel 6,000 miles to push past your comfort zone if travel is just not on the table for you. Maybe it just means traveling to a new city to connect in person with somebody that maybe you’ve only connected online with before. You don’t have to go all the way around the world, but just getting out of your everyday routine is a great way to create intentional discomfort in your own life.
And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got a list about a mile long at this point of places I want to go when this pandemic is over. So, travel is the first way to create intentional discomfort in your own life because it exposes you to so many new things and nothing is familiar, and so that’s a way to be a little uncomfortable but see the impact on the other side. So, number two, the second way to create intentional discomfort is to take on stretch assignments or stretch projects. In the course of my career, which you may relate as well, I have been given opportunities to do work that I didn’t feel a hundred percent ready for, to take on positions, to do speaking engagements that I didn’t feel quite ready for. And if I was sitting in my comfort zone, I would have said no to those opportunities. I would have said, “Well, maybe later when I feel a little bit more ready. Maybe a couple years from now when I’ve had a little bit more experience.”
But you know what? Stepping into that fear, not paralyzing but almost paralyzing fear of getting on stage in front of a thousand people when I had not really done a whole lot of speaking before, to speak into a microphone and teach something to other leaders, that is terrifying, and that was so far outside of my comfort zone. But you know what that did? That opened my mind to a whole new world of possibility because if I can speak in front of a thousand people, I can speak in front of 2,000 or 5,000. I have a message to share. I can speak in front of a whole bunch of different audiences. I can share this message far and wide.
So, even though I didn’t feel ready for that, or a hundred percent comfortable, I did it anyway. And believe me, I was terrified and I doubted myself a lot, but I still did it, and the impact was on the other side. I can confidently say that if I had not stepped on that stage at that conference in, I think it was 2017 or 2018, I probably would not have had the courage to do some of the speaking that I’ve done since then, or even apply to do the speaking I’ve done since then. So, that stretch assignment, that stretch project really pushed me outside of my comfort zone.
So, if you’re thinking today that you’ve got something in your head that’s in the back of your mind, that you’ve been sort of putting off until you’re “ready,” do it anyway. I think we’ve all heard do it scared. Right? Do it anyway. You’re going to be scared and that’s okay because on the other side is impact. And what that impact is, I don’t know what that impact is for you. But for me, it was just a springboard to a whole new level of my career and a whole new level of what I really feel is my purpose to help empower other leaders understand their numbers. So, just encourage you to think about that today. That thing that you’ve been putting off because you don’t feel like you’re ready, that might just be the thing to give yourself some intentional discomfort. Okay. So, that was number two.
Number three is connecting with other people. So, if you know me in person, you know that I am an introvert through and through. Working from home is my greatest joy. If I could just hole up in my office for days, just working away, that sounds kind of lame honestly, but I would be perfectly happy. I don’t need to go into an office with a whole bunch of people. I am just thrilled working at home. The pandemic has been challenging in many ways, for sure, but the working from home piece certainly has not. I’m very content. However, I know that to keep my business alive and to really live in my purpose, which is to empower other leaders, I have to connect with other leaders. Right?
I have to talk to other people at some point, so I need to find clients. I need to socialize. I need to help people. I need to make connections outside of just my inner circle. And as an introvert, it can be sometimes kind of hard for me to just reach out cold to people that I don’t know because what if? Right? What if they say no? What if they just ignore me? What if they think I’m an idiot for reaching out to them? What if, what if, what if? It’s fear, right? But in order to start a business, I had to get over that fear because how in the world was I going to get clients if I didn’t reach out to people that I don’t know. So, I did it and some of the best, most life-changing connections that I have made and some of my closest friends, and colleagues, and employees, and clients, they have all happened because I’ve been very uncomfortable hitting send on that email. Like, click send, immediate pit in my stomach, shut the computer down because I am terrified of their response, like that type of discomfort.
I knew that in order to build a business, in order to grow the way I want to grow, I had to connect with people, and that’s the way I had to do it. So, intentional discomfort, impact on the other side. And guess what? Nobody was mean to me. Nobody said no. Most people responded. And again, the connections that I’ve made and the friendships, and the learning opportunities that I’ve had are just countless. So, that is another way to create some intentional discomfort in your life. Reach out to people you admire. Reach out to people that you can help. Reach out to people that you care about and ask to make that connection.
You hear me talk all the time about how important it is to know your numbers as a business owner, but you may be thinking, “Well, how in the world do I do that? Where do I even begin?” So, I have a free resource for you. The Profit Playbook is an amazing template that you spend about 15 minutes getting it all set up, and you can literally see into the future of your business. Revenue, expenses, cash flow, just like a crystal ball. It is a huge resource that will absolutely help you create a roadmap to reach your goals in your business. It is for free over at 100degreesconsulting.com/profit.
Number four is saying no and/or kind of going against the grain having difficult conversations. So, in the course of my business, which you may have too if you’re an entrepreneur, you may have said yes to things that maybe a little bit down the road, you realize, “Ooh, probably should not have said yes to that, probably should not have taken that client on. They’re just not a good fit. We don’t really have the same vibes. They don’t really share my values.” I’ve done that many times. And every time I do it, I think I’ve learned my lesson. I think I’ve learned, okay, I’m not going to take this type of client going forward. If my gut sends up a little red flag, I am going to listen to it, and I’m not going to take that client. I’ve learned this lesson the hard way, to be honest, over the past several years. I’ve continued to ignore my intuition, taken the clients anyway, and then it never ends well.
So, I have learned now that no amount of money is worth it for a client or a team member or a project that I am not a hundred percent all-in on. So, saying no, it’s very uncomfortable for me. I don’t know about you, but I want to do all the things. I really wanted to all the things. I want to help all the people. I want to be of service as much as possible, but sometimes you have to say no. And for somebody like me, that’s very uncomfortable. So, again, creating intentional discomfort by saying no very purposefully has led me to create space in my business, in my life, in my mind, in my heart for bigger and better things that are more aligned with myself and my values. So, that was number four. Saying no, having those difficult conversations, that is a way to create intentional discomfort where you will definitely see the impact on the other side.
And the last one, I promised you five ways to create intentional discomfort in your life, five ways, so the last one, number five, is to set bigger goals for yourself. I was in a mastermind a few years ago and we were thinking about the next five years. We sort of had a little side assignment. We were all there together, and the assignment was to really envision yourself, your life, your business five years from now. What does it look like? So, I was writing things down and I sat back after listening to everybody else kind of go through what they had said the next five years of their life in business looks like, and I looked down at mine, I’m like, “Sheesh, mine looks exactly the same as my life does right now. What’s wrong? Am I sitting in the status quo? Am I playing too small? Is this all I can do?”
And you don’t have to be a super driven, goal-oriented person always wanting more and more and more. But I realized, for me, I was playing it way too safe and I wasn’t creating any sort of stretch goal for myself. I was just assuming that things would just kind of chug along as they were, and wasn’t really aiming any higher. And I knew, for me, that was not really true to who I am. And so, I erased that whole thing, scratched it all out, and started over, and played much, much bigger, set much, much bigger goals to the point where it was a little uncomfortable. I was a little uncomfortable sharing what that five-year vision looked like because I was afraid. I was afraid that like, “Oh geez, what if I don’t even come close to this?”
But you know what? There’s no way that I would ever come close to it if I didn’t think about it, if I didn’t talk about it, if I didn’t write it down. I had to think bigger and be very uncomfortable with that thinking bigger in order to actually achieve those goals, in order to see the impact on the other side. Right? Are you sensing a theme? Every time we get outside of our comfort zone and we push past that feeling of discomfort, we push past that physical feeling, that pit in our stomach, the tightening in our chest, every time we push past that yucky feeling, there’s always something bigger, and brighter, and better, and more aligned with who we are and our values. There’s something better on the other side. There’s more impact. We are impacting our communities, our students, our clients, whatever it is in an even bigger way on the other side.
I will tell you, this is not easy for me, still. I still have difficult conversations that I have to have with my team or with clients, and I don’t want to have them. I don’t. And sometimes, I avoid them and I have the pit in my stomach until it happens, until I finally just force myself to do it. Or maybe my husband is like, “Oh my gosh, will you just have the conversation already?” Because he’s probably sick of hearing me talk about it. And then something better is always waiting on the other side. Just to reiterate what we talked about today. If you are ready to see that impact in your life in a bigger way, in a brighter way, in a better way, in a way that you just feel so aligned and in tune with your purpose and your values, you’re going to have to create some intentional discomfort because honestly, we’re comfortable. We kind of get into our routine and we’re comfortable, and it’s easy to get that away.
So, here are the five ways. I’m just going to summarize it again for you. So, first of all, travel. As soon as it is safe for all of us to travel again, that is one way to create some intentional discomfort, to put yourself in an unfamiliar place, with new people and new experiences. And it doesn’t have to be around the world to someplace totally exotic. It could be to a new city to meet somebody new. The second one is stretch assignments or stretch projects. Doing something in your business, in your work life that you don’t exactly feel ready for. There’s always going to be that saying, do it. I encourage you just do it. The third one is connections. Reaching out to people, even if you don’t know them, even if you’re scared that they’re not going to respond or they’re going to respond poorly, reaching out to people.
And I do not mean like sending salesy emails. Right? I mean, genuinely reaching out for a connection with people from a heart of purpose, and value, and service. The fourth one is saying no, and getting very comfortable with saying no to things that don’t align with your values, your purpose, even just your gut intuition. And the last one is setting bigger goals for yourself. We play small because it’s easy to play small. It’s comfortable to play small. But if you want to play bigger and really make a bigger impact on whoever it is that you’re serving, or maybe even it’s just making a bigger impact on your family and showing up in a new way for your family, you’re going to have to get a little bit uncomfortable.
There’s a lot of fear. There’s a lot to unpack here, but I really encourage you to think about just one way that you’re going to get uncomfortable, that you’re going to put yourself in a situation where you are a little bit uncomfortable in the next week or two. And send me a little note, send me a note on Instagram. I’m at Stephanie.S-K-R-Y. I would love to hear how you are going to get a little bit uncomfortable in the next couple of weeks and what that impact is on the other side.
So, thanks for hanging out with me today. I am so excited to hear from you and hear how you’re going to make yourself a little bit uncomfortable, and how you’re going to change the world with that. I’ll see you next time. Thanks for listening to the 100 Degrees of Entrepreneurship podcast. To access our show notes and bonus content, visit 100degreesconsulting.com/podcast. Make sure to snap a screenshot on your phone of this episode and tag me on Instagram, at Stephanie.S-K-R-Y @stephanie.skry, and I’ll be sure to share. Thanks for being here, friends, and I’ll see you next time.
Transcript Episode 7