top of page
  • Writer's pictureSusan Voyles

Being comfortable with the uncomfortable

A great person once said that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself. It seems obvious as words on paper but the complexities of facing our own fears, and that which makes us uncomfortable, is a unique challenge for each of us.

Perhaps it’s deciding on a new career path, or finally making the move to a new city. Maybe it’s about buying a home or even just starting a new project around our house. It could be a request to lead a committee or speak at a large event. Maybe someone has asked you to make a video or go on camera.

There are as many ways to confront our fears, as there are fears itself. There are many ways to deal with them as well, whether we are able to confront them or not. Really deciding what to do in the face of the uncomfortable, the unusual or the difficult is all about your ability to release yourself from the grip of fear and try something new.

Let me explain a bit. For me going on camera is a very uncomfortable idea. It’s not that I am afraid – I have been in front of and behind the camera for many years. Here’s the but – like many I am uncomfortable, uncomfortable with how I look, how I sound and how I come across in general.

Although I’m an extrovert the idea of recording a video for use on social media, for example, may not bring about fear but it challenges my comfort level. In doing so, unknowingly it creeps up to a kind of fear level. I know I can do it, I’m just uncomfortable.

Having said all that, I am in a unique position to help others who need to face their fears and anxieties. No, I’m not a psychologist. I’m a life coach. That simply means I have been trained and spent decades on a career path that allows me to help others “study” their own lives and then coach them through it, over it, beyond it and forward.

Simply put, a life coach can help in many different ways. Do you want to why you feel stuck? What’s driving the issues that challenge you? How do you see  yourself changing and growing either in your career or even just your personal life?

Here’s what I mean. Let’s return to fear and discomfort in our day to day world.

Get out of your comfort zone

One way a coach can help you face the discomfort certain things may cause you is to simply allow you to give voice to the issues. Talking about something allows you to confront the issue, and develop some solutions.

But talking only goes so far. It’s important to get out of your comfort zone, even if just in some small ways. For example, my husband is highly uncomfortable in a small group setting with 20 or fewer people, especially if he doesn’t know anyone. His answer? He’s developed some tactics that might help him, first by talking about it and then trying to see if he can actually find a way to face it head on.

Without going too much into it. One thing my husband does is focus on being the first one in a room. That allows him to meet people as they arrive and feel he has a handle on who he’s meeting, and doing it on a one-on-one basis.

As for me and my discomfort in front of a camera, when I talk it through with myself and others I focus on the whys and with that information I can concentrate on what needs to be done to ease the tension, whether it’s the setting, knowing my material inside and out, or preparing how I might look well in advance.

Try something new, or different

I know I may sound a little like a counselor when I write these things but think of it this way – helping others learn behaviors and change behaviors are what coaches do well, whether you’re a business coach, a life coach or a high school football coach.

That of course means we need to focus on trying something new, something you might not want to do, or didn’t think you could. Again, this can be done in a small way. I recently worked with a web producer to record a series of 30-second videos. The prep for it included writing scripts and figuring out where to film them in my office – but when we sat down to get it done it only took about 15 minutes. Is that enough time to be uncomfortable? Perhaps.

Now being on camera wasn’t new for me, but the style and approach to the project was. So I treated it as trying something new. I was well prepared and generally it went well. But even for me, sometimes the discomfort comes after – the results might be “okay” but I know I can improve. This made me still a bit uncomfortable but it won’t prevent me from trying again, and again.

Another brief story. My husband hates heights in certain situations – especially in skyscrapers and large bridges. Despite that he has forced himself to do something he knew would be very hard, but that he had also dreamed about. He went skydiving four times one summer. Is his fear gone? Of course not. But he’s faced the discomfort.

Go beyond dreaming to doing

Finally, I think you’ll see facing our fears means “doing.” To help you get there a life coach can assist in turning the focus on yourself, what it is you struggle with, what you would really like to enjoy, how you might improve your career or enhance your personal life.

We can only dream about something for so long. If it’s really a dream then the question must be asked: are you serious about it? Then it comes down to your answer. If you are, then it’s time to develop a way “to do,” a way that faces your discomfort and challenges you to go beyond just thinking about something and doing something about it.

I challenge you to face this idea: it’s okay to talk with others, especially someone like a life coach. They have been there, too.




20 views0 comments


bottom of page