Want to Change Your Life? Get Uncomfortable!
Uncomfortable. The word itself sounds bad. What’s worse? Actually being uncomfortable. I don’t know anyone who would say they like that.
When I talk about my life, people are always amazed at how I reversed metabolic syndrome, hormonal imbalances, and more, by changing what I put in my body. What they always ask me is what I would recommend they do. I always say: “Get uncomfortable.”
I changed my life through a series of uncomfortable situations, and maintaining an unwavering belief that I could change by using discomfort to propel me to the next step.
When you put yourself in an uncomfortable position, you are actually stretching yourself and preparing yourself to become better. Case in point: when I tried Bikram yoga for the first time, I was literally stretching myself and my own boundaries. Over time it gets easier, but at first, it was really not fun.
The first time I really became aware of this was about 8 years ago when I signed on with an entertainment agency to host karaoke in Atlanta, GA. Had I ever done anything like that before? Nope. I thought how hard can it be? Well, after setting up my equipment and meeting the manager at the bar, it was time to start.
I froze. Oh, did I freeze! The second I put that microphone in my hand, I just couldn’t speak. My hands got sweaty and trembled and had I been able to speak, my voice would have been shaky. I would have rather just stood there and played music all night or better yet, just pack up my stuff and leave.
Well, I pressed through that and opened my mouth. I don’t really remember what I said but I said something to encourage people to come try Karaoke. It wasn’t great. I am sure people clearly knew I was nervous, but what they didn’t see was the little seed inside of me starting to grow. I became stronger that day.
The next week, I went back and my voice shook a little less and I had a little more fun. After a few more weeks, I was getting better and better.
That humble beginning was how I got the courage to start my own entertainment company. After a while, I started wondering why the guy I worked for was getting paid more for the job when I was the person doing the work. One day, I decided that I was just going to do it myself.
Because I pushed myself past those moments of sheer panic and self-doubt, I was able to move to the next step in my journey and lose my fear of public speaking and speaking on a microphone. I had no idea how beneficial this was for me back then.
My entertainment business became a great success. I ended up hosting gameshows and trivia all around Atlanta. At one point I was booked almost every night of the week. I was also booked for private parties and proms! Through pushing myself, I opened another side to my personality and identity: someone who can freely speak to people without inhibition.
As I learned that being uncomfortable equaled growth, I began to view things that make me nervous and out of my comfort zone as ways to improve.
In late 2009, I bought a camera in order take better photos of my kids. It just so happened that a new friend of mine was a professional photographer. I asked her to show me what to do. We went out several times and I got lots of practice. It turned out– I was quite good at it.
One night she asked me to come with her to a concert. I really didn’t want to go, but again, get out of your comfort zone and see what happens, right? So, I went. At the show there was a lady who was going to be writing about a popular upcoming concert in Atlanta. To my surprise, she asked me to take photos of the concert. What? Me? Well, ok!
I went and photographed the band and had a magical time. Five months later, I launched an online magazine that showcased the best of the arts in Atlanta. It grew to become a monthly print magazine, eventually launching in several other cities as well.
Take a chance! Get uncomfortable and know this, you will grow!
My final example to you of this is July 2015. I had submitted my resume to environmental emergencies and I went through the necessary training to be on a call list as a rapid responder.
For the last four years, I had suffered from numerous physical ailments and weight gain. I had suffered two miscarriages, was diagnosed with benign fibrocystic breast disease, and was pre-diabetic.
I was hoping they would call me to go to California, but instead they called and asked if I would go to Iowa. I thought it was a joke. Iowa? Then I remembered that in order to grow, I must get out of my comfort zone and how much further could I get than a cornfield in Iowa.
The next thing I knew I was on a plane headed for Sioux City Iowa.
Over the next 27 days, I visited numerous farms that all suffered from the devastating bird flu epidemic, talked to countless USDA agents, and witnessed first-hand how GMO’s were grown and sprayed with chemicals. It became clear to me that the health issues from which I was suffering were all directly related to what I was putting in my body. For years, most of what I ate contained GMO’s, pesticides, herbicides, and more.
That was it. I was done. I had seen the light and I was not going to allow myself to be poisoned anymore.
By getting out of my comfort zone and traveling 1,000 miles to a cornfield, I found ultimate freedom. By making taking advantage of an opportunity that seemed to promise little benefit to me, I healed myself from numerous chronic issues and lost 80 pounds in a year. So, what are you waiting for? Grab that microphone or camera! Go to a cornfield…. whatever your uncomfortable is, do it. Face it. Get uncomfortable and change your life!
Photos: Heidi Sandstrom + author’s own