How to achieve any goal
Oftentimes the reason we aren’t taking action is because we’re worried about what could go wrong and how we will feel when it does. But if we accept that life is a 50/50 split of comfortable and uncomfortable emotions - no matter if we stay where we are or go for the goal - then it starts to shift the way we perceive doing new things. In order to achieve any goal we have to welcome the uncomfortable feelings that come with doing something new. And if you want to learn how to do this then have a listen.
In this episode I discuss:
- How to see failure in a way that supports you to take action instead of scaring you into inaction.
- My own experience launching a podcast and building a business and what it’s taught me about mistakes and commitment.
- What we have to accept about creating new things.
- An exercise to help you evaluate the career ideas you have and what will be required to go after them.
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Welcome to the career studio podcast, where we boil down the noise and focus on the core concepts, essential for building an energizing career you love. One that is simply an extension of who you are and how you wanna live your life. Anyone can do it. It's just a matter of knowing what to focus on.
Hi guys. I'm in a whole process of recording a lot of podcast episodes back to back, and really in the zone of recording and perfecting how I deliver these. So yeah, in the groove a bit. And it's gorgeous in New York and it really finally feels like the city is back. Last summer was, you know, it was kind of a normal summer, but this year it really feels like the city is pumping, and I am going on a five borough bike tour on Sunday, the first time I've ever done it on a fixie. So we'll see how that goes over the bridges, but I'm really looking forward to it.
So, yes, today I wanted to talk about embracing discomfort and how to use that to achieve any goal. And yeah, I'm really excited to dive into this and talk about it today. I think it's a concept that when my clients really embrace it and understand it, it changes what they see as possible.
So I think it's pretty pivotal concept. And, let's dive in. So usually the reason we do or don't do anything is because of how we think it'll make us feel. Okay. And so when we are afraid to feel certain emotions, it means that there's going to be activities that we avoid, right? So it might go like, I don't wanna do something because maybe I'm gonna feel embarrassed or disappointed or ashamed, right?
If I mess up or if I hear someone tells me no, or if things don't go as planned, I might feel those emotions. And those are emotions that are super uncomfortable. And so therefore, I don't wanna do the thing. And this is often a place where I find my clients, they're focused on everything negative that could happen in the future, and using that to be the reason that they're not taking action.
And so in these moments, I like to remind them that often we forget to consider the discomfort that exists in our current space, and that actually, if you think about it, the price of your comfort zone, yes, it's comfortable because you know what's happening and you've done it before and it's familiar, but there's also this discomfort of longing, right?
Of wondering what if. Of putting your dreams on the back shelf, right, of putting up with what isn't working, that's kind of making you think about something else. And I say, you know, you really want to pay attention to what you daydream about, what you long for, what keeps calling you. This is a signal, right?
Where is your energy continuing to be pulled back to? This is the language of alignment. This is, you know, to get a bit spiritual, this is our soul speaking. Okay. But the thing that we have to fight against or navigate is that our brains are designed to conserve energy, right? And recycling patterns of thought takes less energy, right? It's a well worn neurological pathway. They've fired together, they've wired together, and this takes literally less caloric energy to think than to do something new. That's why learning feels harder than doing something you've done a million times. And so this is why the brain prefers what it knows than what it doesn't.
So it's important to recognize that default switch that your brain will go to, which is stay where you are. So that's the default, and in that moment, it's important to consider that both options, staying where you are or going after the thing, whatever it is, is going to have a mix of positive and negative or uncomfortable emotions.
Right. The big concept here in this episode is that life is always a 50 50 of comfortable and uncomfortable emotions, right? So there's on one hand staying where you are. You have the familiarity of what you know. Even if what you know isn't comfortable, there is a comfort in knowing it, right? There's a comfort as well in just the repetition and the ease, and which you can do it even if you don't always like it?
Because it, it takes less caloric energy and you know it, you know what to expect, but there's the discomfort of not going after the things you want. Of putting up with the things that don't feel good. That's the 50 50 of where you are, and then you can compare that to the 50 50 of going after something new.
So in this case, if you're going to go after a dream or explore something or do something you've never done before, you are going to have the discomfort of ambiguity. You're gonna have to put yourself in new situations. You're going to have to learn, you're going to have to likely make mistakes and adjust and keep doing that again and again until you figure it out and achieved whatever it is you're trying to do, right?
And, and that will require sitting in confusion, ambiguity, not knowing the answer, uh, failing, maybe feeling embarrassed, maybe feeling disappointed, et cetera. However, so that's the uncomfortable emotions, right? But that is then combined with the excitement of going after your dreams, right? Of doing the damn thing, of actually saying, this is what I want and I'm gonna go out there and get it.
And so the way I like to think about it is that uncomfortable feelings are the admission ticket to the things that you want in your life. They are the price you have to pay to achieve the boldest, baddest version of your life. And you know, not to get too cheesy, but I really wanna offer that this is when you start to feel fully alive as a human because you are signing up for the full human experience of both comfortable and uncomfortable feelings, right?
You're intentionally signing up for it. You're saying, yes, I'm here for it. And why it's so motivating is because it's in service of the thing that you really want, rather than in service of just staying where you are, right? Either way, you're gonna have this combination of comfort and discomfort. It might as well be in service of like something awesome. You know, that's my perspective. Like go for the awesome thing because either way, you're gonna have this 50 50, so you might as well throw your hat over the wall, as one of my mentors once said.
Okay, so that means if we're going to go after our dreams, if we're going to try and create something new and cool and awesome, then we are going to have to embrace the uncomfortable feelings that are part of that process.
Really, this is about creation. Rather than staying with the status quo to create something new, which is really why I think where humans get their energy is through creation, you know, in, in all forms. That is really fulfilling when humans create something, right? Think about on the most basic, fundamental terms, creating another human being.
Right. So I, I, I really believe that's, that's what we are put here to do is to create in some capacity. And creation is making something new. And inevitably when you make something new, you're doing something you've never done before. It is inherently new. And when you do something you've never done before, you are not going to know how to do it. And when you don't know how to do something, that means there's going to be all these moments. Of uncomfortable emotions that come with the process of creating something new.
So, if we are intentional about what we choose to feel and the feelings we are allowing, this makes the process of creation, of going after something new easier. Because we're saying, come on in, I'm here for it. It isn't like we're kicking and screaming and don't wanna feel something that's gonna make it harder. But if we're saying, I'm here for the full spectrum of the human experience, that makes the process of creating something new easier than resisting the inevitable 50-50. So I'll give you an example, a couple examples actually, about how, um, how this has applied to my life and, and how I see this playing out.
So, for example, with this podcast, you know, I, I knew it always wouldn't be smooth sailing, right? I was gonna have to figure out how to create content, and that's something I've talked a lot about on this podcast if you're a regular listener, how that's been not always really straightforward for me and I kind of struggled with doing it in a way that feels authentic. It doesn't take loads of my time. That where I can come across naturally, where you can hear my personality and I can still get across the points that I want in a compelling way. So yeah, I knew I was gonna have to figure out how to create content that was A easy and authentic and for me to create and compelling for my audience.
I was gonna have to learn how to work with a producer and kind of the technicalities in the backend of running a podcast. I was gonna have to figure out how to grow my audience right, and reach more people. These are things that I'd never done before, and so I knew inevitably I would make mistakes. I would fail.
Okay. But I don't mean fail in a way where I stop and I give up, but I would try something and it wouldn't work. Right. This is the process of learning, attempting something, then realizing where you didn't quite hit the mark, analyzing why and trying again, and doing this process again and again and again until you figured it out, right?
Think about any athlete. Think about studying for a test. So like, think about the flashcards, right? You go through the flashcards until you have them memorized, but the first time you go through, you don't have them memorized. So you could say you're failing each one of those times, right? That's, that's basically what failing is.
It's just trying, not achieving it and then trying it again. There's such a stigma attached to the word failing, and so I don't really like to use it. I like to say attempting or making a mistake. There's just so much judgment and shame imbued in that word. But you, you don't have to see that as shameful.
Right. It's just, as I said, it's a necessary part of the learning process of the growth process. You know, and as you're thinking about your goal, What you wanna do, you have to ask yourself why. So for me, with the podcast, I knew that this was part of my long held dream of having a podcast that supported people to create energizing careers they love.
I know I like to talk. It's more fun for me than writing, right? So this always felt like the right media for me. And so, you know, this dream ,this ambition that was exciting and validating and motivating, right? So, this is part of the positive emotions that I knew I would get from the process. I knew I would learn a lot?
And I knew I would get to go after a dream I'd had, I knew I would get to have the kind of impact I wanted. I knew that I was relatively well suited to this as a media form. So this was positive. In the same breath I knew I would have to feel confused as I figured stuff out. I figured out how to create content, how to write my ideas and express them in a compelling way.
I knew I'd have to feel disappointment if I produced episodes that didn't come out the way I wanted or didn't get the reaction I was hoping for. I knew I would have to feel vulnerable. Asking people to be guests On my podcast, people could say yes, people could say no or never respond, and that's happened. Right at the moment I'm figuring out how I can get more people onto my podcast who have created the types of careers and lives that I help people to create and have a great list of people that I'm excited to work with this year. But there's been some people that I really want to come on the podcasts who haven't responded. Who've just like blanked me.
So, you know, that's, that's been vulnerable, but that's what I signed up for and I knew that going through this process of figuring stuff out and iterating and improving and, and feeling disappointed, and feeling excited, and learning how to be creative on a regular basis in this format, this would grow me as a person, right.
I knew I would be a different person. When I reach my goals around the podcast, so I'm, I'm still working towards my original goals, but I am definitely a different person than I was nine months ago when I started this podcast. I've grown into someone who records two podcasts a month and is proud of what she puts out.
So basically what I've done here is first, I believed it was possible for me to have a successful podcast even if I didn't know how, and I believed I was excited about it. I focused on the things that motivated me and how I would feel as someone who has a podcast. And then next, I committed to the full experience of highs and lows that come with creation.
And I committed to staying the course even when things got bumpy, right? Even when things didn't go as planned. I saw that as part of the process, and I committed to getting creative and figuring it out, in service of the goal that I was excited about. It's a very similar experience on a kind of a larger scale with the coaching business that I have.
Six years ago, I decided I wanted to become a coach. I fell in love with the process of coaching. I knew that it was right for me and I really dreamed of every day waking up and just getting to coach people all day. That felt so fun, felt so natural. I was like, that would be so cool to just make my money coaching people every day where I just wake up and I have six people to have conversations with that have felt so much more energizing to me than all of the marketing work I was doing at the time. And I had no idea how to get there. I didn't know what it would look like. I didn't know I would have my own business.
All I knew is that that felt warm and exciting. And then I believed it was possible for me, even though I didn't know how I was gonna get there. And then I committed myself to figuring it out. I open myself up to feeling all the feelings that come from the messy process of creation. The good feelings and the bad feelings or the uncomfortable feelings.
And I think this is an important nuance. I was actually talking to a client about this today. We don't always know exactly how it's gonna look. With the podcast, I, you know, that's pretty cut and dry. But with the business, with coaching business and with kind of career transitions in general, often we don't know exactly how it's gonna look. And this makes people feel uncomfortable.
People are uncomfortable with ambiguity, and this is one of the uncomfortable emotions we have to allow for if we're going to achieve our goals, is ambiguity. And what you want to anchor yourself on is, The energy you get from whatever idea it is, the excitement you get, the curiosity, the interest, the feeling of fun, the feeling of lightness, whatever the warmth, you know, whatever it is for you around an idea.
And it might just be a sketch of an idea or a sector or you know it, it won't be fully formed because the only way it's gonna be fully formed with all of the details filled in is for you to take all of the steps. It's never gonna be fully formed at the beginning. So, when you're going after a new goal, you want to pay attention to what feels energizing and, and you don't need to necessarily understand why.
You don't need to know all the details, but you wanna follow what feels energizing and hold the ambiguity, be okay with the ambiguity, the discomfort of kind of confusion of what all the details look like, I'm not sure yet. Hold that at the same time as you hold the excitement around the nascent idea.
So this is what I did around coaching. I started making steps one step at a time, learning from it, going towards what felt right in the moment, learning, and then once I had enough clarity to take another step, taking another step. And then in that another step sketching out what came next, right? And, and learning and failing along the way. And following the whole time, what felt the most exciting and interesting and fun.
And now I am the person who has created a successful coaching business completely on my own terms. I am able to support myself as a single person in New York City on ideas that I've developed myself. I mean, it's one of the most energizing and empowering realizations. Is to have, you know, not that that you need to create a business on your own terms, but really, if you're an entrepreneur, if, if you're considering kind of going into coaching, I, I have a bunch of clients in that space, it's really motivating and that's changed me as a person, right? Having an idea, not knowing how it's gonna come together, but figuring it out over six years and embracing all of the excitement and discomfort. That comes with that process, right?
It really makes me feel alive, like I said at the beginning, because I'm going after the boldest, most awesome version of my life that I can think of, and I'm saying the price of that is being willing to feel anything, right? The price is every day, I have to feel uncomfortable, or I'm gonna feel a mix of comfort and discomfort, but at least it's on my own terms.
It's in service of what I want, exactly what I want. Like maybe just a sidebar. I'll give you some examples of how I failed along the way in terms of creating this coaching business. You know, when I started, I wasn't nearly as effective as I am now. Many of my early clients, I mean the results paled in comparison to the clients I have now.
And I remember a couple years in, I took a, one training program that kind of kickstarted my coaching career and that was great and it helped me in many ways. But after a while, coaching people with that certificate, I just, I was realizing I wasn't getting people results in some areas. There were certain problems people were bringing to me that I struggled to manage.
And so I got another certification that I thought could, would help me and, and that has really transformed my business. And so I give that example just to show you that I started with something, it was the best decision at the time, and then after a few years I realized, you know, it's not working as well as I thought it would, and I had to get a new certification in a different capacity that helped me round me out, let's say as a coach.
That's an example of quote unquote failing or kind of making a mistake or reaching a roadblock and having to figure out how to fix it. You know, more tactically, I've had ideas for webinars. I've promoted them, and then, you know, two people attended. I've written social posts and like zero people liked them.
Right? I've given talks that I didn't think were very compelling, right? Or I got feedback that they weren't as good as they could have been. So all of that, but I had to have those experiences which were uncomfortable in order to iterate and improve. Then I stayed committed to creating a successful coaching business, which helped me navigate the moments of transition, the roadblocks, and I just opened myself up to saying, this is the price of going after my goal.
And I know, I think this is also an important point that I haven't really mentioned. All these uncomfortable feelings will be temporary, right? They're gonna teach me something. I'm gonna have to grow because of it, and I'm gonna be a different person on the other side, right? This is what it's about. This is what life is.
Going for your dreams, putting yourself out there, embracing the discomfort that comes with that, and not making that mean anything about you or your capacity to get what you want, but rather just seeing it as a necessary part of getting where you want to go. Seeing it as a part of the contract of being a human being on this planet. And realizing that when you intentionally embrace the discomfort that comes with growth and do it on your terms, that actually the worst thing that can happen is a feeling.
That's the worst that can happen…. Is a feeling, right? So three people attended my webinar. Okay, that's, that's neutral. If I'm disappointed or upset or embarrassed or ashamed, that's what causes the discomfort, not that three people attended, just my interpretation of that situation that causes me to feel uncomfortable.
That's the worst thing that can happen. You don't die from a feeling. You're just gonna feel uncomfortable, and if you're willing to allow the feeling and fully experience it, then it's gonna move out of your body. This is what I mean by the feelings. They don't last a long time. You move them out of your body.
And if this is a concept that's not really taught to us, and I did a whole episode on how to feel your feelings, the episode called: Feelings, you're overlooked superpower. So go definitely check that out if you are not that comfortable or familiar with the term, processing your feelings and moving your feelings out of your body.
Because if you know how to process your feelings, feelings have a very short lifespan. You know, even something that's very uncomfortable, like shame, shame is not gonna hang around that long if you know how to process it. Okay? And then you know as well how to choose intentionally a different belief around the same circumstance.
Again, you can go back and listen to the episode around mindset, an early episode. All this being said, you can of course, choose to stay where you are, right, and not go after the goals you have or the ideas you're considering. Of course, that's fine, right? There's no right or wrong answer. Of course, I'm championing to go after your dreams.
I mean, I'm a coach and, and that's what I do, but equally, it's totally neutral. It's totally cool to just stay where you are, but then you wanna embrace the full experience of that decision. Make that an intentional decision. And that's often actually, you know, something I do with my clients. We're exploring a lot of career ideas, not because we're saying I'm here to absolutely make a big change in my career, but it's just about exploring everything intentionally so that after you have all of that information, you can then make a decision. Do I wanna go after this?
Now that I've learned about these ideas, I have, are they actually, does that 50 50 sound better than the 50 50 of where I am now? Not always. Right, and I've had many clients who just kind of restructure where they are because actually where they are works for them in a really good way. They just need a bit of adjustment.
So if you decide to stay where you are, then this becomes an intentional decision you've made, which is much more empowering than just doing it by default because you're scared of what might happen if you go after the thing that you want. Right. So if you can look without blinders at both options and really consider both the positive and negative feelings that will come with both no matter what, and then you make the decision, which one would you like? There's no right answer. It's just to make sure you know that both have this 50-50 of comfort and discomfort.
Okay, so let's just give you some tactical next steps on how to use this to create an energizing career you love. You know, let's say you are considering you're feeling lost professionally. You are considering what comes next, and you maybe have a few nascent ideas of what you could do.
That's where most people I meet have maybe a foggy sense of what they could do. Some people have no ideas. And I get that too. But we're gonna assume for the purposes of this episode that you have some, and the thing is actually, I'll say here, most people do have some ideas. They're just not giving them airtime, or they think they need more research or they think that they're not possible.
Most people have a bit of an inkling of things that they think would be cool to do, that aren't the thing that they're doing now. So, okay, step one. Write out whatever ideas you have for your professional evolution. Okay? And then for each idea, do a free write. This is step two. Do a free write about how you feel about exploring that idea.
Just write whatever comes out of your mind. Don't overthink it and do it until you have nothing more to write. Don't censor yourself. Doesn't have to be full sentences. Just write whatever comes out of your brain, and this process is gonna pull out your fears and insecurities. It's gonna identify what you're feeling about this idea.
Step three, do a separate, free write about how it would feel to actually create whatever it is that's behind that idea. Think about what you're excited about. How will it feel? Think about how you could mitigate the fears and concerns that you identified in the first free write. What would you have to believe about yourself, about your idea? What would you have to be committed to? What actions are you committed to taking?
So that's a bunch of questions, but they're all relevant to this second free write. Now look at the two next to each other. You know, read the two back to back and ask yourself, what are the positive emotions that will be associated with going for this goal? And what are the uncomfortable emotions that will be associated with going for this goal? That's the combination of comfort and discomfort, and that's the question to ask yourself, am I willing to embrace this spectrum, this 50 50 of comfort and discomfort? And I'll caveat here by saying that some of your fears and concerns might be limiting beliefs.
And I can't catch that in this exercise, but you're at least going to see the full spectrum of the experience instead of just focusing on all of your fears and concerns, right? What I want you to do as part of this is forcing yourself to think what could be cool? What am I excited about, and also how could I mitigate some of my fears and concerns? What do I believe about myself? What am I committed to? To help you see that it's not just all the negative, that there's also a lot of positive.
So there you have it. Uncomfortable feelings are the admission ticket to the things that you want, and either way, whether you go for the thing or you don't go for the thing, you're gonna feel some sort of uncomfortable feelings.
So let me offer, it's better to go for the things you want while feeling uncomfortable. Then stay where you are and feel the discomfort of what if. Have a wonderful week.
Hey, if you're ready to create an energizing career you love, one that is simply an extension of who you are and how you want to live your life. Then I wanna invite you to schedule a consultation. We'll get to the bottom of what's going on for you. And exactly where you need to focus to bring your career and life into alignment. It's free. Just head on over to thecareer.studio/schedule to find a time that works for you, or if you're enjoying and getting value from these episodes, I'd love you to leave a short review on whatever podcast app you use.
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