How to Fuel Your Fire in the Discomfort of Growth

by Hayley Carr

Feel: Understood.

Know: The discomfort is part of the process. Embrace it. Make it ok.

Do: Start taking action on something you really fear. Make perturbation ok. And run towards it.

As a high performing woman, a leading lady, we are constantly stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zones. This is heavy, sometimes uncomfortable work. But it always leads to the best results and ultimately, the life of your dreams, right?

So if the discomfort is inevitable to your success, why do we let it hold us back, or worse, completely stop us from achieving the life we are creating?

I want to share with you how important it is to embrace change. How fun it can be to challenge your perceptions of what change really means, and how to embody the discomfort of growth with grace, each and every day.

Many years ago I used to be a high performing Athlete. A Martial Artist. Competing in Karate tournaments all around the world (and winning). And during my time training, competing, and stretching myself to become better every year, I learned the most important lesson in happiness and confidence to serve me in every other area of my life since then.

You see there used to be a point in every training journey where the training and stretching and pushing myself would stop being fun.

Don’t get me wrong – the overall journey is a fun one – there’s just this point – every single time – when it’s not.

At first, it was exciting. I’d set out a training plan, let people know my goals, get my mindset right by setting myself up for success, writing my goals down and placing them somewhere I could see them, booking in rewards for reaching milestones, and maybe a holiday afterwards, I might even grab some fresh training gear and make some new music playlists to listen to while I train. I’d start working with my instructors on some new stuff, and life would feel full of newness and potential and lots of learning and inspiration.

And then, after the newness has worn off, and you’re training in the dark, in the middle of the night in a park by yourself, on a Saturday night in the middle of winter while everyone else is still at the party, running the same drills for the 1000th time… and nobody’s watching or excited or competing against you yet, because the tournament is still far enough away that most people haven’t even started training… that wall comes creepin’ in.

Training is not exciting – it’s boring, almost a chore, because I’m putting the real work in. I’m no longer learning something new, so my coach isn’t there beside me, I’m just drilling what I know.

Perfecting it. Pushing myself and showing up when truthfully, what starts entering the mind are the sabotaging, tired thoughts:

“I’d love to be asleep or even just having a night in front of the TV right now. I miss my friends. I miss wine. I don’t even like wine but I’m pretty sure right now anything would be better than this. What am I doing with my life? This isn’t living, this is painful!”

My friend, perhaps you can relate. That big project you were so excited about – now that you’re in the thick of it, dealing with its complexities and challenges – maybe things aren’t going to plan or you’ve gone over budget or it just doesn’t look or feel quite right. Or, maybe it’s now just you and your laptop, churning away at the creative process – that project seems to have lost it’s shiny spark right now.

“Maybe this is not what I am supposed to be doing… Maybe this project actually sux and I should just ditch it…” I hear you say.

Rest Easy. Because what I am about to say to you is disappointingly simple, and yet overwhelmingly liberating. This is the grace-maker stage. And what I know now, is that it’s inevitable.

Early on in my martial arts journey, I took this painful time very seriously, and believed my thoughts. It caused me stress, perturbation, and made me doubt myself and feel uneasy about continuing towards my goals. It made me resist pushing through it – because I thought these feelings were signs I should stop. (Maybe you too, can relate!)

But after 15 years of the same experience every tournament, and learning to push through it – and additionally, another ten years of life coaching other peak performers – I have a completely different take on discomfort.

Not only is this discomfort inevitable, it’s a necessary part of you becoming fearless and free.

Every single time you do something outside of your comfort zone, you are going to feel uncomfortable at some stage. Be that in the beginning, or once the novelty has worn off. There are no two ways around it. We cannot avoid this experience – trust me, I have tried.

Besides, it wouldn’t be a comfort zone unless it was uncomfortable when you leave it, right? So why is this message important? Because I want you to re-frame how you think about the pain of the grind. The process. The leg work. The un-inspired part where you are ready to give up – and where most people do.

It’s the inevitable, necessary, and most grace-making part of the journey – and the only way to get you from where you are, to where you want to be. It’s actually the most wonderful part of the journey, because its’ so visceral. Stay with me.

OK, so that doesn’t really change the fact it’s still uncomfortable and makes you wanna stop, right.

But what if I told you that the more resistance you feel in response to what you are creating, the more potential for joy and freedom you hold on the other side once you move through it?

What if you understood that you are NOT your doubts and fears. That instead, these thoughts and feelings are essential, necessary and inevitable, but absolutely, simply not true – and rather just signposts to tell you you’re exactly where you need to be, and in fact, right on track!

Would you look at hitting the wall a little differently? I certainly do. Getting out of your comfort zone is uncomfortable, Theres no doubt about it. But like a second wind, the sooner you hit the discomfort stage, the sooner you can move through it, and pop out the other end.

If there were stepping stones to success, they’d be named like this:

Get clear on what you want.

Let go of your fears and doubts.

Take action.

Feel massive amounts of doubt and discomfort and perturbation.

Take action anyway and do what you can control, then go and have fun.

Become trusting in the process and enjoy it.

Reach Success.

See? The discomfort and wanting to quit is simply just step 4. Not a sign you should quit. So next time you’ve hit the wall creatively, or you’re experiencing massive resistance and grit around your project or goal, and you’re having “maybe I should quit” thoughts, GET EXCITED- you’re at stage four of the journey to success.
And then, here is what I recommend for you.

Make it the best thing that ever happened to you.

When you FEEL IT, name it.
“I feel crap about this”.

Then, KNOW, it’s part of the process.
“And that’s OK. This is normal.”

And then, DO it. Embrace it. Run towards it.
“In fact, it’s exciting. It means I’m at stage 4. Awesome, I’m right on track. The next stage allows me to only do what is within my control, and let go of the rest and have fun. Awesome. Bring on Stage 5. I love the process of growth! I can’t wait to achieve my goals!”

A woman who can own all stages of the creative process will reach absolute grace in growth. Every single part of the process -including the discomfort- is essential to going where you’re going. Don’t reject certain parts because they aren’t as fun – you will never get where you’re going without them. So rejoice in all stages of the process, and your resistance will melt away.

Hayley Carr

about the author

Hayley Carr

Hayley Carr is a Life Coach for ambitious women who want more happiness, ease and flow in their future success. After winning 9 Karate world Titles and healing her body from Chronic Fatigue syndrome, in 2013 and at age 27 she thought it would be fun to take off to travel the world and run her coaching business from her laptop, so she could experience the world and test her ideas about not waiting for permission to create the life you want. Hayley now teaches workshops and lectures around the world and online, and bases herself in the hinterland of Byron Bay, Australia.

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Kristy Petersen SAYS:

I Love this! Is so relatable to my fitness & weight loss journey. Even for my study, great article and great reminder to myself to keep going as all the steps and things I’m feeling are normal.
Kristy x

Fakeha SAYS:

This is exactly what I needed right now. Cannot thank you enough for writing this beautiful article. I am at a stage where I want to just quit. Your writing gave me hope 🙂

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