Ep #251: Two Types of Discomfort
Posted on January 17, 2019
Discomfort is the currency to your dreams.
If you’ve been listening to my podcast, I’m sure you’ve heard me say those words more than once. And what I mean by that is that in order for you to grow into the next version of yourself, you’re going to be uncomfortable.
You will not be in your familiar surroundings, thinking the same familiar thoughts, and experiencing familiar emotions if you are pushing yourself beyond your current comfort zone.
Today, I’m excited to explore this topic in more detail and talk to you about two types of discomfort – one that moves you forward and makes your stronger, and the other that holds you back and stunts your growth.
Join me as I show you how you can distinguish between the type of discomfort that serves you, and type that doesn’t, and explain what you can do in order to get yourself on the right track to your goals.
Grab your copy of our new Wisdom From The Life Coach School Podcast book. It covers a decade worth of research, on life-changing topics from the podcast, distilled into only 200 pages. It’s the truest shortcut to self-development we have ever created!
What you will discover
- The type of discomfort that creates growth and propels you forward.
- The discomfort that holds you back and keeps you the same.
- Having a good work ethic vs. a sloppy and unproductive one.
- How to tell whether you’re in discomfort that serves you.
- How seeking comfort leads you to long-term discomfort.
- What to do if you find yourself in an unproductive space.
Featured on the show
- Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins
- Learn more about the Self Coaching Scholars program
Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.
Well hello, my friends; so nice to talk to you all. I am having an out of the body experience right now. I just had the trippiest experience where I was listening to a podcast of someone that I love listening to their podcast, and then they started talking about me. And I didn’t even know that they knew me and it was totally surreal and I’ve decided I don’t know who I am and I’m having an identity crisis.
It’s really fun to be like experiencing yourself through the eyes of somebody else randomly. It’s such a trip. This has happened to me a couple times where I’ve been listening to someone’s podcast and they mention me. These are people I know, but I’ve never had the experience where it was somebody that I didn’t even know they knew me and they talked about being a fan of mine while I was listening to their podcast. So fun, so out of the body.
So anyway, today, I’m super excited to talk to you all about the types of discomfort. Now, one of the things that I want to tell you is that I am working with a group, and I’ve kind of talked about this briefly, but where I came up with this concept and this idea has been because I’m working with this group of coaches who are all focused on making $100,000 this year in their businesses.
And so what I did is I opened up a group for 10 of my students who were already certified through The Life Coach School and we started a group called the 100K Group. And they are working with me this year to make 100K. And I’ve guaranteed them that they will make 100K if they do everything I tell them to do because I know how to make 100K. I know how to make a million. I know how to make 17 million. I know how to make 100 million, so rock and roll.
And one of the reasons why I wanted to do this is because I really want to see what the struggles are. What stops people from making money? A lot of people think that 100,000 is a lot of money to be making within a year. They think it’s a lot of money to be making in a life coaching business.
And from my perspective, it’s a very little amount of money because I feel as if the ability to make money online as a life coach with the technology that’s available to us, with the reach that’s available to us, and with the demand that is there right now for life coaching, the ability to make money is staggering. And in fact, $100,000 a year is a very small amount of money for someone to be able to make as a life coach, if they have the tools that I teach, that are very effective, and if they have the marketing that I teach, which is very effective.
So I feel like I am in the business of magic right now. And I don’t think it’s only because I have the best tools, because I think I do, and I’ve studied the best marketing, which I have, but also, it’s the timing. We are at a time right now that is – we love to call it the Wild Wild West.
Like, if you imagine the movement towards open land and possibility and opportunity, I feel like right now, in our industry, we are in the Wild Wild West. We are enjoying the timing of what I like to call – basically, we have a society that needs coaching. We’ve evolved to the point where we are no longer needing to spend our energy surviving and we need to be able to find a way to function in our current society and find a way to reconcile our emotions so we can enjoy our lives.
And we don’t know how to do that. We haven’t been taught that. And so that need is huge. And it’s across the board for people. We’re not teaching it in school. It hasn’t been something that’s been ingrained in our society yet and everybody needs it.
So, whenever I introduce this material to people, they are starving for it. This is why my podcast is so successful. This is why my business is so successful. This is why people want to coach with me, because the huge demand right now is because of the timing of where we are in the world.
So I’m super excited about that. And the reason why I tell you that is because when people come to me and tell me that $100,000 is unrealistic or they don’t believe they can make that much money, I kind of giggle inside because I feel like, are you kidding me? We are surrounded by opportunity right now. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t, in your nice, with the coaching tools that I’ve given you, create that kind of abundance for yourself.
So, I’ve been working with this group and talking to them about discomfort and talking to them about how discomfort really is the currency to our dreams. And you guys have heard me talk about that before, but I want to make sure that it’s not being misinterpreted.
So today, in this podcast, I’m going to talk about the different types of discomfort. But one thing more I’ll add right before I jump in is that this group, this 100K Group that I’m doing, we started this group with a six-day in-person event that I recorded the whole event.
So basically, I teach my entire process for making 100K and how to set up your business and how to go step by step by step to make sure you have your niche right, your positioning right, your offer right, your plan in place to be able to set up a funnel to be able to attract the right people, to be able to serve and over-deliver in the highest way.
I went over all of that in that six days that we recorded it and I want to make sure that everybody knows, who is considering becoming a coach at The Life Coach School, every single coach gets that entire recording series and will get the ongoing recording series.
So, basically, we did the first six days, and then we’re going to meet every quarter with all of the same people as they progress in terms of making money in their certifications. So if you’ve signed up for certification, you will be getting that video series included in your certification. If you haven’t signed up, I want to make sure that you know that you will get all of that information. It is priceless information.
It’s included in certification. So if you were kind of hemming and hawing over whether you should get certified through us, I highly recommend that you do it, not only because we’re the best training in the world and because we offer you a whole training on how to build your business, but you’ll also get that bonus 100K – not just building your business, but how to make 100K within a year.
Okay, so let’s talk about the different types of discomfort. When you hear me talking about discomfort being the currency to your dreams, what I mean by that is that in order for you to grow into the next version of yourself, you are going to be uncomfortable. You are not going to be in familiar surroundings, having familiar thoughts, and having familiar emotions if you are pushing yourself beyond your current comfort zone.
Now, that level of discomfort can be managed when we understand that it’s part of the process. And what that feels and looks like is doubt and fear and trepidation and frustration and confusion. So when we’re pushing ourselves into new environments, into new lands, into new expectations of ourselves, we’re going to ignite our primitive brain.
Our primitive brain likes sameness. Our primitive brain likes to stay in the cave. Our primitive brain likes to keep us safe and coddled in. So when we venture out of the cave and when we set big goals for ourselves and when we start putting ourselves out there more, our primitive brain goes into panic mode. It starts freaking out.
And it’s very uncomfortable to experience that and to experience what is required for success, which is continuous failure. The brain finds failure to be threatening because, back in the day, when you would fail, you’d probably die. Now when you fail, you know, it’s a little bit less money, it may be a little bit of rejection.
The brain doesn’t know that. the brain is responding from a very primitive pacing, and so that type of discomfort has to be understood and tolerated and managed and expected as you grow and up-level your life and your business and the things you want for yourself.
This is not to be confused with the discomfort that comes from beating yourself up. Those are two very different types of discomfort. One discomfort, the first one, is one that propels you forward. It creates growth. It makes you stronger. It teaches you.
The other one does the exact opposite. It holds you back. It tightens you. It resists you and it moves you backwards or keeps you the same. And so a lot of times, people will say to me, “Well I’m just tolerating my discomfort…” or, “I’m just managing my discomfort right now.” And what they’re meaning, what they’re wanting to convey is, “Oh, I’m growing and so I’m tolerating discomfort.”
And that’s a misinterpretation if you aren’t putting yourself out there and overcoming your doubt and setting big goals for yourself. Basically, you’re hiding and beating yourself up and calling that the discomfort of growth, and that is not the same thing. A good metaphor for this, a good way of thinking about this is, when I talk to people about working hard and having a really strong work ethic, when I tell people, 40 hours a week is 40 hours a week.
Most people say they work 40 hours a week and they’re barely getting 20 in. They spend so much time wasting time, they’re not productive all those 40 hours. And I know this is for sure true with my 100K Group, because they are required to work 40 hours a week. And when I look at the results that they produce, based on the 40 hours that they are claiming to be working, I understand that there is a huge mismatch between their capacity to work and their ability to produce in the amount of hours that they are being expected to work. You can get so much done in 40 hours.
Now, when I say working hard and having a hard work ethic for 40 hours, that does not mean that you are stressing yourself out and beating yourself up and staying up all night and working to the bone and yelling at people when they interrupt you. That is not having a good work ethic. That is having a sloppy work ethic. And that’s working too hard and too much.
You will never hear me say that you should work 12 hours a day, ever. Now, when I first started my business, I worked so many more hours than I do now because I wasn’t as disciplined, because I was sloppy, because I was all over the place with my emotional life.
But when you have the tools that I teach you on this podcast and when you understand how to manage your time and how to organize your mind, you can get so much more done in such a less amount of time. So yes, I want you to work hard and yes, I want you to have a strong work ethic, and I want you to experience the discomfort of that – because it’s not comfortable to work hard. It’s uncomfortable to work hard because you’re pushing yourself – but it always propels you forward and gives you a positive result at the end.
Hustling around, running around, indulging in negative emotion, stressing out is also very uncomfortable, but it doesn’t propel you forward and it doesn’t produce your highest level work at the highest capacity.
So, how do you know if you are in discomfort that serves you or if you’re in discomfort that doesn’t serve you? And it’s a really important question for you to ask yourself because the confusion between the two is the difference between success and failure long-term.
And the short-term discomfort for the long-term gain is always worth it as long as it’s the right kind of discomfort; that you’re feeling discomfort that is actually serving you.
So, here’s how you know; you ask yourself – I know it sounds simple, but stay with me – why am I uncomfortable? What is the reason I’m experiencing discomfort? Now, of course, the answer will always be a thought, because our thoughts always cause our feelings.
Now, if the thought that comes to your mind is, “I’m not good at this, this is too hard, this is to confusing, I’m never going to be able to do this, I won’t be able to make $100,000, I won’t be able to lose weight, I won’t be able to stop drinking, I’m not good enough, this is too hard…” whatever, if those are the thoughts that are driving the discomfort, you are having discomfort that is not serving you. You are having discomfort that is spinning you because of negative thinking.
Now, if you are having that type of discomfort, that’s when it’s appropriate for you to manage your mind better, which means you have to sit down and you have to really think about what you want to believe and what you want to do, because if you take action from that discomfort, you’re going to be resisting and avoiding and pushing yourself away from success.
When you ask yourself, why am I experiencing discomfort, and the answer is, because I’m moving towards something I’m not used to, I’m trying something new, I’m discovering something, I’m putting myself in an unfamiliar situation, I’m venturing outside of the cave, then you know that you’re experiencing discomfort that will have a proper payoff, that will be worth it.
When I say discomfort is the currency of your dreams, I don’t mean put yourself in an uncomfortable situation and then all your dreams will come true. No, what I’m saying is set yourself a goal, manage your mind, and move forward with massive action towards that end result and never quit. That’s going to cause a lot of discomfort.
So, you’ll know if you’re in discomfort that’s serving you because you will feel the level of accomplishment in moving forward. And sometimes, that will be not succeeding at something. So, for example, you will go out there, maybe if you’re one of my 100K people, you will go out there and you’ll do a webinar and no one will sign up for your program. And you will spend an hour on the webinar and you’ll do your very best work and maybe no one will sign up.
And you will feel the discomfort of trying something new and not getting the level of success that you had hoped for. Now, at that point, that is very healthy discomfort. You’ve moved yourself forward, you’ve taken action, you’ve created something that wasn’t there before.
Now, at this point, what you make that mean, the fact that you did a webinar and no one signed up for it, will determine whether you continue to move forward or whether your discomfort starts to move you backwards. And that will be determined by how you think.
So you have to remember, when you take a step, whether you succeed at that step or not, the discomfort that we want to keep creating is based on moving forward and positivity and encouragement, and, “Okay, that webinar didn’t work. I’m going to do another one next week and see if I can get one person to show up or get one person to buy.”
That's the kind of discomfort that we want. Now, of course you don't want to do another webinar, especially after you've just done one no one showed up to and no one bought. So when you say hey, I'm going to do another one next week, that's uncomfortable, that brings up negative emotion.
But that's the kind of forward momentum that we want. But if you say no one showed up to this webinar, I'm not good enough, I suck, this isn't going to work, I'm never going to amount to anything, that's the discomfort that moves you backwards. That's what keeps you stuck and keeps you spinning.
They're both very uncomfortable, but it's important to decipher between those two levels of discomfort because you don't want to just be like well, I knew this was going to be uncomfortable, Brooke said it was uncomfortable so I'm just going to sit here and have a pity party and that will be uncomfortable and hopefully my dreams will come true.
No, my friends, that is not how it works. Sitting there staring at negative thought downloads does not work. Doing the same models over and over and over again doesn't work. You have to keep moving forward. This webinar didn't work, I'm going to keep moving forward. This thing didn't work, I'm going to keep moving forward.
That will be uncomfortable and that will serve you. You will notice because in two weeks you'll be in a different place than you were two weeks previous. If you look back at four weeks ago and you're still doing the same thing, producing the same result, then you know for sure that you're using discomfort and you're being uncomfortable in a way that isn't serving you, and you're probably going to need to go in and take a look at your mind and see what's going on in there.
I want to give you some examples of discomfort that serves us and when we want to seek it out and pursue it, and discomfort that doesn't serve us. So one of the things - I just read this great book, it's called Can't Hurt Me, and I think it's one of the bestselling books on Amazon right now. It's really good, it's written be a Navy SEAL and he's like a Navy SEAL and a ranger and a Marine. He's got all sorts of marathon runner, all sorts of accolades and accomplishments.
But his book is written basically about how he overcomes himself to see what he's capable of. And my favorite line in the whole book is when he asks himself after a huge accomplishment, he kind of like, is admiring his own accomplishment, and he asks himself, "What am I capable of?"
And ever since I read that book, I keep asking myself, what am I capable of? What can I do? And in this book, this book is a great example of discomfort. This man tolerates discomfort like nothing you've ever seen physically and mentally, and it's just really inspiring.
And a lot of his discomfort, I think pushes a little bit too far and has some negative effects, but one of the ways that you can question this for yourself is ask yourself this, is this discomfort caused from a loving discipline for me? A loving discipline for me.
When we discipline ourselves, we do a lot of uncomfortable things. We do stuff on our calendar that we don't want to do, we eat foods that we may not want to eat, we refuse foods that maybe we would rather eat, we get up early when we'd rather stay in bed. That is loving discipline that is for me.
It's usually focused on the long game. Discomfort, temporary discomfort, delaying gratification, that is in it for the long game, and the thing that you could say is, is this something I'm doing for me? Am I worth doing this to? And you'll notice the difference between loving discipline and beating yourself up if you ask those questions.
So knowing that you deserve your dreams and that you're capable and that you aren't limited will require you to incorporate some discomfort, some loving discipline into your life that will serve you. So some examples of that would be going to the gym and working out, telling yourself the truth about things, which might be uncomfortable, telling someone else the truth about something.
Doing your mind work is another example. Selling, making offers. For some of us that's very uncomfortable and yet it's something we're doing to serve our clients and serve ourselves and our businesses. The food that we choose, choosing really healthy food for our bodies can be uncomfortable. We might have to deal with some feelings of deprivation, we might have to deal with some feelings of discomfort of not getting the sugar rush and the instant gratification and the pleasure that we could get from the food that's all around us.
Preparing and studying for things is something that is uncomfortable for most of us. It's not enjoyable but we do it in order to have that long-term result. Paying our bills, doctors’ appointments, saying no, sometimes for us it's refusing drugs, living a certain kind of lifestyle, staying faithful to the people in our lives, honoring our calendars, following through on commitments that we make.
So many of those things in our lives are uncomfortable. We would rather just lay on the couch than do some of those things. But those are the things that move us forward. And I'm not saying that they're always uncomfortable all of the time, but that kind of discomfort is the discomfort that serves us. Something we do on purpose that doesn't immediately give us pleasure, that gives us a great long-term result.
Now, let's talk about some examples that is discomfort that doesn't serve you. One of the examples that I just used recently when I was talking to Kara Loewentheil, you guys might have heard my podcast with her, and we were talking about deprivation and I was telling her, I said it's so fascinating to think about how I used to deprive myself of food and hate myself and diet myself and restrict my food in a way that didn't serve me because I was constantly berating myself, versus being able to now fast, intermittent fast and go several hours without eating and have that move me forward and have that serve me and have that feel so good to me, because my thoughts are different now.
So it's the same action but it's just the discomfort is caused from different thinking, different ideas in my mind. So even though it might be more uncomfortable not to eat than it is to eat, the thoughts are also positive that I know it's moving me forward, versus what I used to do is you're too fat, you're too ugly to eat, you shouldn't eat, you're terrible, which of course never ended up giving me that result that I wanted.
Some of the discomfort that we inflict on ourselves comes from the thoughts that we deserve punishment, that we should suffer, that we aren't good enough, that we aren't acceptable, that we must be better. And that's a really big difference. When I push myself in business or I push myself in understanding new concepts to teach to my clients or studying new ideas or putting myself in new coaching situations, the idea that I want to be better and I want to learn more and I want to evolve really serve me even though it's uncomfortable going through that process.
Much better than a thought, I'm not good enough, I have to do all this so I can be acceptable. It seems like a subtle thing but it's everything. The discomfort is there in both of those situations, but in one way it's moving me forward and serving me, and the other way it isn't.
So one of the reasons why I talk about discomfort a lot is there is this idea that self-care means that we should be comfortable. When people talk about self-care, they talk a lot about baths and linens and pedicures and comfort. And what I have learned and what I believe is that there is a comfort that is actually not serving us, that leads us backwards. And there is a discomfort that can move us forward.
And some of the best self-care that I've ever done in my life has been through discomfort. Self-care is not a cuddle. Self-care for me means discipline in what I put in my mouth, integrity in what I say, telling the truth. One of the best ways that we can take care of ourselves is setting proper, honest boundaries with people.
And that is going to be one of the most uncomfortable things most of us do, telling people no is one of the strongest acts of self-care, and that's going to be uncomfortable. So the reason I'm such a fan of discomfort is because it ultimately serves us at the highest level. It ultimately helps us evolve into the best versions of ourselves.
So I'm not suggesting that we enter into the discomfort of hurting ourselves and that the only other option is comfort. So people say, "I'm going to give up on those dreams because all I do is beat myself up if I don't meet them so I'm just going to go to comfort." And what I want to say is that there's the two sides of the coin are not comfort and discomfort, but there's discomfort that serves us and that we can accept and that we can utilize, and then there's discomfort that's completely unnecessary and self-inflicted that doesn't serve us.
And we don't have to throw out all of discomfort and only seek comfort because what's so fascinating is seeking comfort all of the time and trying to feel good all of the time actually leads to the discomfort that doesn't serve us.
So that might sound confusing but let me just give you an example through my weight loss journey is if we think about there's discomfort that serves you, there's discomfort that doesn’t serve you, and then there's comfort. And we could argue that there's comfort that serves you and comfort that doesn't serve you too, but let's talk about when you want to embrace more comfort.
Let's say I've been beating myself up, I've been treating myself terribly, I feel uncomfortable all of the time, I hate myself all of the time, so I'm going to stop doing that. I'm going to let go of all that discomfort and only embrace things that feel comfortable to me.
What happens there is I swing from deprivation and self-loathing and hating myself to the comfort of overeating and false pleasure all of the time. And what I want to suggest is in the middle of there is that loving discipline that is also a little bit uncomfortable, but ultimately leads to the underlying comfort, the underlying solid comfort that isn't false, that isn't externally motivated, that's motivated internally, that I think is the sweet spot.
I think the delayed gratification and the discomfort required for that leads to the ultimate overall comfort of our lives, being comfortable in our own skin. And I will say the comfort of being who I am and being in my own skin versus the comfort of cupcakes and donuts and French fries, there's no comparison.
So it's not you're either comfortable or you're not comfortable. It's that you start to distinguish between the types of discomfort that serve you and the types that don't. And I will say that when it comes to emotions, you have to remember that your life's going to be 50/50. The way we talk about is 50% of the time we're not going to be happy and we're not going to be overjoyed and we're not going to be rainbows and daisies.
But when we make peace with the discomfort of negative emotion, there's actually a comfort in the discomfort. And until you've practiced this for a long time, it's hard to understand what exactly that means. And I remember when people would talk about meditation and they would talk about just sitting there quietly and how that can become so blissful and so actually entertaining, and I remember thinking, okay that makes no sense.
But what happens is you make peace with that experience and therefore you start to enjoy it, and you can do that with the discomfort, with the 50% of the emotion that's negative, and then have that underlying peace about it. And the discomfort of growth is the exact same way.
If you embrace loving discipline, if you embrace the discomfort of what it requires for you to grow, the discomfort actually becomes less uncomfortable. We make it so much worse by beating ourselves up and telling ourselves terrible things and resisting it.
When we embrace discomfort, we realize that discomfort actually isn't so bad and ironically, we become comfortable with being uncomfortable. And if that is super annoying to hear me say, I want you to know I really do understand. When I was studying meditation and they started talking about that, I had no idea what they meant. But when I started making peace with everything that is, when I started making peace with myself and loving all the parts of me, loving all the experiences of me, and knowing that I can feel any emotion and I'm going to be okay, that's when I started embracing discomfort and found so much less discomfort in it.
And so I want to recommend that you try the same thing. Stay away from the discomfort that comes from self-inflicted pain, from insults, from undisciplined thinking, and embrace the discomfort that moves you forward.
I hope this has been helpful for you. I know that for many of my students, deciphering between the two types of discomfort has been a huge game changer for them and I hope it will be for you too. Have a beautiful week everybody. I am heading to the Four Seasons to do a model-thon for my VIP Self-Coaching Scholars. I could not be more excited, and I will talk to you all next week.
Take care everyone, bye-bye.
Hey, if you enjoy listening to this podcast, you have to come check out Self-Coaching Scholars. It's my monthly coaching program where we take all this material and we apply it. We take it to the next level and we study it. Join me over at the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. Make sure you type in the TheLifeCoachSchool.com/join. I'd love to have you join me in Self-Coaching Scholars. See you there.