01 Aug Which Discomfort Will You Choose:
Temporary or Ongoing?
Happy Thursday and Happy August Legends!
As some of you know, a few months ago I picked up and moved to London, a decision that my mind tried to talk me out of many times.
What if it doesn’t work?
You have an established set-up in San Francisco, what if you can’t build that in London?
Why would you move somewhere that is so far from family and friends?
What if you don’t like it there?
You love the sunshine, why would you possibly move to London of all places?
What if, what if, what if…
Those were all projections of what could go wrong. But my reality was that San Francisco was wrong.
I always joke that I needed to divorce San Francisco because we had a toxic relationship. I was there for many logical reasons, but as a result of several major life changes, my heart was no longer there. In my mind, it made sense but my feelings proved otherwise. So I had to decide… was I going to listen to my heart or my head? Thankfully, many previous battles like this one have taught me which to listen to… so, I made the move.
San Francisco may be right again one day, but it was clear that it wasn’t right for me, right now. And I was reassured of that the moment I hopped on the plane… the feeling of ‘peace’ I got is something that no rationalizing into a decision ever could have given me. Life in London has provided a much needed fresh start. It has brought an excitement to things that felt stale in San Francisco, and as result I feel renewed, refreshed and excited about almost everything! And ironically, this has literally been one the best summers this California girl has ever had!
Yet, I almost talked myself out of it.
The same thing happened a few weeks ago. While I love running Live Your Legend, I also love exchanging energy with people in person. Everything comes with a trade off, and while Live Your Legend allows me freedom and flexibility, it can also be extremely isolating. I choose to do this work because it is incredibly fulfilling, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that the solo work challenges me at times.
Which is why I like to balance that out with another type of work I love—teaching barre based fitness classes. So, I didn’t find it surprising that after giving myself a few months to settle into London, discomfort with the routine of working alone all the time started to settle in. I saw that discomfort as a guide and decided to apply for a job to teach at a studio. And guess what happened the moment I got an offer to join the teacher training?
My mind began finding every reason not to do it…
You have a business to run, how will you manage to devote 25+ hours/week for 6 weeks to the training?
What if they make you teach every weekend?
What if the people here don’t like my classes the way they did in America?
Between the cost and time of the commute, I will basically be breaking even, why bother?
I have holiday planned, maybe it’s better to wait until the next time…
But once again, I quieted those voices and went for it. And one week one into the training, I felt an energy and excitement my comfortable and settled ways could never provide.
Some may wonder why bother? Why complicate a situation? But in the time I have taken to learn about myself (Pillar 1 of Live Your Legend), I have realized this is one of my favorite ways to give and receive. It allows me the opportunity to be present, whereas some of the other work I do requires me to be in my head a little more. I get to listen to and choreograph to fun music. It feels like play, and I love to play!
But most importantly after experimenting (Pillar 2 of Live Your Legend) with several different avenues (cooking, teaching yoga, etc.) I honed in on this and discovered that it fills me in a way that trickles into the rest of my life. It likely will not contribute a huge amount to my bank account, but it adds a tremendous amount to an equally (if not more) important account: my inspiration and excitement for life (Pillar 4 of Live Your Legend). When I spend time teaching, I honestly believe I am a better person, business owner, friend, partner, etc.—not only in the moments I am doing it, but in how I show up in the world in general—because it fuels my inspiration, my creativity, my excitement and my enthusiasm; which is what I, in turn, have to give back to others.
You cannot give what you do not possess, so in order to live your best life, for yourself and those around you, you have to discover and live what lights you up. And, I know teaching is this is an important ingredient in my recipe.
And guess what? Things worked out even better than originally planned! Due to my 10 years of experience teaching back in San Francisco, I was able to start teaching during the training instead of waiting for it to be over. This was not an outcome I expected or anticipated, but only received because I didn’t worry myself out of an opportunity.
Discomfort From Growing Versus Discomfort From Not Growing
Prior to taking the leap into both of these scenarios, I was feeling the kind of discomfort that comes from:
- Denying or resisting your full potential
- Staying stagnant
- Listening to should’s or logic versus your intuition
- Knowing there’s something more but remaining as you are
- Living a life aligned with values that are not your own, etc.
This is a very real and what-can-be permanent discomfort if not addressed. Yet, the moment I found a solution out of that discomfort, my mind tried to talk me out of it! And that is because fear is natural.
Fear and worry are very important emotions when they are needed. They keep us safe, and our brains are wired to stay safe. So doing anything you aren’t currently doing puts you in a place of unknown experiences and outcomes, and while logically that thing may not actually be life threatening, sometimes our little unevolved brains don’t realize that!
However, your worries are often times the biggest of your worries! Because that’s all worry is… attaching a realness or sense of permanence to a thought, rather than a reality. Most often we worry about how something is going to happen or what will be, which is a projection of a future scenario, or in other words… simply not yet a reality. We don’t have to hate on these emotions, they do serve a purpose in the right scenarios, as long as we keep them to the right scenarios.
As you can see in the two examples above, I spent far more time worrying about certain things unfolding in my move or taking on this opportunity than I did navigating those actual things. In fact, in both cases things turned out better than I would have thought!
But I would have never had the opportunity to realize that had I let my worry stop me from taking action. Fear is a natural human emotion and while I’m sorry to break the news to you… it’s simply not going anywhere anytime soon. It’s like a somewhat annoying friend that will keep knocking on your door whether you like it or not. So you have a choice to make…
Will you close that door every time it shows up? Or will you let your newfound friend in, and see what opportunities await?
Because while we cannot always control the emotions that arise, we don’t have to be a victim to those emotions. You are not a fearful person, simply because you experience fear (the emotion). You are only a fearful person, if you choose to let that fear stop you (the behavior). However, that same experience of fear (the emotion) gives you the opportunity to be a courageous person if you choose to act anyway (the behavior).
Your emotions, and the ways in which you respond to them are not one in the same. You can experience any emotion and choose to respond in a number of ways. So, through a lot of experimenting outside of my own comfort zone, I’ve learned to stop attempting to ‘never experience fear’… but I do want to to continue to take action and move forward in spite of it.
And one of the best ways I know how is to remind myself of one simple thing:
The discomfort of the unknown is temporary, but the discomfort of the known will persist.
Life ebbs and flows. We often reach a place where things that once were comfortable (a job, a place, a relationship) are no longer. We may make adjustments to those things until we feel happy and fulfilled, only to find ourselves out of alignment again at some point later. And that’s because we are on a constant journey of balancing and navigating internal and external factors, trigger and voices.
We want to live our own unique purpose, but alongside others. We want to walk a fulfilling and meaningful path, but want the safety and security of the well worn trail. We want one thing, get it, and then sometimes find ourselves wanting more. So then we decide to judge ourselves for ‘never being satisfied’, and worse off may even start to create an identity around someone who is ‘never going to be satisfied’. And when we begin to believe that about ourselves, we only feed into a dangerous and never-ending loop.
Right now (as in literally the moment of writing this article), I feel amazingly aligned with where I am. I am happy to start teaching but also love the work I get to do at Live Your Legend. But if and when I feel the desire again to make a change, that doesn’t make me greedy or ‘a person who is constantly dissatisfied.’ It makes me human. We, and our lives, are ever evolving and our needs, desires, and values change as life changes.
And, I think that is ok. I actually think it is more than ok, I think it is amazing! However when we fight, resist or rationalize our desires, that’s when life starts to feel like so much effort. Yet, when we can learn to embrace them, a lot of amazing doors start to open! (Note: I will add that we need to be listening to desires that come from a resourceful place… not from false pleasures, desperation or desires based on values that don’t actually serve us. These need to be things that are in alignment with who we are and what really matters.)
The discomfort of forcing myself to stay in San Francisco when it wasn’t right for me was a battle that likely would have kept going for a very long time, making things complicated mess. Trust me, it was for as long as I resisted it. But the discomfort of making the move is now a distant memory only a few months later… and that’s because outside of those blissfully aligned times you have in your life, you will likely either be experiencing:
- The discomfort of growing (change, newness, uncertainty), or
- The discomfort of not growing (staying stagnant, not living your potential, boredom, etc.)
So, given I am bound to experience some level of discomfort regardless of whatever path I take, I would rather choose the type that is temporary rather than permanent. The discomfort that serves a purpose… allowing me to learn so I can live my best life, and grow so I can give back to others.
Because that type of discomfort, while certainly not comfortable, is fleeting until we adapt to the change (which you will).Whereas the other is the type that may last for months, years or lifetimes…
So, what type of discomfort will you choose? The discomfort of growing, or the discomfort of not growing?
The choice is yours…
– Chelsea Dinsmore