I pay people to make me uncomfortable –and I love it.
No it's not a weird sex thing.
I've paid thousands of pounds to people over the years because I know they are going to make me uncomfortable. I've travelled miles for the privilege too.
I've paid them to point out my faults.
I've paid them to touch my raw nerves.
I've paid them to call me on my bullshit (you know, the stuff you REALLY don't like being talked about in a public arena?)
I've paid people who have inflicted physical pain on me (I'm talking sports massage and physio here).
The stuff that hurts is the stuff that's holding you back.
If a muscle is knotted then that's the bit that needs the pressure. My sports massage therapist could say, "oh that hurts? I'll just skip that bit then" and then just focus on the less painful parts. I might like her better for it and I'd walk away saying "that was nice" but would it solve the problem? I could pay her every month for years to make me feel a bit better about a problem she could get rid of in one session.
Where the pain lies the problem lies and addressing it is the only way to get better. The same applies to non-physical problems.
I admit I don't like it at the time, it doesn’t feel pleasant at all. I'm probably not very thankful at the time either. Someone who pokes your raw nerves isn't going to be your favourite person in that moment. But if it's done with permission, with positive intent and skill I will always go back. Afterwards, it feels amazing. Where you once felt trapped, fearful or lost you feel empowered and hopeful.
I've learnt to associate that uncomfortable feeling with growth. Thinking about it, all the really big breakthroughs in my life have come from working through the pain. A short period of discomfort is worth the long term benefits of being free of the problem.
I travelled all the way to Northampton to lose weight (I live in Stockport). Last week someone asked me why.
I told them I went to lose weight with someone who wouldn't let me wriggle off the hook.
I could've followed the diet I did closer to home. But I knew she would help me do it properly. I knew she wouldn't let me get away with any excuses. I knew she'd be brutally honest. I knew she wouldn't let me talk my way out of anything. I also knew she wouldn't let me dismiss my successes or skirt over my achievements. I knew she'd make me focus on those as much as my challenges. Ultimately I knew she'd give me what I needed not what made me feel good. It took a lot of my time. It cost me money. But I was done in 4 months and I've not dieted since. That was two and a half years ago.
How do I do it?
Lots of people surround themselves with those who positively reinforce them all the time. They tend to cut out of their lives those who make them nervous. It's great to have a support network but friends and family have a lot to lose by upsetting you. Most of them won't be honest enough with you to help you grow.
You know those people you avoid because they are a bit too honest? They might not make great drinking buddies but they make fantastic mentors. Maybe you should seek them out?
- Notice when you are physically uncomfortable: When do you squirm or recoil?
- Who do you avoid?
- What topics do you avoid?
- What questions do you not want to answer?
If you want to grow, find these and then run head first towards them.