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8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

8 Uncomfortable Things That Will Make You More Successful

It happens to all of us, whether we bring it on our selves or it just shows up. That pit in your stomach. The butterflies. The times when our palms start to sweat. I’m talking about when we are thinking about things we don’t want to do — the things that we know we should do in order to get to where we want to go. I know you know what I’m talking about and I guarantee you have at least one thing in your mind you are thinking about right now.

You might be thinking of that dream or big goal that you want to accomplish one day. The book you want to write. The business you want to start. The big audacious goal that scares the daylights out of you but keeps you dreaming because you know you can do it. The problem is that there are a lot of steps along the way that are uncomfortable. It can be as small as that email you don’t want to send or that person you don’t want to call, even though you know at the end of the day it will make you better and that much closer to your goal.

Here is a list of eight of those uncomfortable things, though the list could go on and on. Let’s be honest: we all procrastinate. How do you overcome procrastination? You make things easier to do.

It’s not rocket science. When you do uncomfortable things more often, they become more comfortable. Maybe after doing these things more often, you’ll lose that pit in your stomach the next time it’s your turn to show up.

1. Waking Up Early

We know we should do it and that it will make us feel great for the rest of the day. We feel energized and ready for the day the one time a month we finally do it. So, why do we not do this every day? I’ll tell you why I don’t: because my bed is so warm and comfy! When my alarm wakes me up early and I know I can either a) Get up and spend some time for myself before the day gets started, or b) Spend another hour or two getting some more Z’s, I’ll pick the snooze button almost every time.

We’ve all heard the interviews with the most successful people telling us about their early morning routines. How they read, work out, make a healthy and organic breakfast, and then still have time to journal all before work. It’s pretty hard to believe they’ve ever heard of a snooze button.

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One thing that I started recently to help me wake up a little earlier is the Five Minute Journal. It has been a great first step in waking up earlier than normal. The best part is, it’s only five minutes earlier than I would usually get up!

2. Public Speaking

Talk about a pit in your stomach! The only people you meet that love public speaking are public speakers! They do it all the time and likely get paid to do it. You can’t be successful without someone giving you a stage to tell your story. You can try to avoid it all you want, but it comes with the territory.

People striving for success (like you and me) want to know how successful people got to where they are. How do you think they tell their story to us?

Public speaking, like everything else on this list, is something we need to start doing to make it more comfortable. Whether it’s volunteering for a toast, starting a video blog, or chiming in when the speaker says “does anyone have any questions?”. That’s our turn to push through the discomfort!

3. Exercising

You might be saying “Hey, I exercise all the time and I’m still not successful.” Maybe you’re not, but you are one step ahead of most of us! For those of you, like me, who break a sweat twice a week every 30 days (aka 2 times a month), exercising isn’t on the list of top to-dos. Maybe you just can’t seem to find the time. It’s time to make the time.

I wish they would come out with a study that shows that getting that extra hour of sleep before work or the extra episode on Netflix before bed gives you more energy and is better for your body than exercising, but I still haven’t seen it. Instead, I keep seeing studies like this one from Harvard that reads “Regular exercise changes the brain to improve memory, thinking skills,” and just hoping they misplaced “exercise” when it should’ve said “doughnuts.” Still waiting on that study.

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4. Networking

You just received an email in your inbox that reads, “The local business professional networking group will be at the office from 5:00 to 5:30 today, please stay late to network with them.” This just makes you jump for joy, right? Not even close! You know you should, and you might meet an awesome connection to help you with your next goal or job, but your soft, warm couch is calling your name in a calming, late-night radio voice that you can’t resist.

I give the excuse of “I am terrible at small talk and I could care less about meaningless conversation.” It’s a valid excuse and my go-to every time. It doesn’t get me anymore connections and I never meet anyone exciting or new because of it. Let’s start small and start asking questions.

The people that are the most charismatic and outgoing ask the most questions. Have you ever noticed that? You don’t need to make small talk. Ask questions and let the other person talk. The truth is that the more people talk, the more they like you. Strange, but true.

5. Taking The Blame

This point does not read “taking the blame for someone else.” This is about admitting your own mistakes when you mess up. It’s so easy and comfortable to quickly make excuses for when you mess up. When a mistake is made and no one takes the blame, it’s hard to move forward and get it fixed because no one wants to fix someone else’s mistake if they won’t fess up.

This one is so simple, but it’s not our first reaction. Leaders take responsibility. When they or their team mess up, they take it on the cheek. The best part about this very uncomfortable action is that it helps everyone quickly move on. You can’t move forward unless you start to look in that direction. Take the blame and take the next step forward.

6. Continuously Learning

You know your dream and your goals. Are you reading the right books to reach those goals? Are you attending seminars and conferences in that genre?

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I was very guilty of this for a long time. I was reading books that I wanted to read, books that were comfortable. Of course, reading is a great hobby. If you are a reader, don’t stop. If you are not, start!

The uncomfortable part is reading books that you know will get you closer to your dream or goal, but are not on the top of your reading list. Don’t just read for joy, read to build your knowledge.

 7. Unplugging

If the leader of the smartphone revolution didn’t let his kids use his own inventions, there must be a benefit. There are more smartphones than humans on this planet now. We are even starting to wear these devices on our wrists because it’s too difficult to reach into our pockets to read texts! We are all guilty of the smartphone and other technologies ruling our lives.

If you want to be successful, do as the successful do. Who doesn’t want to have the success Steve Jobs had? He limited the time his kids spent with technology because he knew it would slow them down in the long run. As much as we like to think our iPhones keep us more connected and more efficient, they don’t. We could get a lot more done in a day if we weren’t checking out what our friends are eating, where they are in the world, or perfecting our next post to make them just as jealous.

You know exactly what I’m talking about — we are all guilty. Let’s get uncomfortable and start unplugging at the times we want to plug in the most!

8. Meeting Adversity On Purpose

Who is ready to face the most difficult and most uncomfortable thing they can think of and jump headfirst in? Adversity is more simply defined as “Difficulty.” I’m not talking about feeling good when you start off your day with a spilled latte. That stinks, but I’m talking about getting in over your head, taking on something that you know you can’t accomplish right away, but that you believe in yourself enough to try and make it happen.

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The great philosopher John Wayne said it best, “Courage is being scared to death… and saddling up anyway.”

There is a quick story in the Bible that I love about a man named Benaiah:

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, mighty in deeds, struck down the two sons of Ariel of Moab. He also went down and killed a lion inside a pit on a snowy day.

He went face to face with a lion and killed it. Not with a gun in perfect weather, but on a snowy day with some sort of ancient weapon— he faced a deadly predator and conquered it.

What gives you a pit in your stomach that you know will make you a better person, a better parent, a better boss, a better employee, or will help you reach your big audacious goals? If it’s uncomfortable, it’s probably something we know we should start doing.

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Last Updated on July 13, 2020

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

How Not to Feel Overwhelmed at Work & Take Control of Your Day

Overwhelm is a pernicious state largely caused by the ever-increasing demands on our time and the distractions that exist all around us. It creeps up on us and can, in its extreme form, leave us feeling anxious, stressed and exhausted.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, here are 6 strategies you can follow that will reduce the feeling of overwhelm; leaving you calmer, in control and a lot less stressed.

1. Write Everything down to Offload Your Mind

The first thing you can do when you begin to feel overwhelmed is to write everything down that is on your mind.

Often people just write down all the things they think they have to do. This does help, but a more effective way to reduce overwhelm is to also write down everything that’s on your mind.

For example, you may have had an argument with your colleague or a loved one. If it’s on your mind write it down. A good way to do this is to draw a line down the middle of the page and title one section “things to do” and the other “what’s on my mind”.

The act of writing all this down and getting it out of your head will begin the process of removing your feeling of overwhelm. Writing things down can really change your life.

2. Decide How Long It Will Take to Complete Your To-Dos

Once you have ‘emptied your head,’ go through your list and estimate how long it will take to complete each to-do.

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As you go through your list, you will find quite a few to-dos will only take you five or ten minutes. Others will take longer, often up to several hours.

Do not worry about that at this stage. Just focus on estimating how long you will need to complete each task to the best of your ability. Here’s How to Cultivate a More Meaningful To Do List.

3. Take Advantage of Parkinson’s Law

Now here’s a little trick I learned a long time ago. Parkinson’s Law states that work will fill the time you have available to complete it, and us humans are terrible at estimating how long something will take:((Odhable: Genesis of Parkinson’s Law))

    This is why many people are always late. They think it will only take them thirty minutes to drive across town when previous experience has taught them it usually takes forty-five minutes to do so because traffic is often bad but they stick to the belief it will only take thirty minutes. It’s more wishful thinking than good judgment.

    We can use Parkinson’s Law to our advantage. If you have estimated that to write five emails that desperately need a reply to be ninety minutes, then reduce it down to one hour. Likewise, if you have estimated it will take you three hours to prepare your upcoming presentation, reduce it down to two hours.

    Reducing the time you estimate something will take gives you two advantages. The first is you get your work done quicker, obviously. The second is you put yourself under a little time pressure and in doing so you reduce the likelihood you will be distracted or allow yourself to procrastinate.

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    When we overestimate how long something will take, subconsciously our brains know we have plenty of time and so it plays tricks on us and we end up checking reviews of the Apple Watch 4 or allow our colleagues to interrupt us with the latest office gossip.

    Applying a little time pressure prevents this from happening and we get more focused and more work done.

    4. Use the Power of Your Calendar

    Once you have your time estimates done, open up your calendar and schedule your to-dos. Go through your to-dos and schedule time on your calendar for doing those tasks. Group tasks up into similar tasks.

    For emails that need attention on your to-do list, schedule time on your calendar to deal with all your emails at once. Likewise, if you have a report to write or a presentation to prepare, add these to your calendar using your estimated time as a guide for how long each will take.

    Seeing these items on your calendar eases your mind because you know you have allocated time to get them done and you no longer feel you have no time. Grouping similar tasks together keeps you in a focused state longer and it’s amazing how much work you get done when you do this.

    5. Make Decisions

    For those things you wrote down that are on your mind but are not tasks, make a decision about what you will do with each one. These things are on your mind because you have not made a decision about them.

    If you have an issue with a colleague, a friend or a loved one, take a little time to think about what would be the best way to resolve the problem. More often than not just talking with the person involved will clear the air and resolve the problem.

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    If it is a more serious issue, then decide how best to deal with it. Talk to your boss, a colleague and get advice.

    Whatever you do, do not allow it to fester. Ignoring the problem will not make it go away. You need to make a decision to deal with it and the sooner you do so the sooner the problem will be resolved. (You can take a look at this guide on How To Make Good Decisions All The Time.)

    I remember long ago, when I was in my early twenties and had gone mad with my newly acquired credit cards. I discovered I didn’t have the money to pay my monthly bills. I worried about it for days, got stressed and really didn’t know what to do. Eventually, I told a good friend of mine of the problem. He suggested I called the credit card company to explain my problem. The next day, I plucked up the courage to call the company, explained my problem and the wonderful person the other end listened and then suggested I paid a smaller amount for a couple of months.

    This one phone call took no more than ten minutes to make, yet it solved my problem and took away a lot of the stress I was feeling at the time. I learned two very valuable lessons from that experience:

    The first, don’t go mad with newly acquired credit cards! And the second, there’s always a solution to every problem if you just talk to the right person.

    6. Take Some Form of Action

    Because overwhelm is something that creeps up on us, once we feel overwhelmed (and stressed as the two often go together), the key is to take some form of action.

    The act of writing everything down that is bothering you and causing you to feel overwhelmed is a great place to start. Being able to see what it is that is bothering you in a list form, no matter how long that list is, eases the mind. You have externalized it.

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    It also means rather than these worries floating around in a jumbled mess inside your head, they are now visible and you can make decisions easier about what to do about them. Often it could be asking a colleague for a little help, or it could be you see you need to allocate some focused time to get the work done. The important thing is you make a decision on what to do next.

    Overwhelm is not always caused by a feeling of having a lack of time or too much work, it can also be caused by avoiding a decision about what to do next.

    The Bottom Line

    Make a decision, even if it is to just talk to someone about what to do next. Making a decision about how you will resolve something on its own will reduce your feelings of overwhelm and start you down the path to a resolution one way or another.

    When you follow these strategies to can say goodbye to your overwhelm and gain much more control over your day.

    More Tips for Reducing Work Stress

    Featured photo credit: Andrei Lazarev via unsplash.com

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