The Two Flavors of Discomfort
My son was a little angel at the age of two years old. Terrible 2’s? What is that? In my household the tantrums have come and gone in cycles. The latest ones I had the “pleasure” of experiencing involved homework. Ha! Just this word alone can be so loaded for some of us moms who had to sit through days and weeks of checking on whether our kid finished his homework or even got started for that matter. Recently, I observed my 10 year-old son complain about homework. I watched him how for a good two hours he made himself miserable. It started with a frown and then the tears came. Then onto the floor he rolled in anger and frustration. He would shrink into a little ball, as if he was hiding from the pages of homework I had taken out of his backpack and placed on the dining table. He cried and then took his agony inwards to only explode in tears once more.
He repeated this behavior for a good two hours and finally sat down and finished one out of the four pages. He was stuck in a storm that he truly brought upon himself. He chose to sit in discomfort instead of doing his homework which would also bring him discomfort….just a different flavor of it! He was probably thinking how much he hates homework, how hard it is for him, how he is not as smart as the other kids in his class, how useless homework is and how awful it is to be forced to do something you hate so much. He did a lot of beating himself up, and in the end, he made very little progress and did not finish his homework.
What if for those two hours he had sat in front of all four pages of math worksheets and had experienced the discomfort of going through every single problem? Not a fun experience for him either, but even when he didn’t have the right answer and moved on to the next, item by item, he would have eventually finished. Still feeling the frustration of not being able to answer a question, still having to dig deep for courage to move on to the next, and finding determination to cross the finish line. All of these are uncomfortable emotions that would have moved him forward and helped him grow in the process.
My son is a little human being and, at 10 years old, he was not acting any different than we, the grown up humans do on a regular basis. Yes tantrums do not start at the age of 2 and have no age limits. I see this very same behavior in many women as if it was copied and pasted. They experience fear, anxiety and discomfort towards getting a hold of their finances. I hear their complaints, the shame and anxiety towards their current financial lives. They beat themselves up over and over claiming they don’t know how to manage their money, how they will never change, they are not good at it and hate having to do it. The list is endless…they say they will never have or make enough and they just don’t know how to, they spin by ruminating in past mistakes and they focus on all they lack. So like my son, they also shrink into a small ball, and they hide from their bank statements, their tax filings, their bills, the job they qualify for but they are too afraid to apply for, the clients that are waiting to be serviced, the home and retirement of their dreams. They remain stuck without being able to make any progress towards their financial goals. They completely stunt their growth and potential.
But there is a different flavor of discomfort that can move them forward, right? The one that gets them moving and taking massive action. For many of them it may look like doing things that do not come easy or figuring out the unknown in order to attract clients. It may look like reaching out to their network of professionals to find the right job opportunity and go through the nerves of the application and interviewing process. And for some it may look like getting help from a professional money coach like myself to get them through a program that requires daily mind and time management, constraint, courage and commitment.
These emotions are not comfortable and don’t feel safe, but can fuel the actions required of these women to expand their capacity and abilities. In my program, I see women try, fall, get back up and keep going. They experience extreme discomfort at times, but it’s the right flavor of it because it propels them to ultimately reach the results they want. They move towards a much better paying job, building a successful business, saving to buy a home, contributing to their retirement and much more.
It really comes down to making choices and picking the right flavor of discomfort. So how do you know which flavor you are experiencing now? The answer to this question is: You ask yourself “Why am I feeling this way?” If the answer is a thought that indicates you are avoiding, running away and remain stuck, then you know you are the kid having a tantrum and are caught in your own storm. If the answer is a thought that indicates you are moving towards what is hard, the unknown, and you are growing, then you are the kid doing his homework and will very likely cross your finish line and create a purposeful and fulfilling financial life.
When you have to choose between two flavors, and they are both uncomfortable, I challenge you to be intentional and pick the flavor that will ultimately shape you to become your highest financial self.
And if you are wondering how I can help you achieve this, please reach out and request a free consultation. Let’s talk about the discomfort you are experiencing now and what is keeping you stuck. I can help you move forward and towards a path of financial growth and achievement.