Who doesn’t want to stay under a cozy comforter just a few more moments during these cold winter mornings of the year? The name of this cover-up is so fitting … so comforting. Snug and tucked-in seems so perfect. And it is perfect up to a point. And then, it no longer serves us very well. Eventually, never pulling ourselves out from under the cover has a devastating impact.
The same holds true with the comforts of life. They are only as good as far as they go. They are nice for moments in life.
Yet, they make for a terrible way of life.
Twenty one years ago, when I first launched my career in professional speaking, I set out on a quest to uncover some unique stories of exponential leaps of development. I repeatedly asked one simple question: Describe a time when you experienced a period of exponential personal growth.
The stories widely varied, yet had one theme in common … each had to do with a time of significant transition: sudden change, tragic loss, failure, or a moment of unexpected truth. At the same time, there was one theme that never showed-up … not in one single time … in any of the responses:
A season of success … of any kind.
Yet success is what we desire. Strategize for. Strive for. And in some cases, die for. And there is no question that success can deliver its own teachable moments. Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to provide the context for periods of exponential personal growth. At least it hadn’t for even one single person whom I asked. That is, until that “success” ended or was taken away.
I’m certainly not suggesting that the lesson here is to avoid success. Yet, I am suggesting it has its limits. In many ways, our own success can not only provide the comforts of life, but it can become the comforter of our life. And under the comforter of life we can become seduced and eventually addicted to the comfort. It is precisely why entitlement knows no one specific demographic.
I’m also not suggesting that we go looking for tragic loss or failure. Yet, I am suggesting that we might want to get up and go looking for the uncomfortable. The uncertain. The unfamiliar. The unknown.
We can learn and grow in the midst of most any circumstance. It just seems that we are more willing, more open and more vulnerable in times of transition.
Transition has a way of tiling the soil of our soul.
And so does the uncomfortable. Maybe you have sensed this in a conversation with someone experiencing an uncomfortable season. Compare that to a conversation with somebody in the midst of success. Most often, the later one is more fun … the other is more meaningful.
Rather than building a stretch list of goals for the New Year … might it be better to build a list of uncomfortable scenarios the might be worth experiencing. Either would be good, yet one might be more revealing. For some, one would be more healing.
We could all benefit by pulling ourselves out from under the comforter … communicating more with those who don’t think like us, embracing those who don’t look like us, and yes, hanging with those who make us a little (or a lot) uncomfortable.
After all, we might eventually discover just how comfortable it can be … being uncomfortable. And in doing so, we might just experience a season of exponential personal growth!
What has been one of your great moments of discomfort … that you would have never changed even if you could? Share your thoughts below!