By Michelle Mclean
I was recently asked to be part of an Instagram Live series called Women Who Write, a month-long celebration of World book Day and International Women’s Day. I have never been involved with a ‘live’ before and I don’t like being videoed, so my natural response was to quickly close the email and pretend I hadn’t seen it. I resisted this urge though and gently challenged myself to explore the reasons why I instinctively wanted to decline.
My rational self knew that ‘I’ve not done it before’ is not a reason to avoid something and neither is ‘I don’t like being video-ed’. So what was really going on? The truth was, these things would cause me some discomfort and I rather like being comfortable.
The comfort zone has a bad rep but I believe that there are occasions when it is not only appropriate but it is the safest place for a person to be. However, this was not one of those occasions. Staying comfortable was going to cost me the opportunity to promote my book, a platform to inspire others and the chance to make new connections. I really didn’t have a reason to say no and so I said yes.
I briefly felt some nerves on the day but they passed once Annika (the host) started the interview. I really enjoyed talking to her about my writing process and where my characters and ideas come from. There were great questions from the listeners and I received some lovely messages afterwards. You can watch the replay here.
This is not the first time, in recent months, where I have been outside of my comfort zone. As I take up space as a Writer, I am being met with new situations, opportunities and experiences – some easier than others. I am trying to consistently (and kindly) challenge myself to do things to develop myself and to own the ‘Writer’ tag. In doing so, it becomes a little easier each time.
The fear, nerves and hesitation haven’t gone away but I’m now in the habit of exploring those feelings and asking myself to confront why I’m really resisting something. Often, I don’t have a good reason, other than ‘its a bit hard’.
This doesn’t mean blindly saying ‘yes’ to everything or putting myself into horribly unenjoyable situations. Instead, I am continuing to foster the attitude of intrigue that I developed last year when I chose curiosity as my word for the year.
Stepping into and through discomfort can come with connotations of needing courage, grit or resilience. I don’t think that this is helpful. My approach is to take an interest, remove expectations and mindfully observe my reactions.
Discomfort is a part of life and it is the price we pay for learning, discovery and growth. It is time to become comfortable with being uncomfortable.