184. Intentional Discomfort

10 Minutes Read

Growing your business is uncomfortable. Whether it's because you are straying from what you know, onboarding teammates, or trying something new, there is going to be drama.

But the discomfort of growth and changing things to better your life is very different than the discomfort of ignoring your intuition and fitting yourself into someone else's idea of what it means to be successful.

You might even find yourself running a successful business that you no longer love but are too afraid to change, because you "made it" by other people's standards.

THIS is a warning sign that should not be ignored. The risk of burn out is real here and you may wind up hating what you worked so hard to build.

In this episode you will discover how to:

  • Know the difference between the discomfort of unhealthy habits vs. the discomfort of making a positive change

  • Start making decisions as your Future Self and feel more aligned

  • Navigate the discomfort with as little drama as possible

Join me in the 2022 Mastermind and Mentorship Magic Program. Early enrollment is open now.

Read the full show transcript here.

Subscribe and listen on Apple Podcasts here.

Episode Transcript

Erin Aquin:

Welcome to the Love and Success Podcast. You are listening to Episode 184, Intentional Discomfort. Hello there, lovers! My name is Erin Aquin. 

And we've been on an evolving journey over these last few weeks, which is kind of interesting because I did not plan this series of podcasts, it just kind of seems to be the thing that is coming to me, it's the thing I'm noticing with a lot of my entrepreneurial clients. And I think that if you have not yet listened to the episodes I did on intuition versus inertia, and intentional rest, which was last week, please take a minute to go back and listen to those because one of the things I want to be very cautious about is making sure that this concept of intentional discomfort really is grounded in everything we've been talking about so far. 

If you have been with me this long, you know that I am not about overworking, hustling, pushing too hard, burning out. And I think that sometimes when we get into the territory of talking about discomfort, it's so easy for that very popular habit that entrepreneurs tend to have worked themselves into, for that to pop up. So I just want to be very, very conscious of the delicacy of this particular concept. I think this is actually quite an advanced concept. I don't normally talk about this with anyone outside of my long term private clients, or even my mastermind group. But I do think that the distinction and nuance is very important. So I want to share it with you. And like everything that we talked about here. If it doesn't resonate with you, you definitely don't have to do it, you know, I am not ever going to be the kind of coach that tells you that I know better than you.


Quite the opposite. In fact, my whole job, I believe, is to really empower you to make decisions with your intuition, or what I will say, or what we sometimes called self trust, and move forward. So while I always offer ideas, suggestions, ways that I have done it, ways that my clients have done it. Please know that if something does not land for you, it's probably not for you. So with that, let's talk today about intentional discomfort. And the way that I would define intentional discomfort is similar to intentional rest, it is the discomfort that you choose consciously, that has a point that has a purpose behind it. Because we talk so much about love and success here. This could be the intentional discomfort to create a 24 hour period where you are completely offline at work for your business. This could be something like going on a date night, every week with your partner, even though maybe classically, you've never found a consistent day to do that. And you're both super busy. So intentional discomfort is really about choosing something that maybe feels like a stretch or feels like a growth project, keeping in mind that we're not doing it as spiritual busywork. We don't need more work. We're entrepreneurs.

It's really the purpose is that there is some gain in the future. A classic example that I think about all the time because I work out is lifting weights. I am a pretty small person. I've never thought of myself as a weightlifter or an athlete in any way. But in the last few years, I have developed what I would consider an intentionally uncomfortable relationship with working out. That's something that I whined and cried and moaned to my husband about and got the purpose of getting stronger. Being able to lift my kids you know, when my kids were born, it really dawned on me that you know, I'm going to be lifting 40 pounds and carrying it around the house. Often my son is four and he still likes to be carried around and he's not a teeny dude. So it's really important to me that I'm able to do that kind of lifting and picking up my kids without wincing without injuring myself. And without giving them a complex when I pick them up. 

So, something like that little example, is a really powerful one. The compelling reason for why I decided to lift weights was so that I would have more strength and energy to play with my kids. If you've ever held a newborn baby for any length of time, you know that there's like a certain muscle in your arm that you have never felt before until you are carrying a baby around. And that really was a motivator for me to get stronger. But the method to getting stronger has taken discomfort, it's made, I've had to be willing to feel that over and over again, week after week, month after month now year after year, it doesn't ever go away. There's never a day where I'm like, oh, no, that was a breeze that wasn't uncomfortable. We probably all do this a lot more than we are consciously aware of. 

But as I said in my cautionary introduction, as entrepreneurs, I think there's often this point where we switch over into the discomfort of overworking, the discomfort of pushing too hard, the discomfort of maybe seeing a result, a disappointing result that something that didn't go our way. And then thinking that the way to solve that's another episode you should listen to if he missed it.

But thinking that we have to do something, to fix it. And that something should be uncomfortable, and should it be aligned. So I want to make sure we understand the distinction between the discomfort it takes to grow, to get stronger, to become more resilient, to become the future that you want to be, versus the discomfort of ignoring yourself, of not trusting your intuition of trying to fit yourself and your business into someone else's idea of what it means to be “professional.”


This is something that I think many entrepreneurs struggle with, as we get to a point where we've maybe built a business, and there's a lot of pieces and places in it that don't really feel like us. Don't really feel like home. I had this discussion with another coach recently, who just said, Yeah, I kind of dislike my business. But I also feel guilty. Admitting that because it's actually really successful.


It's like, okay, well, that's great. So you have a successful business, but you hate it, then what are we doing here? So I think intentional discomfort is a nice way to shake things up a little bit. If things are feeling stale, maybe the discomfort is more, not about something you do, but it's about how you're reflecting. If you're not getting the results you want, maybe the discomfort is going to be actually sitting down and looking at what you've been doing and looking at where you've maybe outsourced your trust to someone else, or some other methodology that doesn't really align with you and your business.


Because remember, the worst thing we can do as entrepreneurs is work in a way that we hate, and have that be the thing that works. There's nothing more frustrating than creating a “successful  business” by everyone else's standard. But that you actually can't stand that is exhausting, that is draining. And that does lead to burnout. So even if you know it, this is like a little warning bell, if you have been feeling stale in your business lately. Or if you've been feeling like you can't fully be who it is you actually are. That's an early warning sign. Talked about intentional rest being one of the ways last week where you can catch burnout before it really starts. So you don't have to delay your growth. But I would say maybe an even or healthier warning bell is when you feel consistently like your business is stale, or you feel stuck. Another one feeling stuck in your business. So intentional discomfort is one of the ways you can start to shake things up. Take a look at what needs to be seen and maybe stretch or grow in a direction. That doesn't feel easy. Maybe sometimes it doesn't feel fun. 

But the purpose, and what's on the other side of that, you can kind of feel your future self, you can feel your Oracle, just cheering on the other side. And maybe it's helpful if we kind of create a little bit of a checklist for you, to help you make sure that you're not jumping between intentional discomfort that creates a result you want in the future and pushing too hard. overworking the discomfort of thinking there's something wrong with you and your business or the world and having kind of a reactionary experience from that. 

So a personal example from the last couple of years was I wanted to grow my business, I had a revenue goal that I really wanted to reach. And I wanted to be in this upper echelon of coaches, I want to reach my revenue goal not by fancy marketing, but through being considered a world class coach. And so the intentional discomfort for me was to go through master coach training. I don't know how many applied, but in my coach community, there are 1000s of coaches. But 18 of us were selected to go through this program. And I knew from day one, that it was going to be uncomfortable, I was going to be coaching in front of people who were highly I really respected, I was going to be given feedback by some of my mentors, I was going to be told that my coaching wasn't at the level of a master coach, more than once I was told that, but that process helped to shape who I am today, the version of me speaking to you right now, would not have been possible had my past self not chosen. That discomfort, that growth, discomfort and intentional discomfort.


And hopefully, as I'm talking, there's something coming up for you right now, maybe it's a quiet voice, you need something behind the scenes. But I'm willing to bet that if you are someone who listens to podcasts like this, you kind of already have an idea of something that would be so helpful to the future and to the business and and the future, your human future that you want to create.


But you also know that it's going to be uncomfortable, you're getting that whisper, the reason you haven't done it yet is probably fearing the discomfort or not wanting to go through the discomfort. Human brains don't love discomfort, I don't know if anyone else has, has realized the depths that we humans go to, to not have to feel uncomfortable. But it's just like working a muscle. It's one of those things where you are going to have to pick those weights up and go through it. If you want to be the person that can carry more responsibility, you may just want to give yourself a quick check to make sure that it's not the unhelpful style of discomfort. And one of the ways that you can do this, you can journal about it, you can just think about it, you can talk about it with a friend.


But you can ask yourself, what is the future on the other side of this discomfort.


And you want to think about who you will be when you've gone through this. And I think it's important to be very honest about this. Because, again, entrepreneurs, we tend to think, ooh, I'm gonna do this growth thing. And on the other side, I'm going to be exhausted. And then we think, Oh, that's okay. I would say we want to make sure like, Who do I want to be? So the second question would be, who do I actually want to be on the other side of this? Got the probable answer. But then what's the aspirational answer? Do you want to be after you go through this discomfort and I will be really honest with yourself, because if those two things are far apart, you may be stepping on the territory of perfectionism, or even risking that you're about to push too hard. As most of you know, I love to use magic and manifestation in my business. And a big part of that has to do with intuition and self trust. 


So, the next checkpoint that I use is, how can I start to be the future I want to create today? This immediately pulls me back at least, to what's available right now that I may not be seeing. Anything you can do in this moment, any way you can bring that future into today.


If that's available to you, it's the perfect place to start. People always want to know, how do I become my future self? That's how you start making decisions as you start doing what's available. Another question I really like is, what do I do in my daily life? That my future self who has reached that goal, who's gone through that intentional discomfort? What am I doing right now that she would never do? Or he would never do it? Or they would never do it? This will really bring some depth before you opt in for intentional discomfort. And I'm aware that some of you might be listening and thinking, Hmm, that seems like a lot of work, to have to journal this out to have to think this through. But let's be real, if you are choosing discomfort, you're also delaying gratification for some things.


You know, I'm going to workout and sometimes I just want to lay down, why not do it. And I will let myself do that, but not till the workouts are done. So you have so the reasons behind why you would choose discomfort have to be compelling to you. And I think you really owe it to yourself, to check them and make sure that you're not acting from some perfectionism about the future. But instead, you're thinking about who you are, who you want to become.


And you're now going to honor that. by flexing those muscles to get there. I would say that intentional discomfort, it should not feel like punishment, it should feel like a gift that you are freely giving your future. And if it doesn't, then, you know, maybe there's no rush, maybe you need more time to sit with it, there's no need, like we don't all have to do 30 day challenges or hardcore New Year's resolutions, maybe it's something that just deserves a little more time to, to brew in there. I also want to mention that while you're working through intentional discomfort, and also maybe trying to incorporate intentional rest, deal with disappointing results, get out of the stale and stuck place that maybe you have been feeling that you were in. 

Another gift you can give yourself is the support to do that in a way that takes care of the drama. And I'm so happy to let you know that early registration for my 2022 Magic mastermind and mentorship is now open. For listeners of this podcast for this round of the mastermind, you will join me for six months. I will take such good care of you and a small group of your peers, all entrepreneurs who are feeling a little stale, a little stuck, but have already made money. So this is going to be different than any other program that you've ever done in business because we're not only going to use intuition and manifestation as tools in your business, but we're going to create systems around those things that actually support you. It's one thing to say I'm going to use my intuition and then try to adhere to some rigid calendaring system. That's not your thing. I'm going to help you grow your business in a way that actually feels authentic to you and does not leave you working more and burning out. I'm so excited about the group that is coming together for this mastermind.

And if you're interested and you want to apply before I open it up to the general public, you can head over to revitalizeyourrelationship.com/mastermind.

Check out all the details. If you're interested, go ahead and apply and my incredible team will get back to you within a couple of days to let you know if it's a fit in the next steps. I cannot wait to coach you in 2022. Have a beautiful week. Take care.