If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you

Rosanna Machado | August 28, 2019

Last week, I had my first session with a personal trainer and in fact it was the first time in my entire life that I had set foot in a gym. It is ridiculous to think that over 20 years since leaving school, the stigma of being bad at all sports at a very sporty secondary school has stayed with me for so long. And as I am now teaching the value of emotional intelligence, I thought I should explore this within myself.

Self-awareness – understanding our own emotions and choosing how we react to them is so important, but evidence suggests we tend to be a lot harder on ourselves than we would be with other people. I can already hear the voice in my head before my first training session saying, “You’ll be rubbish and won’t be able to do this” So how did I get over this hurdle? The truth is, when I thought about it, this was something I really wanted to do. Yes, I was scared, but knew that I would probably enjoy it if I made myself do it and I had to convince myself that pushing myself to the point of discomfort was no bad thing. I really like Farrah Storr’s take on it in her book The Discomfort Zone. She talks about how we build these things up in our head, and in reality, most activities only have brief moments of discomfort so if we can reframe our thoughts and prepare for those moments, we can move into the discomfort zone and reap all the other benefits.

So next time you are worried about stepping out of your comfort zone:

  • Go for it – you will thrive!
  • Identify those brief moments of discomfort and think about how you might be able to handle them
  • Reframe the nervous energy into excitement (probably still with a bit of fear if you are anything like me!)
  • Remember you are not alone. I always think I am the only one worried about something, the only one that won’t be any good and yet when you realise others share your fears, it is comforting and can also help to form stronger relationships
  • Be kind to yourself – think about how you would support a good friend in the same situation

It’s great to be self-aware and know how you are feeling but don’t let that stop you pushing yourself forward, continuing to learn and grow and be curious. And in case you are wondering, I loved my personal training session and will be going back for more sessions.