Tune in for a little bit of tough love on the podcast this week as I explore the reality of staying in our comfort zones. Don’t fret though because I’ve got a process you can follow that will help you stay on that path towards your non-negotiable goal for 2019!
You are listening to The Design You Podcast with Tobi Fairley, episode number 45.
Welcome to The Design You Podcast, a show where interior designers and creatives learn to say no to busy and say yes to more health, wealth, and joy. Here is your host, Tobi Fairley.
Hey friends. Well, it happened. It happened already. January came and went, right? Where did it go? I mean, I knew it was bound to. You knew it too but wow, they go so fast, don’t they? And it’s our job to make sure we’re really making the most of the days and the weeks that we have, that we aren’t just going through the motions, and that we have something to show for our time after each month flies by again.
And I don’t mean just work to show for. I did that for years. I just focused on my work goals and that was basically it, and squeezed in the other stuff around work and it didn’t fulfill me the way I thought it would. Even with a lot of big successes. So no, I’m not talking about that. I’m talking about using your time wisely so your life looks the way you envision it.
You know, with all the good stuff in it. The successes at work and the family time and some time for you and maybe some great travel. I want you to have all of that stuff that’s in your vision, and I want you to be reaching your goals, whether those goals are about making more money or making exciting travel a priority each year or spending more time with your family or creating optimal health or being present and in the moment.
Whatever your goals are, I want you to get them. So basically, we’re talking about that idea that I’ve mentioned before called regret-proofing your life really. And whatever it is we want to accomplish, we have to use our time to make that stuff happen. It doesn’t just happen. It’s not like if we work long enough or we get old enough because time’s just passing that it will actually eventually show up. It doesn’t work that way at all. We have to create the life we want on purpose, strategically.
And to do that, guess what? We have to get out of our comfort zone. I said it. The old comfort zone, that’s what today’s episode is all about. Yikes. Did I just strike a chord with you? Did I just call you out? Are you all nestled in there and cozy as can be in your comfort zone this year? And have you been there for a long time? I mean like, so long that the seat is all caved in like an old worn out sofa or mattress. Is that what your comfort zone looks like because you’re so used to being there?
Well, I wanted to bring this up today because it’s so interesting to me, so fascinating how many accomplished, talented, creative, energetic people I know and many of them I coach, how many of them come to realize that when we’re digging super deep and seeing why they aren’t already living the life that they dream of in every area, it’s because they don’t like being uncomfortable.
Oh no. And I’m joking but y’all, it’s not funny and it’s serious. And that’s really kind of how surprised so many of us are when they’re like, “You’re kidding, I had no idea that I don’t do well when I get uncomfortable, I didn’t get that that’s what it was.” And yeah, a lot of these people, myself included, can be uncomfortable in some areas of our lives, but not in others.
And it’s really as simple as that. If we aren’t living the life we want in every way right now, it’s because we have decided it just doesn’t feel that good to be uncomfortable and we aren’t willing to consistently be uncomfortable to reach our goals. There’s a reason it’s called discomfort. It’s the opposite of being comfortable, right? You’re like, duh Tobi, yes.
But I’m serious. We know about discomfort, we know about the comfort zone. But we just don’t seem to put two and two together about how this work and again, it’s so interesting to me how many people are shocked when they realize that their problem is that they like being comfortable. I mean seriously, we all like that, right? It’s so lovely in there and so familiar.
But let me tell you something. Nothing exciting ever happens in the comfort zone because what is the comfort zone? Well, it’s the same old same old. That’s why we like it, because we’re used to it. But oh my, is it ever boring in there? And it’s so mediocre, right? Because it’s all been there done that. I mean it’s so yesterday, right?
And yeah, I’m being funny. My daughter would totally be rolling her eyes right now but every bit of that is true. If it’s comfortable again in there, it’s because that stuff is now familiar to us. But even though it’s familiar, is that what we spend our time dreaming about? The comfort zone? No, not at all.
We spend our time dreaming about the stuff we don’t have, the stuff we want to do and want to accomplish and want to be. And it’s always something that’s new and exciting and different from what we are right now. So it’s something on the outside of the coziness where we mostly reside.
But somehow, as I was saying a bit ago, we don’t connect the dots, that to get something different from what we already have, we must do something different than what we already do or what we’ve always done. Yeah, that’s exactly right.
So whether we want more money or better relationships or to lose weight or to be happier or to be healthier or to be more educated or anything we can possibly dream about, it requires us to do stuff that feels scary, it requires us to make decisions that create anxiety and fear and worry, it requires us to take risk and spend money, or maybe to move somewhere or to quit something or to start something new. It requires us to change, and change by nature means we are going to be uncomfortable, so we need to expect it or even desire it if we want results.
Now, how many of us desire discomfort? Not a lot of us, unless we have trained ourselves to do that. Most of us feel discomfort, we’re like, ouch, I don’t like it, the brain says, “Oh, you shouldn’t, you really should quit, stop doing what you’re doing right this minute, this is a terrible idea,” and we listen and we stop.
But that’s a problem because when we quit, we don’t get to our results. So I have really practiced this idea of desiring discomfort. And for years, one of my favorite mantras has been, “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” And I did that. I did it really, really well. It’s the reason I have achieved a lot already in my 47 years. I mean, I think back a lot of the times I was uncomfortable, like it was really uncomfortable getting my Masters in business and that final project, that thesis, all the stuff I had to do to finish that, super scary.
Then it was really scary building my seven-figure interior design business, like, way uncomfortable. I didn’t just kind of do a little mediocre version of it. I went all the way to over a million or multiple millions of dollars really. That was super scary and very uncomfortable. Adjusting to being married was really uncomfortable. I didn’t get married until I was 30. I was pretty used to being unmarried.
So that was uncomfortable. Getting loans for my business early on from a very intimidating banker, so uncomfortable. Like, really, really uncomfortable. Having a baby, uncomfortable. Raising a baby, uncomfortable. Keeping her alive, like scary, right? And then pitching myself to major magazines for features and for columns every single time, very uncomfortable. Pitching myself for all my product lines, five or six of them, however many I have now, super uncomfortable.
Deciding to get rid of my big office a couple of years ago and moving my studio home, very uncomfortable. Like really thinking, am I going to become irrelevant? Are people going to judge me? Of course, people don’t care or even know where my office is so all silly, but super uncomfortable.
Raising a teenage girl, very uncomfortable. Launching Design You, uncomfortable. So many uncomfortable things and those are just a handful of them. There have been dozens or probably hundreds of things and moments and experiences that have been uncomfortable, but guess what? After each one of those things, I would get comfy all over again in my discomfort.
So once I did the scary thing and I survived it, it wasn’t really uncomfortable anymore, right? So that level of risk or vulnerability or whatever it was I had done to get there wasn’t that bad anymore after I had done. I was like, that’s fine, I can do that. And I got used to it each and every time, and before long, all of those scary, scary things seem like old hat, which always means just when we’re starting to feel good again, guess what? It’s time to go out farther on that limb of discomfort and take bigger risk and make bigger shifts if we want to keep growing and keep improving and keep creating the best versions of ourselves.
So it’s not like you just do it one time and you get it over with. Glad that’s done, like, got the discomfort over with, got that one thing, I don’t ever have to do that again. Well, only if you don’t want to grow in your lifetime. Only if you want to be stagnant and bored and stay exactly the same until the end of the time. Only if you don’t want to step into the highest and best version of yourself and really fulfill what you are capable of doing and bringing to the world. Only if you’re willing to give all of that up can you just get the discomfort over with once and then never do it again.
Now, my mentor Brooke at The Life Coach School says it this way, she says, “Our success in life is directly related to our ability and willingness to be uncomfortable.” Or in other words, our success is inversely related to our unwillingness to be uncomfortable. So if we’re unwilling to be uncomfortable, we’re unwilling to succeed really is what we’re saying here. Did you hear that?
If you aren’t willing to get way uncomfortable, then you won’t be able to reach your big giant goals and dreams, and I think she is so right. So what do you really want? I mean, what can you not live without? You want it so bad you can taste it. There is nothing, and I mean nothing that is going to keep you from getting it because you want it that bad. Think of that thing.
Now, ask yourself, how uncomfortable am I willing to get to get it? How many times am I willing to fail at it and get back up again? How big of a risk am I willing to take to get that thing? And if you’re not willing to take whatever it takes, then you don’t really want it as bad as you think you do, which that in and of itself is a whole kind of uncomfortable, right? Noticing and realizing that what we say we want, we really don’t want that bad and we’re just not willing to do the uncomfortable stuff that it takes to get there.
And you may say, “But yeah Tobi, I really do want it, I promise, I’m serious, I want it.” And my question to you is what are you doing about it? Are you just thinking about it and talking about it and reading books about it and consuming a whole bunch of other information about it and talking to all your girlfriends about it and your mom about it and maybe your husband about it?
Or are you making it happen every single day? No matter how busy you are, no matter how hard you think it is, no matter how tired you are, no matter what excuses your brain serves up to you, are you making it happen every single day? How bad do you want it, friends?
Seriously, think of it this way. What degree of bad do you want it? Do you want it to the degree of get up at 5am every day and work your butt off for it kind of bad? Even when you don’t think you’re a morning person? Do you want it that bad? Or maybe do you want it go on vacation and not eat off of your healthy plan kind of bad? Or do you want it I worked all day with a high maintenance client and I’m still going to the gym and working out and then I’m still coming home and cooking a healthy meal kind of bad? Do you want it that bad?
Or do you want it I don’t have money in the bank but I’m turning down every single non-ideal client no matter what and pounding the pavement until I find the right clients kind of bad? Do you want it that bad? Do you want it I just got fired by a client and my teenager’s driving me crazy and I have a huge presentation tomorrow and I’m still not drinking wine tonight since I said I wouldn’t kind of bad?
And if you would have thrown in the towel on any of those situations that I just mentioned, then you don’t really want whatever you say you do bad enough to stay out of your comfort zone and actually make it happen. Wow, eye-opening, right?
Until you want it so bad that you stop with the same resolutions every year, that you stop with the same excuses every day, that you give up the same wishful thinking for the – as we say in the south – umpteenth time, until you want it that bad, your life will be the same story all over again.
I’m standing once again right now at that spot, that crossroads right now, and I just wrapped up a bunch of really cool stuff in 2018 and I am ready to push myself to a level I have never been before and I’m holding my feet to the fire about my goal for this year. And I’m doing a lot of mindset work every single day to make sure that I want my goals so bad this year that I can absolutely taste it every single day.
I’m meditating on it, I’m posting things around my house that remind me of it, I’m not taking no for an answer. I’m committing myself to all sorts of things that if I don’t reach my goal, I will be so embarrassed because I have openly told all of the people and committed myself in a way that they’re going to notice if it doesn’t happen. And I did this on purpose. Talk about uncomfortable.
So what are you doing in your life to make sure that you stay committed to really wanting your goals so bad that being out of your comfort zone is way less uncomfortable than not achieving those goals this year? Well, if you haven’t already taken these steps, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to write down the one thing you really want first. Not three things. Just one. Write down that exact very specific thing.
And then number two, write down all the reasons it is absolutely non-negotiable for you this year and put a deadline on it. And don’t put an unrealistic deadline, friends, because here’s the thing; we try to do stuff in two months that takes 12 months and we fail. So just go ahead and say 12 months or maybe six months or nine months, but something that’s actually going to allow you to get to where you want to go. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Write down all the details and all the reasons this is absolutely non-negotiable for you this year.
Then three, I want you to write down all the obstacles that could, can, will come up because they’re going to, that could possibly derail you from achieving this goal this year. Write them all down. I mean, it might be five pieces of paper of obstacles. Write them down. And then I want you to create a strategy, write it down, exactly what you’re going to do, what steps you’re going to take each and every time one of those obstacles comes up.
So that you’re not in the moment going what the heck do I do? I guess I’ll quit. You’re going nope, let me get my strategy paper out because I knew this was going to happen, and let me see what I decided I was going to do to stay on track.
And then the next thing I want you to do, I want you to write down any competing goals or desires that may sneak in and take precedence over this one goal. And I want you to show yourself why that’s not going to happen, and what I mean is sometimes say we want to get healthy and we’re doing really good, and then we go on vacation and then our competing goal of trying a famous dessert at some famous restaurant overrides our goal to get healthy, and we allow that to happen.
So I want you to think of all the competing goals, the things that you might in the moment think, “Well, I didn’t really want that other thing anyway. I really want this right now.” That’s a competing goal. That’s also an obstacle. Write those goals or desires – really not even a goal, it’s a competing desire. It’s not your goal necessarily. Maybe it is, to eat that dessert in that amazing famous restaurant, but you got to figure out which one you want the worst.
And if you let these competing desires or goals creep in, they’re going to consistently knock you off your path. So write them all down and show yourself why those competing desires are not going to sneak up on you this year. And then I want you to write out a story – yup, you might not like to write, there’s an obstacle for you already – but I want you to write the story really, that’s in the first person of you talking about yourself at the end of this year when you have already achieved this goal.
What will you feel like? What kind of person will you now be? What decisions will you be making that are different from what you’re making right now? What things would you do that you wouldn’t have done before achieving this goal?
Really write it so that you can feel what it feels like to have already made this happen because you’re going to need that feeling a lot before you get to the end of the goal. You’re going to need to feel and remind yourself so you can think the way the person who has done this already needs to think, even though you haven’t gotten there yet. So write all of that out, that whole story in first person.
When you have all of these things done, which is six steps, and again, the steps are write down the thing you want, write down the reasons it’s non-negotiable, write down the obstacles that could come up, create a strategy to overcome them, write down any competing goals or desires that you may encounter, and the write out that story in first person about what and who you will be and how you will feel after you’ve achieved this.
And once you have all six of those things in place, I want you to look at these reasons and read this story every single morning this year until you reach your goal. No exceptions. Even when it’s boring, even when you think you’ve already read it for the other 90 days prior to this one, even though you could recite it by memory, even though it feels silly or stupid or out of your comfort zone, I want you to do it every day.
And then once you have done that, you’re going to be ready every day to go out and make this non-negotiable thing happen, by pushing yourself consistently out of your comfort zone in a big way every day because you just showed yourself why you want this, why it’s not negotiable and how you’re going to feel, which is amazing by the way, when it is done.
So do that every day and if you want it bad enough, there is no doubt in my mind that this will come true for you and for me. If we want to be healthy more than we want the cake, if we want to make six figures or seven figures more than we want to watch Netflix, if we want to be happy more than we want to gossip and create drama, I mean honestly, whatever it is, if we want it more than anything else that we’ve been typically doing instead of it, then it will happen.
And it’s up to each of us, my friends, so don’t let yourself down. This is your chance to get exactly what you say you want this time. We’re doing this, me and you. We are doing it. Let’s do this together.
Okay, so that’s it for this week friends, I’ll see you next week. Go out and tackle those goals way outside your comfort zone. I’ll be right there with you. Bye for now.
Thank you so much for joining me for this episode of The Design You Podcast. And if you’d like even more support for designing a business and a life that you love, then check out my exclusive monthly coaching program Design You at tobifairley.com.