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Just because something feels uncomfortable the first time you do it, should you stop?

We run an event at the Rebel Business School that is called ‘Walk like the president/first lady.’   The basic message of the exercise is to change your body language to change the way you feel.  We ask people to adopt confident body language, and then walk round the room and meet other people.  The exercise creates some real energy in the room and gets people going!

Alan Donegan looking uncomfortable

Alan looking uncomfortable
Despite the buzz, energy, and obvious impact, there is always someone who comes to me after the exercise and says, “That was great, but it didn’t feel natural.”

Does it ever feel natural the first time?

I want to scream, “You’ve been adopting and using nervous body language for twenty years!!!  Of course it is going to feel unnatural the first time!!!!!!”

It is not often that the first time you do something it feels totally comfortable and natural.  It nearly always feels a bit weird to start with.

Let me give you some examples:

  • The first time I did yoga.  Did I feel comfortable and natural?  No, I felt like an overweight bull trying to stand on one leg while keeping a calm face
  • Katie has just taken up the guitar.  Do you think the hand positions and strumming felt natural the first time she picked it up?
  • I have started to write a screenplay.  Do you think the first time I opened up the software to write it felt natural and I was at ease using it?
  • There is another first time we could talk about as well, but we won’t go there.  Suffice to say it gets better with practice

Just because it doesn’t feel natural the first time, doesn’t mean you should stop.  It means you need to keep going to practice until it becomes natural.

Don’t let the fact that something feels a little awkward or off stop you from pressing on and having a go!  It is bound to feel a little weird first time, but if you keep at it then you will find it becomes natural and is just the way you are.

If you want to feel confident, then stand and move confidently.  Of course it is going to feel weird if you haven’t done it for a while.  That doesn’t mean you should go back to being hunched over and shy for the rest of your life.  It just means you should push in and keep going.

It is probably not going to feel comfortable the first time you do anything.  That is not an excuse to crawl back into your comfort zone.

What do I really want to say?

Man up, practice, and keep going.  Do it twenty times, and if it still doesn’t feel comfortable then let’s chat and work out how to make it comfortable.

  • The first time I did cold calling it wasn’t comfortable.  In fact it brought me to tears, but I worked out how to get past it, and now I actually enjoy calling new people
  • I pressed on with yoga, and after 3 weeks solid I was starting to get somewhere and felt stronger, taller and healthier.  All my knee pain vanished and I felt amazing.
  • I have got to press through the feeling of uncomfortableness writing movies at the start if I want to actually become a screen writer.  I have to keep going to make it through the unnatural, uncomfortable phase to the good stuff on the other side.

Just because you didn’t 100% enjoy it the first time doesn’t mean you should never do it again.

Here are my top 5 strategies for overcoming this initial discomfort:

  1. Know that it will pass as you get better at it.  Just knowing that this is likely to happen first time you try something can make you more comfortable getting through it
  2. Focus on the end goal.  Why are you doing this?  What is the big picture?  If you have a big enough WHY then you will get through a little bit of discomfort
  3. Learn to spot it and love it.  Now you know about this phenomenon you can spot it, realise what is happening, and know that if you are feeling this way it means you are probably making progress.  Next time you spot it, jump up and shout, “I AM ON THE RIGHT PATH!”  That will break the pattern and get you going!
  4. Do it with someone else.  It helps to have someone positive to do it with the first time.  Make sure it is someone positive though, as if not they will drag you down and stop you both getting through it.  Find someone positive, and support and decide to go together
  5. Commit to a period. Commit to a certain period to work through to see if you do really like it.  The pleasure normally comes as you get into it!  Commit to doing 10 yoga sessions, commit to doing 100 cold calls with a friend, commit to doing a certain amount before making a decision.

I hope this helps you to tackle your next project and get going.  Or if there is something you have tried before but not made it through then it inspires you to give it another go.

Just get involved, commit, and keep doing it.  It is never going to feel that comfortable the first time, and that is just something you need to get used to.

I would love to know if there is something you are committing to give a go knowing that you are going to have to go through the period of uncomfortableness?

Leave me a message below, or sign up for my blog update in the form below.

Good luck, and please use my energy and words as inspiration to make your own dreams come true!


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