Personal growth begins outside your comfort zone. If you have a desire to be better today than yesterday and better tomorrow than today, then you have to be willing to intentionally get uncomfortable. Think about the moments in your life when you felt most alive. Many of these experiences were likely moments when you were filled with an element of nervousness, excitement, and some fear; in other words, you were uncomfortable. It is important to challenge ourselves to get uncomfortable in all aspects of life, both physically and mentally. By intentionally getting mentally and physically uncomfortable you will find that you experience life with more fulfillment and connection. You will develop the courage to take on any challenge you desire, which ultimately will lead to you realizing your dreams.

My Story

I grew up in the beautiful foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. As a child I would find great joy exploring the hills with my friends. Throughout my childhood and into my mid-twenties I remained engaged with nature where I spent much of my free time hiking, biking, climbing, and camping. After college, without much thought, I got a job in Corporate America where I would end up spending more than 19 years in a cubicle …..this is the last place I would have thought I would have ended up! Over these 19 years I married the love of my life and was blessed with 3 wonderful kids. Life quickly got very busy. I experienced many joyful moments over this time period but what I noticed was this ever-present feeling of being stagnant or stuck on the “treadmill” of life.

Right around the time when my oldest child, Shaylin, was 8 years old, I started to reflect on what kind of a role model I was to her and my other two kids. Did I want them to grow up in a home where their dad was “living life” or just “existing” through life? In that moment I decided I wanted to embrace life. After much reflection, I realized that the curiosity I had as a child had become dormant. I began to nurture this curiosity back to life by learning as much as possible. I started to read again, listen to podcasts, and experiment with life. I started to question almost everything. By nurturing my curiosity I found a new sense of freedom.

I realized that I felt most alive when I did things that pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. So, I signed up for a challenging obstacle course race. I started training and incrementally challenging myself as the weeks progressed. I started to realize that through the process of getting uncomfortable I found personal growth and fulfillment. I organized a weekly early morning workout with friends where we pushed each other to physically get out of our comfort zones. This got me thinking that if we all see positive personal growth both physically and mentally by getting out of our physical comfort zone, why not do similar challenges that specifically focused on the mental aspects. We started to periodically do 1, 2, and 3 week daily uncomfortable challenges, with a heavy emphasis on mentally stretching our comfort zones. These challenges would focus on topics such as being vulnerable with our children and spouse, reflecting on our opportunities to change as a husband, father, and human, volunteering, random acts of kindness, reducing our environment impacts, eating healthy, learning new things, etc.

For me finding ways to intentionally get uncomfortable was a game changer. I quickly realized that by starting with myself I can immediately make a positive impact on those I care about and also the rest of the world. These small daily challenges have helped move me towards the role model I want to be. No matter where you are in life or what you are doing, you have the power to be the change you want to see in the world.