Discomfort Means You’re On The Edge Of A Break-Through
There’s so much that’s uncomfortable about this whole career thing. Facing rejection as you interview, embarrassing yourself when networking, coming across as a desperate job seeker, having to ask your network for help, being unclear about your career direction when you think everyone else is clear, or desiring a career reinvention but being unsure about even where to start.

Yuck. Uncomfortable terrain.

I don’t care if you’re an introvert or an extrovert – experiencing discomfort is never easy.

I’m right there with you. Even though I’m not looking for a job, I have to put myself out there quite a bit. Like this:

• Last week, when I reached out to someone via LinkedIn to introduce myself and never heard back.

• When I started a discussion to solicit feedback from colleagues and got no response (cue the crickets).

• When I offered a class where no one, NO ONE, showed up.

• When I prepared a lengthy proposal for a client company and they decided to go in another direction.

Rejection. Hurt feelings. Frustration.

I just want to put on my light blue fuzzy bathrobe and curl up on the couch with a trashy novel and some jubes (Canadian candy – seriously addictive and 100% sugar.)

But this crazy work I’ve committed myself to – helping people navigate their careers — just keeps kicking my butt with reminders that discomfort is part of the journey.

And my clients inspire me. Here are some examples:


Angie, who after 10 years with a company she once loved, decided to try her hand with a contract project, despite the financial uncertainty of not having a guaranteed paycheck.


There’s John, who’s reinventing himself in the non-profit world after a career in finance.


And finally, there’s Allie. She’s had a successful 15+ year career with a well-respected company. She has basically grown up in the firm. She thought about leaving her job many, many times, but each and every time, she decided to stick it out. But not any longer.

She’s now actively looking and dealing with all of the discomfort (and fears) that are cropping up. What if her company finds out she’s looking? What if she has to relocate? What if the job she dreams of doesn’t really exist? She figured out that if she kept on waiting until she felt no fear, she’d never do it. Head first into the discomfort she plunged! I’m happy to report interesting opportunities are popping up for her, including being approached for a job out-of-the-blue.

As you consider where discomfort shows up for you – and hey, it’s just part of the process, deal with it.

Here are three things that help me:

1. Reminding myself the discomfort is only temporary. It never lasts and usually, doesn’t even last as long as I think it will.

2. Asking myself if I’d rather remain comfortable (maintain the status quo) or am I more committed to feeling good about myself for making the effort. I want to feel proud of taking chances, so usually this wins out.

3. Appreciating that discomfort often means I’m standing on the edge of a break through. So when I need just a little nudge to allow myself to be uncomfortable, this does it.

So, yay for feeling discomfort. It’s going to be OK.