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Talking Back to Discomfort

Last week’s blog was about how I got uncomfortable in order to achieve my dream of earning a PhD. I told you what I endured, but I didn’t really dig into how I jumped into the discomfort pool.

Part of the truth is that I didn’t know how much discomfort I was going to have to endure. Ignorance is bliss, right?!?

I knew earning the degree would takes lots of time in studying and writing and even traveling back and forth, but I didn’t know that people would turn on me and stab me in the back. I didn’t know the intensity of the feelings of guilt and worry I would have when I had to leave my sick daughter. There are just some things in life we can’t plan or prepare for.

But there is a way out of feeling small and scared when you’re being dominated by your fears. First, you have to know what your thoughts are that are keeping you in fear. For years, I was dominated by variations of the thought,

“Everyone doing this is smarter/thinner/better than you, and they are all thinking you don’t belong here.”

It’s important to know what your thoughts are because it’s impossible to confront what you don’t realize or understand. Writing down your fears (no matter how silly they may seem when you see them on paper) is critical to overcoming them. Once you see them written down, you have shown a light on them, which is the first step in overcoming them.

Once you know what your fears are, once they are in the spotlight, it’s time to get comfortable with the uncomfortable! It’s time to talk back to them!

When I say “talk back to them” I mean that very literally.

When I am scared of doing something because it might mean looking silly, or worse—being ignored, I will say out loud, “Hello Fear! I’m glad you’re here because today I am ____ (fill in the blank with whatever you are scared to do).”

I never beat myself up for my fear, instead, I will again voice out loud, “Of course you’re scared, Sonya! It’s normal to be scared when you’re doing this new thing. It feels uncomfortable and scary to fail, but it’s also a little exciting! Let’s do this!”

At this point, you’re probably thinking I sure do talk to myself a lot! You’re right! I have found that talking out loud to myself helps me focus. It turns me toward the fear so I can face it and feel it.

The detrimental thing we can do when we are facing our fears is to resist and ignore the feeling. Resisting the discomfort only makes it grow. When I talk to my fear and focus on it, it shrinks in size and scope. It might not go away, but it keeps at a manageable level.

The next time you need to do something you’re afraid to do, try it! We blow so many of our feelings out of proportion by resisting them. Talk back, and see what happens!

Coaching can change your life by helping you see what’s holding you back and giving you space to move forward! Give it a try by signing up for a free session on my home page at Until then, much love!

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