Inspired by Sue Dunlop‘s selection of #oneword for 2015, I also made my choice: being uncomfortable. This is the first time that I’ve ever done a New Year’s post. It’s the first time I’ve selected a word. And I am determined to make this word count. So since writing this post, I’ve been thinking about being uncomfortable a lot. More so, I’ve put myself in many situations that make me uncomfortable.
- I started conversations I didn’t think I would start.
- I asked questions that I never would have asked before.
- I tried different approaches … even though they were foreign to me and even though they made me feel unsettled.
- I attempted to make new connections. Stronger connections. I tried to be brave.
I set a goal. A specific one. One that made me very uncomfortable, but one that I thought I had to meet to make me a better person. A better teacher. The details of the goal don’t matter here. The problem is that I really thought that being uncomfortable, putting myself out there, and making a new connection, would change things. But it hasn’t. And now I don’t know what to do. Do I give it time? Do I try again? Do I look for help? What might you do? It’s hard to be uncomfortable, but it’s even harder when that uncomfortable feeling doesn’t lead to a more comfortable outcome.
I don’t know the goal in question, and your right I don’t need to. I do have a few questions and a couple of statements.
1. Do you know for a fact you were unsuccessful or just didn’t expand your circle of success as wide as you would have hoped?
2. Did someone say that the uncomfortable feeling would go away? It’s sort of like speeches, it just gets managable, it never really goes away.
3. What wold you say to one of your students? Would you give them more time? Yes. Would you say try again? Yes. Would you expect them to ask for help? Yes.
I say it sounds like a joe bowler quote “this may take some time and effort”
And now the statement part of the post:
1. Whatever, you are still amazing.(blog post list for proof)
2. People you have never met make time for you online and in real life, (blog post responses, and Nutella pizza, ’nuff said)
3. Your students are lucky to have you as evidenced by the thought time and effort you put into your class.
I would figure out if you have given enough time to the problem and if you have then ask for help. There are lots of people around who would. I might even know one.
Thank you, Donald! These questions help a lot. As for the answers:
1) Yes, I know for sure that I was unsuccessful. I’d like to say more, but to keep the context still kind of vague, I won’t expand too much. Both actions and comments make this certain though.
2) Nobody said that the uncomfortable feeling would go away. I was just hopeful that in this situation, a new outcome might make me feel more comfortable as a result. Not comfortable with being uncomfortable, but comfortable with the uncomfortableness that this situation produced.
3) These three questions really resonated with me. Now I think I know what I need to do and whom I need to ask. I’m not giving up yet! 🙂
And as for your statements, thanks for the kind words! They matter a lot and are definitely appreciated. Thank you for being there too. I’m lucky to have great friends and colleagues both online and offline that always support me in the very best of ways!
I sense a real sadness, Aviva, that your attempt to connect has not had the positive outcome that you hoped for – yet. It’s hard to suggest what to do, but if it is really important, I would give it time. Your choice of the word “uncomfortable” as a focus for the year has resonated with me. Actually, every time I read your blog, I am struck by the way you do challenge yourself and those around you. Experiencing the unfamiliarity and uncertainty that comes with trying different strategies, is unsettling, but hopefully what you explore has the potential to become something that you enjoy, and develop expertise at. I do think one has to be realistic when it comes to relationships in this context. Not everyone that we try to connect with will meet us willingly, or have the same need to be challenged by the unknown.
All the best,
Thanks for the comment, Ruth! I think I am a little sad that what I thought/hoped would work, hasn’t. But you added a little word to the end of your first sentence that gave me hope: “yet.” There’s still time. And maybe this is a point in which I need a little help. I also know just whom to ask, and strangely enough, after reading your comment, just what to ask as well. Thank you for helping me see what I have accomplished, but also what I need to do next.
“Yet” would, in fact, be a great #onelittleword!
Great suggestion, Shauna! It would be. It’s like believing in the gift of time and not giving up. I like that #onelittleword.
You might try reading the book Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
Thanks for the suggestion, Robin! I’ve never heard of this book, but I’ll definitely look into it.
I read a wonderful quote just this morning, that said “When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.” I’m not suggesting you lost, but perhaps you feel like you might have because going through with your goal didn’t immediately change things. But what lessons did you teach yourself in the process? How to manage the uncomfortable-ness? How to overcome a fear in order to try something new? How to start a new kind of conversation? Every experience is an experience gained, and you are richer for it. I say try it again, in whole or in parts, or in an entirely new context altogether. If this is your word of the year, make it count!
Signed, as Donald put it,
A person you have never met that makes time to read your blog posts, and who cheers for you and your students from afar 🙂
Thanks Heather, for the comment and the support! You make a wonderful point. I will be trying again … in part in this situation and in part in new ones. And while I am quite comfortable being uncomfortable in certain situations, I’m less so in others. This situation taught me the importance of taking risks and being uncomfortable — even in those harder situations.
Thank you for giving me more to think about!