How Uncomfortable situations provide the most opportunities for growth.


Ten years ago I was very uncomfortable walking into a new place with new people trying something I had never done before, CrossFit. I was also very uncomfortable sitting and going up stairs the week following my first CrossFit class. 

Five years ago, in front of 25 strong, experienced athletes I stood as they glared at me while I went over the workout of the day. The weeks leading up to that day I trained and shadowed other coaches. I was uncomfortable watching my fellow athletes, analyzing their movement patterns, AND then telling them what they did wrong. 

Earlier this year I was appointed the general manager of the CrossFit gym I had walked into uncomfortably ten years ago. At our coaches meeting, our owner asked me to say a few words to the coaches, and again I was uncomfortable. 

Growing up, talking to people had never been something I sought out. All the signs of being uncomfortable were there: sweating, red in the face, fidgeting, words not coming out right, and little eye contact. Throughout the growing up process I was forced to talk to people in many different situations, including family get-togethers, friend parties, and for work. I grew up and learned how to get through being uncomfortable. It doesn’t mean I don’t still get uncomfortable talking to people or at other times, it means now I know what is on the other side…

Ten years ago, getting uncomfortable trying something new led me to a positive and encouraging community and the opportunity to stay active and pursue my personal fitness goals. 

Five years ago, coaching my first CrossFit class led me to a passion I never knew I had: coaching. 

Earlier this year, my uncomfortable feelings were matched with excitement for the future of our coaching staff and community. I knew while talking in front of the coaching team that my red face, sweaty palms and shakiness meant I was right where I wanted to be. Uncomfortable enough to seek the opportunity for growth that lay ahead.

The word I used to describe the feeling in these situations is uncomfortable. Others might say nervous, painful, anxious…

Every week I meet with a potential new person/client/athlete. It is my job to help them see how this uncomfortable feeling they might be having sitting in front of me could change their life. Little do they know, I am actually as uncomfortable as they are! I have no idea who they are, where they come from, why they are here, and if they will stay. I am also very excited!!! I know what the future holds if they stay: the opportunity for them to meet new people, get their first pull up, gain energy to play with their kids, and increase their self confidence. For me it is the opportunity to continue to coach them and learn more about why they are here.

Almost every day I work with athletes who are trying a new skill. I can tell they are uncomfortable, unsure of how it should feel, and anxious about how ridiculous they think they look. I become animated and express that yes they do look a little ridiculous, but that just means there is so much opportunity to get better! 

Every day I am a little sore in a new place. A new muscle has been worked and lets me know it’s growing. Today it might be uncomfortable and difficult to walk up the stairs, but I know tomorrow it will be easier than last month. 

Once a month at least we have a partner workout in class. These are some of my favorite days both as an athlete and a coach. As a coach, it is fun to watch the athletes look around and wonder who will ask them to be their partner, or who will do all the burpees for them in the workout. At this moment everyone looks a little uncomfortable. But by the end of the class? Everyone has learned something about themselves and their partner and is excited to potentially partner up with them again. 

The people who get a little uncomfortable tend to be the people who grow the most. Whether you are a current athlete at our gym, a potential new athlete, or just someone nice enough to read this whole blog, I encourage you to embrace being uncomfortable, to even seek it out. Know that on the other side is a ton of opportunity for change! 

Coach Emily

PS Writing also makes me uncomfortable… the potential for someone to read it and be positively impacted? Worth it!

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