I spent the last day of 2017 somewhere I never could have or would have imagined at the start of the year: on a cruise ship. Over the 15 days we were variously at sea or in port, I thought a lot about the year that preceded this voyage. And I thought a lot about where I’d like to go in 2018, both figuratively, in my business and in the rest of my life, and literally. The big take-away from the cruise, though?
Crazy things happen. Stay open.
Sure, there are lots of reasons why this was my very first cruise. Just as there are lots of reasons why I said Yes to this opportunity when it was presented to me, chiefly because it was to celebrate my parents’ 60th Wedding Anniversary.
I could have said No. I could have given it some thought and declined the invitation. [My sister did.] But I said Yes. Instantly. Without hesitation. Even though I had a gut-sense that cruises weren’t for me. I said Yes because it’s important to me to create space for the unexpected to happen, which sometimes means doing things which might feel out-of-character, things that make people says, “Wait. You? You’re doing that?”
Turns out I thrive on discomfort.
What I realized on the cruise is that it’s important to me to be uncomfortable. Like everyone, I crave comfort, but I also know that being uncomfortable is a necessary state, that out of discomfort can come illumination, inspiration, brand new unexpected ideas. This is probably something I’ve honed over the years as a runner, something I’ve learned both intellectually and physically.
On the other side of discomfort:
Because yes, the cruise was uncomfortable. For me. This is ironic, right, since cruises are supposed to be, are for many people, the very definition of comfort. All of your wants anticipated. No dishes. No making the bed. Unlimited food. Ice sculpture. All the necessities of your everyday life taken care of. I knew it would be challenging for this introverted lone wolf who craves freedom of movement and solitude. I knew that.
Did it anyway.
Success in this case? Just saying Yes to something that I suspected would be uncomfortable was a success, so there’s that. Not contracting, shutting down, withdrawing, running away in the face of discomfort: that’s a big deal. Not to mention that despite how weird it all felt, we still managed to carve out fun on our terms, to be silly and laugh and laugh, to eat some good food, to create lasting stories, memories and silly photos that will stay with us always.
Don’t let discomfort stop you. So often what’s just beyond, just on the other side of discomfort, is some big growth for you. Cruise on through.