Last night I was rewatching Ted Lasso with my eldest son. So much fun….and so many coaching tips!
On the plane ride to the Uk to start as the new football coach for Richmond FC, Ted is talking to Beard (fellow coach) about the challenges ahead. Ted has never coached football (soccer to Aussies!), only American Football.
“If you’re in the saddle and it’s comfortable, you’re not challenging yourself”.
So let’s talk about comfort entitlement….what exactly does that mean?
It’s like staying where you feel safe. That’s what our brains like. Doing things you know how to do and won’t fail at. Staying in the familiar zone.
To do something new or unknown is scary to our brain and it will tell us many reasons why we shouldn’t do that. As Brooke Castillo of The Life Coach School says, “discomfort is the currency to our dreams.” So what happens when you have a goal you want to achieve, but starting this new plan of action feels uncomfortable and you don’t want to even take the first step? Or you do start the first few steps, but one doesn’t go right so you quit the whole goal? Are we entitled for everything we choose to do to be comfortable?
I have talked before about our primitive (lizard-like middle part) and pre-frontal (newer human decision making part) parts of our brains. Our primitive brain wants to keep us safe:
– conserve energy
– seek immediate pleasure
– avoid immediate pain
It cannot distinguish between discomfort and danger – thus it suggests you abort whatever you are doing if it feels discomfort!
So by understanding our natural programming to stay safe, when deciding a new goal we can anticipate there may be some discomfort along the way and not be surprised when we feel it, and override our brain’s natural instinct to stop.
So here are a few examples of comfort entitlement to share:
– being asked to give a presentation or public speaking. Initial reaction might be “no” as you don’t have time for it or you don’t want to do it. Then the date to give your decision comes ever closer and you start to feel guilty for saying no or become fearful of what someone else might think.
– so actually saying no becomes uncomfortable because of the fear and guilt that arises, and it’s easier to say yes. and do another presentation that you don’t have time to do.
Another example is time management: this comes up a lot in coaching. Sticking to a new schedule can feel quite constrained, restricted, uncomfortable at the beginning and it might be easier to quit than get through the discomfort and see the benefits. Sticking to the plan isn’t comfortable, but doing what you have already been doing isn’t going to get a different outcome.
So how can you change the feeling of discomfort? By changing your thoughts and checking in again and again while your brain adjusts. I am very keen in maintaining one’s nervous system during change that can occur with coaching or going for new goals – smaller steps can really help here.