Growth Hurts: Create Positive Discomfort

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Growth hurts.

Doubt and stress describe growth points. “Growth and comfort do not coexist.” Ginny Rometty, CEO of IBM.

Growth feels good after, not during.

Growth occurs when you think or do things you haven’t already thought or done. New feels awkward. The more it hurts – without breaking or defeating – the more you grow.


If growth hurts, why do it?

Grow yourself because…

You are your contribution.

Growth increases impact and magnifies meaning.


Growth isn’t only about you.

Leaders grow others.

The real question is how can you create positive, useful discomfort for someone else?

New opportunities represent opportunities to grow.

“It may surprise you that your job as an open-door leader is to make people uncomfortable, but good opportunities create discomfort.” Bill Treasurer, “Leaders Open Doors.”

Bill offers three components of positive, purposeful discomfort:

Deliver discomfort in doses

Start with small bites. Don’t ask newbies, for example, to give one hour presentations. Enthusiasm for a “high potential” may motivate you to throw them in the deep end too soon. The goal is growth not defeat.

Create safe discomfort

  1. With. Walk with them and have their back.
  2. Temporary. Permanent discomfort demotivates.
  3. Purposeful. Benefits must be obvious.

“The idea is not to get people to do wildly uncomfortable things, just willfully uncomfortable things.” Bill Treasurer

Model: Seek discomfort yourself

“Throughout my career, I’ve always been willing to take jobs that were outside of my skill set. Some people think that’s crazy, but I’m telling you that I wouldn’t be sitting here as president (of a large communication company) if I had done it any other way.

It’s dangerous to be safe.” From, “Leaders Open Doors.”


Free excerpt of, “Leaders Open Doors.”

Connect with Bill on twitter and Facebook.

Leave a comment tomorrow for a chance to win one of twenty-five copies of, “Leaders Open Doors.”

What role has discomfort played in your growth?

How can leaders create positive discomfort?

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