Editor’s Letter: Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable (Plus What’s Trending On 30Seconds This Week) by Elisa Schmitz
Growing up, I was the only girl on my little league baseball team. It wasn’t the most comfortable situation: I took a lot of teasing, and so did some of my teammates – simply because I was on the team. Then there were those who doubted my ability, solely based on my gender. Many times, members of opposing teams would single me out as a possible weak link. Whether they thought I’d be an easy strikeout or they should hit to wherever I happened to be playing because I’d likely drop the ball, extra pressure was always on. Which is why it was so satisfying to see their faces when I proved them wrong.
In fact, my team ended up winning the city championships. And I was the one who caught the would-have-been-a-game-winning-homerun fly ball cracked hard way out to center field, where – mouth full of chewing gum – I ran back back back, mitt raised to the sky until I found the perfect spot where ball met glove. After our victory I was interviewed for the local TV news, and I remember feeling pretty excited – and very relieved to not have dropped that ball! – at the achievement, and it stuck with me.
The lesson? Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. It seems so simple, yet it’s not so easy – especially for girls. That’s why it’s my first tip for aspiring female entrepreneurs (I shared more of my tips recently on the Dad Time Out Show with Michael Kennedy).
Being the only female – whether in business or baseball – can be very uncomfortable, which is often enough to stop us in our tracks. But just because something feels uncomfortable, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Being different – whether because of gender, ethnicity, sexual preference, religion, ability or other reason – doesn’t have to be a disadvantage. In fact, your difference can be your superpower.
In my baseball situation, because the doubters singled me out as a failure based on one data point, I was like a stealth bomber: they just didn’t see me coming until it was too late. My difference became not only my superpower, but also one for my entire team. So I decided to own that stealth-bomber-ness. I learned to just be myself and to be confident in my differences. The confidence that came from owning my differences has served me well in my career and throughout my entire life.
This works equally well for adults as it does for young people, so get comfortable being uncomfortable – no matter your age. Have an “uncomfortable” story to share? I’d love to hear it!
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