I’m not sure if improvement and comfort are always mutually exclusive, but it sure feels like you rarely can have them both at the same time. This morning, my training for the GORUCK event involved getting soaking wet, using a water hose, and then going on a four-mile ruck with my 45-pound pack. I did this because, during the GORUCK event, I will have to jump in a pool, lake or some other body of water and then ruck a long distance, so I better train for it now.
I’m doing all of this, the crazy physical training, the miles of rucking, everything, so that I can improve and be ready for my event, but, it’s not comfortable. Every work out day is a grind. Every time my alarm goes off at 4:25 am it is drudgery to get up, get ready and then do a workout that I know is going to suck.
This is where a new phrase I’ve been introduced to is helping me. “Embrace the suck.” They even have a patch for it! Embracing the suck means that I won’t seek to avoid the discomfort of my training, instead, I will embrace it. I am choosing to embrace the early hours, grueling workouts, physical exhaustion and mental hurdles that are required to reach my goal. I will do what is hard, knowing that in doing it, I’m improving and getting closer to my goal.
Embracing the suck is great for working out, but also for work, for leadership, and for being a dad or husband or friend. A great example of this is going to the pool with my kids. Last year at the pool I didn’t get in a lot because I don’t like to be cold and swim in cold water. My kids don’t mind a cold pool, they can be shaking and turning blue and will try to convince me (and themselves) that the water is just fine! This year at the pool I’m going to choose improvement as a dad over comfort as a person. I’m going to jump in that water and play with my kids like there is no tomorrow. Because, I’m realizing more and more that tomorrow will be over too quickly, and my opportunities to launch them into the pool like a cannonball from heaven are limited. So, I’ll embrace the suck of the cold water so that I can embrace the moment with my kids.
Improvement in any area of life involves some discomfort. I believe the growth is almost always worth it. I’m choosing to embrace the suck in lots of areas of my life, knowing it will make me a better person in the long run.