Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

Written by: April Vargo


This past weekend, my husband had a business trip up in Madison and the Wisconsin Dells, and I was asked to come along.  I love Wisconsin....I went to college there, have friends that live up there, and have a long history of vacationing throughout my childhood and adult life. 

One of the perks of my job is I can work anywhere, as I'm completely remote.  I just had to make sure to bring what was needed for my classes, and make sure I had internet connection.  Other than that I was set to go.  

The weekend was full of both work and fun for the Vargo Duo.  I planned a few activities for our downtime, one of which was stand up paddle boarding.  I should preface this by saying, I am not an athletic person by any means.  I enjoy physical activities but an athlete is the last thing anyone would ever call me.  Anyways, I have had this absolute love affair with SUP.  I had never done it, but thought it looked so relaxing, fun, with a side of a work out. 

Driving out to the lake I started to get nervous, what if I totally stink and embarrass myself in front of people who know what they're doing, what if I fall and can't get back up, what if I never get up to begin with?  Jason, who has been hearing me talk about this for years says, what's the worst that can happen, you fall and you pick yourself up....move on, not a big deal.  It should be noted that Jason had already decided he would be kayaking, so I was definitely riding solo on this.  

Upon arrival, we were given all the necessary equipment, was told how to steer and what to do if a fall does occur.  I was asked to get on the board and would be pushed out, I did what I was told and patiently waited.  I heard a voice, saying, "ma'am you're backwards."  Great, I haven't even left and I can't even get on the board the right way.  I'm pretty sure my dreams of elegancy have completely gone out the window. 

When I finally get into the water, I made sure to get out to the middle of the lake so if I did fall when attempting to stand, no one would really see me.  Jason was next to me in his kayak, and I realized that there was no way I was going to stand.  Every time I moved my feet, got in positive and attempted to stand up, the board would start wafting from left to right leaving me feeling completely off balance and unstable.  Jason, very patiently said he would hold the board steady from his kayak so I could stand up without the feeling of falling.  It worked and I was up! 

I was waiting for the fun to begin.  I realized I had to essentially stand perfectly still, anytime I shifted my weight the board would shift and I would have to get rebalanced.  The sheer amount of muscle and control needed to be elegant and speedy was much more than I expected.  I realized that this is not exactly what I had in mind.  While Jason was speeding along, I was having to work two or three times harder and barely making any headway.  Towards the end of the hour, I started paddling in, and honestly, I don't even know how it happened, but I definitely fell....thrown side-ways, paddle in my hand, into a disgusting little plot of greens / plants, vines, that proceeded to wrap around my leg.  

The board went one way, paddle another, and I'm stuck in some weird extraterrestrial plant.  After freeing myself, getting all of my equipment.  I tried to pull myself up on the board.  This was an epic fail.  I was tired from paddling an hour, couldn't stabilize the board, and to my husband's amusement was getting pretty frustrated.  Again, Jason held the board steady and I pulled myself up.  Secretly, I didn't mind falling in, I was pretty hot and the water felt pretty amazing.  Overall, it wasn't my finest moment. 

After turning everything in, I realized that I had done something I had been wanting to do for a long time, it didn't turn out the way I necessarily envisioned in my mind, but it was successful never-the-less.  I took myself out of my comfort zone, learned something new, put myself in a position to be challenged, and walked away with a different type of success.  I don't see myself rocking the SUP anytime soon, I think I'll stick to kayaking, but I was super proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone. 

I started thinking about this in the bigger picture.  I think so many times we get comfortable with our routines, day-to-day lives, things we like to do, friends we have, etc. that we don't explore or get out of our comfort zones as much as we would like.  We might try a new restaurant every now and again, but when do we do something that scares us?  

I've learned that the things that scare us the most are the ones that make us grow the most.  Opportunities only present themselves to people who are willing to put themselves out there.  I've definitely taken big chances these last two years, but have started getting comfortable again. 

I've started networking more, trying new things, and taking new opportunities.  I have recently set a goal for myself to pursue those big ticket items that I didn't feel I was ready for yet, challenge myself physically, and attempting to do at least one thing that scares me a week.  It may not always turn out the way I planned, but I'm going to learn something, I have a husband who has my back no matter what, and I might find, that what ends up happening is even better than what I hoped for.  

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