Be willing to be uncomfortable. Be comfortable being uncomfortable. It may get tough, but it’s a small price to pay for living a dream.
– Peter McWilliams
Somewhere between childhood and the adults we have become, we have forgotten what it’s like to be uncomfortable. We have so many comforts in our lives today from our trusted brand of technology, to our perfected family recipes at Thanksgiving, to our tried and true processes for rescuing animals. Have we forgotten what it is like to learn new things and stretch ourselves to a level of UN-comfort? When you were a child, you likely tried new things without much hesitation. It is how we learn, how we grow and how we invent new pathways in our brains. When was the last time you were uncomfortable in animal rescue? Was it when someone posted a horrid picture of a distressed or abused animal, or when someone else new to the profession suggested a different way of doing things? Being comfortable with being UNcomfortable is a difficult thing for us to try, but try we must if we want to solve the issues of euthanization of healthy animals. We have to try new things and new approaches; we have to engage with new generations of people looking to impact the same issues as we are. We have to be uncomfortable letting go of the tried and true methods and giving something else a shot. Will it work? Maybe yes or maybe no, but you will never know if you do not try.
I try new things all of the time on Doobert and may times they make me very uncomfortable because they are things I am unfamiliar with, or features that may not work. But almost without exception, every new tweak I make, or approach I try that makes me uncomfortable, leads me down a path of new discovery. Something I had not thought of because I was too comfortable that everything worked just fine. Often a volunteer will extend their comfort zone and suggest something new in the form of a feature or function or even a criticism. I hope they feel validated and appreciated when they jump into that mode because it is how I learn, how I can adapt, evolve and continue to build the system to support all of you.
So give it a shot. Force yourself to be uncomfortable today in who you interact with, how you approach a situation or interact with your peers. That short period of uncomfortableness can open new pathways that you may not have considered and help advance the animal welfare cause in a positive way.