Today, I’d like to loop you into a new initiative we’ve just started. Each Tuesday I’ll be sharing a “mindset moment” with you, where we discuss simple but profound insights on how to become better leaders. I’m super excited about it, so let’s get started.

A few days ago, I had a conversation with several senior directors of product engineering.

One of them, a very experienced agile coach and trainer, had just initiated a new continuous improvement initiative. It was both incredible and inspiring to watch him navigate a whole new spectrum of emotions brought about by his new endeavor.

This was a guy who anyone could easily look at and think, “you’re already an expert and you’ve already achieved so much. You’ve constantly been improving your teams’ performance and making your customers happy – so why are you nervous?”

That’s when he said something that really struck me:

“It doesn’t matter what I’ve done in the past. Every time we put ourselves out there and do something new, the same emotions – the fear, the doubt, the stress, the maxing out, the feeling like you’re running a million miles a minute, the indecision, and all the decisions that need to be made – all of those feelings are the same and all of those feelings show up every time we decide to do something new, bigger, and greater.”

When we start a new agility initiative, we’re stepping into uncharted territory. You might be tempted to think that because you’ve done it before you won’t feel the same feelings all over again. Guess what, it’s not going to happen! You will always feel uncomfortable and unsure. That’s the not-so-good news.

Now for the good news:

Feelings of discomfort, doubt, or even fear are normal. You feel these feelings because you’re pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. You feel these feelings because you are growing.

I’ve been in this game for 15 years now and I can tell you, I still continue to feel fear, doubt, overwhelm, and indecision all the time.

Here’s a simple mindset shift I’m proposing you try:

Instead of fighting against the uncomfortable feelings that make you want to pull the brakes, instead of running against them, embrace them. Because they are normal (they really are!). Tell yourself the following story:

“If I am feeling afraid and uncomfortable, it means I’m doing something bigger and better than before.”

We expect a lot out of ourselves, and sometimes those expectations aren’t realistic. We want to get all the good results without having to go through any pain or failure. We want to be as close to perfect as possible.

I struggle with this, too. So this is a reminder to both of us to celebrate those feelings of discomfort instead of pushing them away because it means that together we’re growing and doing bigger, more courageous things.

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