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  • Amina Aitsi-Selmi

Relief vs Peace of Mind [Wise Wednesdays]

When going through a transition in your career or leadership approach, it can be confusing to know which opportunities to take.

Change entails getting out of a routine (i.e. your comfort zone) and that brings discomfort. From there you have 2 options:

Option 1: relieve the discomfort by going back to your routine.

Option 2: work through the discomfort (hello hero’s journey).

Legend in the Making: B is one of my global clients who is working on transforming the face of African conservation. She was invited to bring her team to scope a project that would implement the new Stewardship approach to land (dismantling old colonial structures and putting power back into the hands of the local people). But she was terrified of having to deal with poachers and private companies. She’d had very bad experiences and her energy wouldn’t settle. She was thinking of cancelling the project. But I had her back and we worked on shifting her leadership and communication strategy which helped to hold the discomfort of the challenging process so she could continue with her mission. We redesigned the process so that she drew on more support from her team, defined the terms of engagement with the stakeholders in a way that worked for her needs, released old ‘enemy images’, and transformed her communication so that she turned her fears into specific requests and clear boundaries. Result: she and her team not only delivered on the scoping project which advanced the whole agenda but she also strengthened the team culture and ways of working which was incredibly rewarding for my her and grew the team’s confidence.

In other words, B could have given up unnecessarily if her objective was to get rid of the discomfort activated by the project.

With practice, it becomes easier to know where you are simply trying to avoid the discomfort of change and where you’re causing yourself unnecessary stress. A transformational coach will guide you if you’re unsure.

Here are 3 signs to help you identify if you’re just avoiding the discomfort of change and know that it’s best to embrace the discomfort than get rid of it:

1) You have go-to distractions: you start to notice that you’re always using a particular excuse, a type of food or a relationship pattern that takes up your energy that alleviates the discomfort while taking you no further forward.

2) You are haunted by the opportunity/idea: the idea/opportunity keeps coming back into your thoughts when you’re relaxed/not busy or even in your dreams!

3) You feel both excitement and fear: when you think of the idea/opportunity you experience an enlivening combination of feelings that teeter on the edge between fear and excitement.

[For more signs that you’re just going through a challenging phase of change and if you’ve just joined Wise Wednesday, watch this past WW video [Warning: it goes into intense aspects of the emotional cycle of change!]

Most of the time, my job as a transformational coach is to help my clients recognise where they’re bumping up against the edge of their comfort zone and partnering with them to cross it, so they can create the career and life they truly want.

It’s not about relieving discomfort but about transforming it into creative energy. This energy can then be used to create a new trajectory that aligns with a deeper sense of peace and fulfilment.

Have a great week,


1) Self-Coach: Amplify your influence with simple exercises from the Leaders Circle [Download PDF]

2) Read: Get the free chapter from The Success Trap book if you haven’t already.

3) Group learning: Join the RSA Speedcoaching session (Meet new people and sharpen your coaching skills as a leader or coach). Free registration here >>

4) 1:1 and small group coaching: Let's explore what it might look like to work together and experience powerful coaching that will cut through the noise and leave you with 1-3 clear steps towards the career and life you truly want. Book an Exploratory Coaching Conversation >>

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