I have started taking cold showers. I know I am not alone in this – it seems to be quite the personal development thing at the moment. This is an experience I can’t say I particularly enjoy, even after doing it for more than a year. But I get so much out of it – not just the ongoing benefits to my mental and physical health, but also lessons for life through observing myself as I do this.
For example, just before I hope under the ice cold water, without fail I start telling myself that I don’t want to do this. That it will be too painful. That I can’t handle it.
And then I do it anyway. The truth is I can handle it. It is 180 seconds of discomfort, and I can stay with that discomfort for as long as I need to. From this I remember that while there are going to be moments of my day I know will be uncomfortable, I have the power and agency to to choose to enter into them, and the will to stay with that feeling until the moment passes.
After talking with my guest for this week, Penny Locaso, one of the lingering thoughts I have is the importance of being comfortable with discomfort. Penny tells the amazing story of a keynote she gave recently about authentic leadership. As a woman who is leading the way in challenging the status quo of what it means to work, and how to be well and happy in today’s context, giving a heartfelt and inspiring talk on the topic probably would have come easily to her.
But she wanted to do more than talk. She wanted to show what she meant; to put herself out there in such a way that it would make it a little bit easier for those who were listening to find their courage to act. How to do this? Why not deliver the speech in her bathers.
Through this act of courage, and of showing what it means to be comfortable in the discomfort of life, Penny not only inspired her audience to enter into their own discomfort, but created a viral buzz that is continuing to inspire people today.
Penny is about two years into a shift from being a corporate executive at Shell to working for herself. In that time she has going from realising the misalignment of her work and life with her values, to creating a way of living full of purpose and connection, and incremental steps towards happiness.
Penny is energetic and full of insights, and I hope you enjoy listening to our conversation.