Managing Self Values

Mindsets for success: It’s ok to be uncomfortable

Written by Allison Wolf

Two well-known mindsets that promote our resilience and that help set the stage for success are growth mindset and stress positive mindset.  There is a third to consider adopting: the “acceptance of discomfort” mindset.

As human beings, our instinct is to avoid discomfort.  This isn’t bad or a problem in most cases, and yet it can also cause us to make choices that lead us away from learning, opportunities, excellence, and living in accordance to our values.

  • Procrastinating about tackling a tough file.
  • Procrastinating about medical or dental appointments.
  • Not speaking up about something important to us.
  • Shying away from a challenge or opportunity.

More than anything, an acceptance of discomfort mindset empowers us to make our greatest contributions.  The 2018 American Bar Association Medal Award was given to Bryan Stevenson. Mr. Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer who has dedicated his career to helping the poor, the incarcerated and the condemned.  In his speech, he called lawyers to get uncomfortable and deepen commitment to justice. (That link will take you to some excerpts from his ABA speech and a video clip.)

Think for a moment, is there anything important that you are avoiding right now because it is uncomfortable?

Try accepting that discomfort comes with the territory of learning.  It is a necessary experience on the path to professional excellence.  It is a sign that what you are doing is important.

Reach inside for the courage to be uncomfortable in support of taking action that matters.






About the author

Allison Wolf

I am the founder of AWAL and one of the most senior coaches for lawyers in North America. I have helped countless clients over the past fifteen years, develop thriving legal practices and before that served as director of marketing for award-winning law firms. My specialty is uncovering the thinking traps and gaps holding clients back and helping them acquire the mindsets, skills, and habits for growing successful and rewarding legal careers. After a career in legal marketing and business development with law firms in Beijing, New York, and Vancouver, I was trained as a coach in 2004 at Royal Roads University and now coach clients from across North America. You can reach me at or learn more about my coaching practice from the coaching section of the Attorney With A Life Website.

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