I’m back from my very first GLOW Women’s Hiking Retreat, and honestly, I’m still on a bit of a high. I loved being able to share the weekend with 11 fabulous women, focusing on the theme of rest (I know, ironic ), being in nature, away from screens and without the emotional and mental load we usually carry. I was curious to know if I would feel the same way I did last time I did the hike, considering I was running a retreat this time, rather than just having the experience. And I can honestly say that I did. I felt tired from the physical challenge, and at times discomfort, of walking long stretches on the sand with 15kg+ on my back, but so wholly rested in every other way. There’s something about 3 days in nature that just does something for the soul.

It got me thinking (and chatting with some of the women on the hike) about the topic of discomfort and our relationship to it.

As humans, we are wired to avoid pain and discomfort. But when we always choose the path of least discomfort, we stop challenging the boundaries of our comfort zone and we miss out on the opportunities for growth.

It’s something that comes up in my work a lot:

  • I see women who are afraid to move because of pain.
  • I see women who are playing it ‘safe’, worried about injury.
  • I see women who have lost trust in their body.

I see it as one of my key roles to help women understand their discomfort or pain, to know what their body is telling them, to know when to push through and when to hold back. Even with the women in my GLOW10 Tribe, I emphasise that strength training can be uncomfortable at times, because lifting weights heavy enough to build muscle mass can feel like hard work 

But what about instead of just tolerating discomfort, we actually sought it out?

In one of my rabbit hole deep dives, I came across this study published in 2022 about the benefits of seeking out discomfort.

It found, in a series of five experiments involving over 2,100 participants, that individuals who intentionally sought discomfort, as opposed to those who didn’t seek out this kind of vulnerability:

  • were more engaged in their activities
  • felt more motivated to keep going
  • believed they made more progress toward their goals
  • were more likely to take creative risks that can aid in problem-solving when challenged
  • felt a greater sense of achievement when the experience was over

I certainly found all of these things to be true for the women on the hiking retreat, but I also see it every day in my work. I see women building self awareness, motivation, resilience and confidence every time they consciously nudge the boundaries of their comfort zone.

And I am abso-bloody-lutely here for it. I’m here for all of it.