Would you like to have more confidence when it comes to being around other people? Would it bring joy and ease to your life to feel more comfortable speaking up, sharing your perspectives, being more authentically yourself in the world? Would you like to finally stop worrying so much about what other people think about you?

Welcome to another episode of The Art of Extraordinary Confidence, with Dr. Aziz. If you’re here, it’s for one foundational reason: to develop your confidence and liberate yourself from fear and anxiety.

We all want to feel more free, strong, and secure in our social interactions . . . but for many of us, that goal turns into a lifelong struggle. Why is social confidence such a challenge for such a large percentage of the population?

Because it’s not comfortable.

Fact: the path to becoming the person that you want to be, gaining the confidence that you need, and developing the abilities you want is the path of discomfort.

The path you’re likely on at this very moment is the path of comfort—it’s the path that you’re used to.

Now, you might be saying, “Hold on there a minute, Dr. Aziz—I’m not enveloped in comfort: I’ve done some hard work!”

Sure, I’ll give you that. You’ve made some moves (that’s exactly what has brought you here today)—but if your life is mostly “comfort-centric,” then you’re never going to experience the things you want.

Let’s be realistic: no one can expect to live in discomfort all the time. We need breaks. We need to rest at the end of the day, take vacations, and enjoy a “mental health day” here or there. But over the years, I’ve come to understand just how much work it takes to create a life of abundance and develop the confidence it takes to make that happen. I’m an unbridled optimist when it comes to human potential, but I can also see when a client isn’t reaching his (or when he looks like he never will because he’s not consistently pushing his edge of comfort).

You can either be committed to comfort or committed to getting what you want out of life—you can’t be committed to both.

So, which one is it for you?

Now, bear with me, here. Before you decide on the path of comfort and run away in a panic, let me assure you that there are plenty of ways to work WITH your discomfort to yield a positive result.

For the purposes of today’s discussion, we’re going to focus on the most basic (yet effective) strategy: seeking out situations of discomfort.

I have always known that I will not personally commit to discomfort if given the option to shy away. I have to plunge myself into environments of personal discomfort like diving into a pool (some of us just know that we’ll never take the leap if we dip our toes in first).

What does that mean, though—environments of discomfort?

An environment of discomfort is any physical social situation or place—work, love, or friend related—that throws you off balance.

This can be different for each of us. Some people are incredibly uncomfortable at large parties; some are terrified of more intimate gatherings. Some people hate sharing their ideas in office meetings; others can’t stand the thought of mingling with clients at dinner.

For me, it’s numbers.

I’ve always hated the business side of things. Sure, I have loved dreaming up my personal business and making it a reality, but I could not be more averse to going over accounts, crunching numbers, and looking at spreadsheets—it’s my nightmare.

Unfortunately, it’s an essential part of my particular dream. From the moment I got into psychology, I’ve been all about the person-to-person work. As a resident working in clinical situations, I wanted to test every possible idea in my mind for helping my patients—I would want to take them out into the real world for exposure experiences and challenge them in unconventional ways. As most of you can probably guess, however, that approach was not exactly conducive to the legal policies for our clinic. My desire to use the most effective methods and reach as many people as possible led to an epiphany: I need to start my own practice and take it to the internet!

Hence, I’ve had to spend the last fifteen years or so attending yearly conferences on everything from financial statements and project management to leadership and human resources. These conferences consist of multiple eight- or nine-hour days, and they’re excruciating for me: I can’t stay focused, I hate sitting still, and the seemingly endless barrage of number-crunching activities drives me bonkers.

And yet, each time I go to one of these conferences, I walk away more informed, empowered, and confident in running my business than I went in. The experience changes me and helps me to grow.

No matter what you want to accomplish in life, there will be at least one element of discomfort required to do it well.

For me, what I really want is to spread social confidence wherever I go. But creating and running the business that allows me to do it—my element of discomfort—is necessary to that end.

For years, I’ve had friends who are geniuses in the business world make brilliant suggestions regarding my business, but I’ve always brushed the suggestions off thinking they were too hard to incorporate (or making some other excuse). When I attend these conferences, I am putting myself in a situation that forces me to change and see things in a new light. It’s not just the content—it’s the people and the atmosphere; it’s the exercise of actually doing it; it’s the practice. When I go to them, I may be miserable for a while, but there is a transformational moment in which I suddenly realize that I am really “getting it.”

That is the power of the environment.

Your goal may be to become more bold and authentic, but in order to reach that goal, you much put yourself into situations that force you to behave that way.

I don’t work well in a bubble—I don’t push myself as hard as I do when other people are around. For ultimate effectiveness, I need to feel like I’m being pushed and challenged.

This concept doesn’t just apply to social situations that intimidate you: it also applies to your learning and growth. We don’t make radical transformations on our own—true progress requires immersion. That’s why I’ve included so many resources into my coaching that provide support, guidance, and an atmosphere of community. If you want to immerse yourself in confidence development surrounded by the benefit of like-minded individuals, then that experience is available to you through DrAziz.com in several forms, including three-day online events, ongoing group programs, and year-long Masterminds.

Whether you choose to join these programs with me or not, the right resource for you IS out there . . . but you have to do the work to find it.

Find something to immerse yourself in, starting today! Too many people go through life prioritizing comfort over-commitment, and they never get the results they want. You have the power to change your course. What priorities will you choose?

As always, I ask that you please share your comments and questions below. What situations are the most intimidating for you? How could immersing yourself in those situations benefit your life? What changes could you make right now to step further outside of your comfort zone and push the edges of your confidence? You’re all doing amazing work. Let’s keep it up!

Until we speak again, may you have the courage to be who you are and to know on a deep level that you’re awesome.