Momentum Podcast: 809
Step Into Discomfort, On Purpose
by Alex Charfen
When I look back at my life as an entrepreneur, I reflect on the things that I could have done better. Interactions I've had with people, times I've been reactive, situations where I lost self-control and affected those around me.
Full Audio Transcript
This is the Momentum podcast.
Today, I want to share something with you that is crucially important for us as entrepreneurs. It is a concept and a practice that I use to make difficult things in my life, easier to make myself less trigger able and more present and aware
And I want to be able to to take the difficult things in lLife and put them first rather than procrastinating and doing them later. And I think this podcast and the concept I'm going to share could be life changing for you. I know it has been absolutely life changing for me.
I'm Alex Charfen and this is the Momentum podcast made for Empire Builders Game Changers, trailblazers, shot takers, record breakers, world makers and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and we are obsessed with creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution. Should we pay attention to their rules, but only so that we can bend them, break them, then rewrite them around our own will? We don't accept our destiny. We define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop and we don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority. The few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future. And instead of just daydreaming of what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters, clearly the most important people in the world, because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution. And we always will be. So I'll give you a little context.
You might be able to hear some wind noise in the background. You might hear some of the water in my pool, in the background. I'm in the backyard of our house. And I just got out of my cold plunge and I just did about five and a half minutes in 45 degree water. And I. It is one of the most stimulating and progressive things that I do in my life. And I don't want to make this podcast just about cold plunges. I actually want to share with you the concept behind why I do the cold plunge, why I do things like CO2 holds, why I do heavy resistance training, and why I purposely step into discomfort in my life. Now, I want to give you a little background on me as an entrepreneur. You know, I've I've I'm 49 years old. And I when I look back on my life and I look back at my twenties and my thirties in my early forties, and as my life has progressed, what I've realized in retrospect, that there has definitely been times in my life where I have been living really in a triggered state, living in a state of not being in my body, living in a state of being trigger able like crazy because I'm living right on the edge. And then for long periods of time, living in a state where I probably was just triggered all the time and responding from a place of not the highest levels of awareness, responding from a place of not the highest levels of consciousness, and responding from a place of a lot of emotions that I wasn't even recognizing and a lot of feelings that I wasn't even recognizing. And when I look back on those times, I know that there was decisions I made, there was interactions I had with other people. That was ways that I treated other people that today I know I could have done better, you know, and I could have I wouldn't take it away because I've learned from all those things. But I know I could have done better. And I have had this obsession in my life for most of my life. Maybe you feel something that I want to be better. I want to get better at what I'm doing. I want to be better at who I am. I want to be a better person. I want to be a better businessperson. I want to be a better husband, a better father, a better partner, a better CEO, a better leader. You know, I've always wanted to get better at what I'm doing. And there's a ton of different things that I've done, you know, learning and going to events and absorbing things from other people. There's so many ways to improve who you are and what you can do. But one of the most effective strategies that I've used is purposely stepping into discomfort, purposely doing things that are uncomfortable, that are good for you, but really uncomfortable. And I might even say like a little terrifying. When I first started getting in cold water, it was one of the scariest things that I ever did. In fact, I might have shared this on the podcast already. I think I have. But years ago when my friend Shane Saunders flew over from Australia and got me in a cold plunge in my poor, which was probably about 45 degrees, I had a breakdown, I got in cold water and I had an emotional reaction. I started crying. I felt completely panicked. I felt like I was in my pool forever. I kept trying to get out and Shane kept saying, No, get back in. And then when I finally got out that Mike, how long was I in there? How many minutes was it? And Shane looked at me with kind of a funny look on his face, and he's like, Alex, it was a minute and. It was challenging. It was difficult. It was frustrating that I had had that big a reaction to it. And honestly, I didn't I didn't do it again for a while. And then I kept thinking about it and I kept reading about cold plunges and I read all the benefits. And by the way, if you haven't ever tried a cold plunge or if you haven't heard of some of the benefits, I'll just give you a few. Like getting in cold water reduces inflammation in the body. It helps in so many different ways with our physiology. And it gives you the studies are somewhere around 2 to 3 times as much dopamine circulating in your body after a cold plunge as you have before. And so today I was having kind of a difficult day. I got up this morning and had to take my daughter, no appointment. They ran really late. I was frustrated with that. There was some other stuff that I wanted to get done that I didn't get done. I was feeling kind of tired. I don't know if I didn't sleep well last night. I think I maybe had like some very vivid dreams that I that had interrupted my sleep. And so today has not been like a 100%. I'm feeling great day. And I just came down, got into this five minute call. And I can tell you right now talking to you that I feel so many times better, exponentially better. And I know all those physiological benefits are there. I know that the dopamine benefit is there. But here's one of the biggest benefits for me over time of getting into a cold plunge, or, like I said, heavy resistance training or CO2 tolerance holds. But today I'm just going to talk about the cold plunge. The one of the biggest benefits for me is that when I come down here and every single day that I do a cold point, I have to talk to myself into it. I'm never like really looking forward to the actual event. I'm looking forward to the aftermath. I'm looking forward to how it feels afterwards. But every day I have to talk myself into the tank into well, it's more of a tub out here in the backyard. We actually use a product that you can look at, the cold plunge scheme, amazing products and they were in our program just it's I've had it for a few years now and it's just bullet proof and every day I have to talk to myself into it. But I get into it. I overcome that fear of the cold water. I overcome the discomfort of the cold water. I get in and I do some breathwork exercises to regulate my nervous system so I can stay in the water. You know, my body tells me the second I get in, it's like, okay, you need to get out of here. And so I breathe, I calm down, I regulate my nervous system. I do some breathwork exercises and. I'm able to stand there these days. I mean, I can go ten, 12, 15 minutes in the cold punch if I want to. The day was just a little bit over five. And here's what that does for me. Not only do I have all the physiological benefits that I just shared with you, but psychologically, cognitively, what happens is I become less trigger able. I become less on edge by a huge margin from what I know myself to have been in the past. Because going through that process of calming myself, going through that process of stepping into discomfort on purpose actually makes it so that if later on in the day something happens where I normally would be triggered and I normally would have a reaction, I might have an automatic reaction, it actually slows that down for me. And because my nervous system has been purposefully regulated. Around something that's uncomfortable, when something uncomfortable happens and I'm not ready for it, my nervous system already pre regulates and in my experience now having done this five or six times a week, sometimes as much as seven times a week for a few years, is that when I'm in an uncomfortable situation, there's a part of my mind that can actually be the observer and say, Hey, why are you uncomfortable? And what part of this is making you uncomfortable? And what is what's it what's a better reaction than the reaction you might have instinctively? And what's a better way to look at this than just reacting and just having a reaction and and, you know, fighting what's going on. And that has been for me as a business owner, as a leader, as a father, as a husband, that has been invaluable because I actually have been able to slow things down to the point where I can see, man, this is the reaction I would have had. You know, like I'll use a nondescript example, but let's say that one of my kids says something that really frustrates me. You know, in the past, I might have immediately said, hey, you know, I don't want you to say those things. And, you know, what do you mean you're you're doing that? You know, I remember years ago walking through a sporting goods store with my daughter, Reagan, when she was really small. And she said something like, Hey, Dad, look, there's bikes over there. We should buy one of those bikes because my mind has a flat tire. I need a new one. And in that moment, the first reaction that came to me was a reaction from my childhood, like, what do you mean, you need a new bike? Flat tires don't. You don't need a new bike, you need a new inner tube. And it would be so wasteful to buy a bike, you know, that's just crazy. And I remember pausing and asking her, So why would we buy a new bike? Because you have a flat tire. And she said, Well, Daddy, because when the soccer ball went flat, we had to buy a new one. And so my bike has a flat tire, we need a new one. So she had a perfectly logical explanation for wanting to thinking that that was the solution. But had I reacted in that moment, I would have attacked my daughter for what was logical thinking and she just needed some explanation about it. And it's moments like that where when I have a higher level of awareness and a higher level of presence and more nervous system regulation, I can stop and ask the questions. I can slow down those that childhood programing, that childhood conditioning that I had where, you know, I lived in a house where there wasn't a lot of money. I lived in a house where we were probably barely lower middle class. And there was reactions when we talked about money, there was often fights. When we talked about money, there was often, you know, if one of one of me or my sisters wanted to do something. Oftentimes there was a feeling of uncomfortability in our family because we were going to have to spend money. And today, if Ron Reagan wanted me to buy every bike in the sporting goods store, we could and it wouldn't be a huge hit on our net worth or anything else. We probably wouldn't even feel it. But I still have those reactions from childhood. And so that's one example of when my nervous system is more regulated, when I've stepped into discomfort on purpose, when I've when I've overcome that discomfort through consciously regulating my nervous system. That's one example of how in the present I act in a way that I know makes me better, makes me a better father, makes me a less reactive individual. It makes me a better leader, it makes me a better husband. And so if you've never tried something like doing a cold plunge, I can't recommend it highly enough. If it's something where your mind instantly tells you, Hey, you know, you really don't want to do that, then it's probably something you should do. It's probably something you should try out. And in our membership, you know, I talk about this and I talk about it with my friends and I talk about it with people that I know. And I've had tons of people, both men and women, who've started doing cold plunges. And I get so much of the same feedback that I'm sharing with you. They say things like, you know, I find I'm not arguing with my son as much and I'm doing cold plunges. And how do those two things correlate? Or, you know, I find like I'm I'm a lot less reactive in meetings. I've had people tell me and I know I've experienced this myself. I have an easier time listening to people and I have an easier time hearing what people are saying. And I'm communicating that it was my team or I'm communicating better with my kids. I think when we step into this level of discomfort and we create nervous system regulation, it permeates to every area of our lives. And so if you're an entrepreneurial personality type like me.
If you relate to the. Theory of being an evolutionary hunter, I think that evolutionary hunters throughout history have stepped into discomfort on purpose. That's who we were 10,000 years ago. Would you be that small portion of the human tribe that gets up in the morning, gathers our tools, gathers our weapons, gets together with the other people who are just like us and goes out and kills something that is stepping into discomfort on purpose. And we would regulate and do what we had to do to make that happen. And we don't do that anymore. We don't go out and kill things anymore. But if we can by proxy create discomfort in our lives where we regulate our nervous systems and we allow ourselves to overcome it, I think it makes us better at who we are. I think it makes us better entrepreneurs and it makes us better everywhere in our lives. Do me a favor. If you do end up trying this out, shoot me an email. I sent me a message on social media. I'd love to know how it works for you, and I'd love to know if you do a cold plunge. What benefits did you see from it? And if you already cold plunge excuse me, a message on social media. Make a post, tag me in it and let me know what benefits you've seen. I'd love to hear about them. And if you're interested in getting a quote point yourself, you might want to check out the cold plunge dot com. When the product first came out, I ended up taking one and it's an incredible price product for what it is. It has been bulletproof. Even in Texas where we've had consecutive hundred degree plus days, it has stayed at exactly where the temperature, where we put it. And the owners are exceptionally good guys and it's an incredible team. And they put together a product that I absolutely love. So check them out of the cold plunge econ. And if you use my name, there's a small discount. Full disclosure, I am an affiliate of theirs and you can get some money off on getting yourself an incredible cold plunge and stepping into this this habit. And you don't have to go buy a cold plunge to try this. Before I had this unit, I would just stop on the way home by £10 of ice, fill the tub with cold water, throw the ice in there and jump in and go for it. And so if you do end up trying this out, I'd love to hear about it. And thanks for being the listener, the podcast.