The pathway to success, and why growth occurs in discomfort

Last week, I started full-time in the first Australian Antler cohort in Sydney. Antler is a startup generator program that focuses on creating the next wave of tech companies. They had over 1,000 applicants but accepted only 71 amazing humans of which I was fortunate enough to be one. Some may consider this a success but at the end of week one, I found myself questioning if this is success, why do I feel so uncomfortable?

The timing for me could not have been better as I was just about to build a piece of technology to address the challenge of navigating the pace and scale of change that so many are struggling to deal with. I wanted to use tech to amplify skill in intentional adaptability and help us relearn the power of being human. Antler provided the opportunity to do this, surrounded by an amazing community of coaches and mentors.

Every Friday, I undertake a little reflection process that helps me connect with the week that was, and reset by carrying what I’ve learned into the week ahead. It’s my way of continuing my practice of intentional adaptability. So, at the end of week one in Antler, you may be surprised to discover that my little reflection process uncovered that I felt uncomfortable, intrigued and excited all at the same time.

Let me show you how this reflection process works and peel back the layers on why I feel this way in the hope that you may find this quick weekly exercise as powerful as I do.

How do I feel?

Uncomfortable, questioning, open, intrigued, excited.

Why do I feel this way?

Because...

  • I’m surrounding myself with people who challenge me to look at the world through a different lens, people who have loads of experience in the startup, tech, and product development space - 57% have previously worked in a startup, 12% previously founded a startup with +$1m revenue and 14% have exited a company as a founder or executive.
  • I’m being challenged to think bigger and broader than what I have previously.

What made me feel good this week?

  • Investing significantly to connect with other cohort members and learn about who they are, their experiences and the types of businesses they are passionate about building.
  • Participating in Sprint sessions where we work on creating business models with diverse groups. Using these sessions to listen, observe human behaviour, how people approach a problem and their styles of working. 

What didn’t make me feel great this week?

  • I was narrowly focused on my business idea which impacted my ability to be more open to evolution.
  • I allowed myself to be distracted way too much by my phone and computer during sessions.
  • I drank too much coffee and wine and didn’t feel as alert or energised as I normally do.

How will I intentionally adapt to make the most of next week?

  • I will actively seek out those in the cohort I’m curious about and ask them to challenge my thinking and ideas in order to make them better.
  • I will turn off my tech during learning sessions and focus on being present by using my notebook. I will place the word curious at the centre of my mind maps and write my insights around this.
  • I will cut back the coffee and bring along herbal tea to substitute.

Growth occurs in discomfort

When I undertake this reflection, it helps remind me that no matter what amazing opportunities come my way I’m still evolving, learning and trying to be a better version of me. I can only achieve this if I actively seek out the uncomfortable and challenge myself to be open and curious in the process. The opportunity to be a part of Antler, regardless of the outcome at the end of this eight-week intensive is providing me with the space to do exactly that. The way I look at it I can’t lose. I will have 70+ new connections, a truckload more knowledge about how to build a business that creates impact globally, and I will have stretched myself in ways I hadn’t even considered.

This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Read the original here.

Penny Locaso is an Antler Entrepreneur in Sydney. She is also the founder and CEO of B.Kindred, a professional training organisation with the aim to teach 10 million people how to future-proof happiness by 2025. She is also a Guest Lecturer at NASA's Singularity University.

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