The Discomfort Zone

It’s day 8 and I’m in my “dorm room”. This morning I wanted to cry as I looked at financial statements, case studies and balance sheets – I wonder at times what I have gotten myself into. Am I in the right place? When I tell myself to trust the process, I realize it’s all going to be okay. I’m one of 165 students in this Executive Education course at Harvard, of which only 17% are women. I missed out on an Ivy League education the first go-around and feel grateful that I got myself here twenty-plus years out of college.

It's a humbling experience, being here at Harvard. My colleagues include a famous movie producer, titans of industry, small business owners and are all entrepreneurs. We are all here to study business models, dissect case studies, learn from each other and immerse ourselves for 22 days of learning. I’m not a math, accounting or finance person but I do know how to count time. And the funny thing about time is the less you have, the more you make of it. Kind of like getting older.

Since my days are starting with class at 7:30 am and sometimes going until 8 pm, where I fit my workout in is paramount. For the seventh day in a row the alarm is set for 5:20 with the expectation that I will be at the gym or doing yoga with my living group by 6 am sharp. As you can imagine on a campus full of high achievers, all the gym machines are occupied by 6:15 am.

Am I a morning person? No!!! Not any more than I am a numbers persons. But in order to grow one needs to push oneself into the Discomfort Zone. And as long as I am in one Discomfort Zone  – I may as well be in two. Plus the prospect of sitting for 12-hour days scares me.

Let’s talk nutrition as it goes hand in hand with cognitive function, clarity, learning and of course weight management. Breakfast is protein. Something simple, like eggs. Lunch – lots of cooked greens and maybe a little protein (no carbs as I want to stay awake in the afternoon). Dinner – soup, salad and more protein. Limited snacks throughout the day, just enough to keep the blood sugar stable and the energy high. The brain does live on glucose after all! Lots of water, tea and some coffee (mostly decaf). By my bedside table – BrainGear, probiotics and more water to stay hydrated….

Every day I wonder if I am going to “get this” – complete this course, improve functions at YogaFit, and touch more people’s lives. And every day I tell myself to stay present and let the process and the Universe guide me. This is my Discomfort Zone.


Beth Shaw