Transcript: Why Discomfort is Your Friend

by Allegra M. Sinclair  - June 6, 2023

I’m pleased to offer AI-generated transcripts for each of my podcast episodes. I believe these transcripts will be a helpful resource for you to revisit the wisdom and insights shared in the conversations. However, as advanced as technology is, it might not perfectly capture or interpret some words or phrases, especially industry-specific jargon or names. Therefore, please understand that there may be minor typos or grammar inconsistencies in the transcripts.

Intro: Welcome to Your Confident Self, the podcast that empowers women to step into their boldest, most confident selves. I’m your host, Allegra Sinclair, and I’m here to help you unleash your full potential in every area of your life. From the boardroom to the dance floor will explore practical strategies and mindset shifts that will help you show up as your most confident self in every situation. Join me each week as I either bring you a lesson straight from my own executive coaching practice or I dive into conversations with inspiring women who have overcome their own fears and self doubt to achieve amazing things. From entrepreneurs and executives to artists and athletes, my guests will share their stories and insights so you can learn from their experiences and apply their lessons to your own life. Whether you’re ready to ask for that promotion, start your own business, or simply feel more confident in your own skin, your Confident Self is the podcast for you. So grab your headphones and get ready to unlock your full potential.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Hey, this is Allegra. Welcome to the show. Today is a big girl panties kind of episode, so I want you to go grab them, pull them up, get a pen, get a pencil, get what you need, because our topic today will require you to show up as your complete and full self. My guest today, Christina Ramirez, is a best selling author and an award winning empowerment coach. Her focus is on helping clients redefine what’s possible for themselves, their families, their communities, their companies. She’s written a book called Empowered by Discomfort. I’m going to have her tell you what compelled her to write that book, but we’re going to dive deep in today into how we can get comfortable with discomfort, how we can fall in love with discomfort, how we can make friends with discomfort. Because there is nothing to fear in discomfort and in fact, a lot that we can gain. So help me welcome Christine to the show. Hi, Christina.

Cristina Ramirez: Hi, Allegra. Thank you for having me. I’m so excited to be here.

Allegra M. Sinclair: You are very welcome. I was fascinated the minute I heard that you talk about discomfort, because I think my entire 1st 20 years of life, my main focus was avoiding discomfort at all costs and not just avoiding my own discomfort, but making sure the people around me were also not experiencing any discomfort. So tell us a little bit about your journey and how you ended up focusing on all the deliciousness that we can find inside that unexpected thing.

Cristina Ramirez: Sure. So I was like, you right. Who wants to be uncomfortable? It’s like, no. And in fact, I hated it so much that I spent a large part of my 20s avoiding it and numbing it with drugs and alcohol, and I had a huge addiction problem, and I ended up in a psych ward, and I’ve been sober now for like 20 something years. So thank you. I’m not embarrassed about those stories because I have compassion for that girl. It’s not who I am anymore. But I really did not want to feel the feels. So that got me into a pickle. And then I got sober, I got married, I had kids, I had this dream life, and everything that I wanted that I thought I wasn’t going to get before I got sober, I got all the things that I thought to find happiness. I had I lived like this idyllic life. And then in 2021, my husband got diagnosed with cancer. And seven weeks later he died. And he did.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I’m sorry. Seven weeks?

Cristina Ramirez: Seven weeks. It was very fast. It was very traumatic. We were eleven days in the ICU and he actually asked to be taken off life support. Talk about discomfort. Right. I cannot explain the sadness and the grief and the panic and the emotion that comes with that. And I was holding his hand as he took his last breath and thinking of my kids and what do I do now? Right? But even in that horrible it was the most horrible moment of my life. But even then, there was a little light inside of me that said, we’ve been here before, it’s going to be okay. Like the way you feel now, you’re not going to feel forever. And it was that little light that kind of helped me through my first year of grief as a widow. And the book draws on that, so whoo.

Allegra M. Sinclair: That’s weighty.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I am sorry.

Cristina Ramirez: Thank you.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I remember standing there with my mom when she took her last breath. I don’t pretend to know what you were feeling, but in that moment, I was immediately transported back to what I was feeling in that, and it gave me pause for a couple of moments over here and seven weeks in. Wow. So I am very sorry. And I’m wondering if the light came to you so quickly because of the battles that you had overcome.

Cristina Ramirez: I believe so, because it was when I was in my bottom, in my addiction. I wasn’t a mental ward. I wasn’t the kind of place where if you wanted to smoke a cigarette, which I did plenty of, you couldn’t just get a cigarette and light it. There was like a burner on the wall, and you had to use the burner, and the burner, there was a hole that was big enough for your cigarette, but there was like a metal grate around it so that you couldn’t stick your finger on it. That’s the kind of place that I was in. And I needed to be there because I would be the person that stuck my finger. So I think I knew what it’s like to feel like your life is over. I was suicidal. I had my stomach pumped more times than I cared to admit, but I knew that I had been to what I thought was the worst point of my life. And there was so much joy that came afterwards. And I don’t know if I’m going to have as much happiness and joy as I had in my 20 years of marriage to Joe, but I know that there is joy in life and that I have two amazing kids that I want to live for and I want to give them the best life possible. So, 100%, that light is that it’s knowing that it’s never over until it really is over.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think that’s such an important lesson for all of us right now because we have been through an extended period of grief. We have grieved ways of life, we have grieved for our country, we have grieved the pandemic. Right. There has been so much grief over the last five years. I never expected to have so much experience with it. And there are days when I just think I would rather not deal with grief yet again. Because I’m like, okay, I think I’m good. God, I don’t need any more lessons. Thank you. I’m just going to tap out for right now, go let somebody else get some grief skills. But I think that the important and important piece of that is, yes, that there can still be joy again, 100%.

Cristina Ramirez: And there have been plenty of days that I would rather hide in my bed under the covers than actually show up and do the things. But it’s in showing up and doing the things, that is my path to freedom. It’s my path to my new normal that I’ve been creating this whole time.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So how long was it after your husband passed that you thought, okay, these lessons weren’t just for me. I think I want to write them down? When did you start working on the book?

Cristina Ramirez: So this is crazy. So I started writing the book on December 26, and by March it was already published. I mean, the mercy I know, the book just it flowed out of me in part because I was talking about the things that I have been talking about for years. I use the same tools to get through I’m not saying I don’t think you ever get over grief, but to get through the worst year of my life, I use the same tools that I have been teaching my clients. So the book itself was just like a word vomit of just like, blah, blah, blah. It was everything that was inside of me and it just came out.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Wow, okay. I like that a lot. And the book is called Empowered by Discomfort. Can we find it everywhere?

Cristina Ramirez: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, everywhere where books are sold. And what I did do with the book is because there have been books that I have read that changed my life, and I can 100% say that. And one of them is this book called Mindset by Carol Dweck. And I don’t know if you know who she is, and it’s actually a really boring book, but there was something.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Was that the life changing that was.

Cristina Ramirez: A life changing part, the boring? No, but she talks about, like, fixed mindset and growth mindset, and I was just reading the book, and I was like, oh, my God, this was me, and this is why my life is the way it is. And from there, I started taking all these actions to change. And that’s how I started my bit. Like, I can 100% say that that book changed my life, and I wanted this book to do that for at least one person out there. That was my intention. So when I wrote the book, I didn’t really know. So I worked with an editor, and I had the opportunity to participate in a retreat with Jack Canfield. He’s the author of Chicken Soup for the Soul. So I got feedback from him, and that kind of made me stand a little taller right. And be like, okay, we’ve got this. And then I just went full force ahead.

Allegra M. Sinclair: When you wrote it, who were you writing it for?

Cristina Ramirez: I think I was writing it for anybody. And it was part of the problem, because they say it’s like a best selling book should be. You have to talk to one specific person.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Right.

Cristina Ramirez: But I didn’t feel like I could. I feel like my talking about discomfort and these tools are pretty wide, so I think I wrote it a for my kids, like, something that they could have. I wrote it but thinking of my client. But I don’t know if I wrote it for anybody in particular. I just wrote, like, the process. And so it’s like part memoir, but mostly like, the process of how do you get through things that are really difficult? So it’s broad. Right. It can work for men or for women or for middle aged women or new moms. It doesn’t matter because the process is the same.

Allegra M. Sinclair: But what I love is the universality of what it is that you shared.

Cristina Ramirez: Right.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So when I was thinking about a podcast, I had a very specific image in my mind of who I was talking to. So if other people get something from it, I think that’s great. But I did have something specific in mind. But to your point, this is universal. Your kids will benefit. Anybody can benefit.

Cristina Ramirez: Absolutely.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So let’s talk a little bit about why I think that we might fall in love with, or at least become friends with discomfort. Why is it powerful? Because that seems like an oxymoron. Powerful discomfort.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah. Because I think we’ve made it as a society seem like an oxymoron. But the truth is, there has always been challenges. Life will always present with difficulties, and they’re not there to. For me, I see discomfort as, like, flashing signals that just say, hey, pay attention to me. This is what’s lighting up now, and this is what you need to focus on to get to your next stage. And I think it’s not, oh, social media. That’s not what caused our not wanting discomfort, because I had that fear way before social media was ever a thing. But I feel like we have this thing as like, we should always be happy all the time, and if not, there’s something wrong with us. And I just don’t believe that that’s how life was meant to be. I believe that discomfort is just saying, okay, this is where we go to grow. And if we demystify that, and if we say, all right, this is not trying to kill me or trying to hurt me, it’s trying to teach me. That’s all the shift in attitude, you need to start looking at it with curiosity and be like, I wonder why I’m thinking that. I wonder what’s on the other side of this. So I think that’s the starting point to have this shift in attitude, that life is not perfect. It will never be. There is no I’ll be happy when because the when keeps changing. Does that make sense?

Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes. Because you often hear people say, I’ll be happy if or I’ll be happy when or I would be happy. Right. So understanding that it’s a choice and all of those things don’t have to be present for you to choose to be happy right now.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah. And it used to drive me bananas before when somebody would say it’s like, oh, the joy isn’t the journey. I’m like, yeah, I want the joy now. I don’t want to wait. And then I learned that what happens is that the goalpost keeps moving. So, for example and I give this example in the book because it’s just so clear to me. So in one of my coachings, I help mom start businesses. So if I have a client and she comes to me and she’s like, oh my God, Christina, can you please, please help me get a business that’s making $5,000 a month? And I’m like, sure, no problem. I do that every day, whatever. So we start working on it, and she’s like, now she’s making 4000 from zero, right? Now she’s making 4000 consistently a month. And she’s like, she’s going to get to five K, and she’s like, oh my God, Christina, I’m going to get to five K. Like, what if I say seven? Can you imagine? I have a business that makes seven grand. Oh my God, and it would be so incredible. And blah, blah, blah, blah. So then I’m like sure. So we start working towards seven, right? So now she’s at six and she’s like, oh my gosh, I’m going to make seven. Like, imagine if I had a six figure business. Holy canoli. Oh my God, can you imagine? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So then we start working and a six figure business is eight point eight K a month. So on the way there, she struggles a little bit because it’s different, right. Like, maybe you need a team, you need to spend money, you have to do things that are a little bit more uncomfortable than for a business that’s making five K a month. So then she comes to me and let’s say she’s making, I don’t know, seven and a half, eight, and she’s like, why is this so hard? Why am I always struggling? Why is everybody else successful but I’m not? And yada, yada, yada. And what she totally missed is that she wanted five.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Exactly.

Cristina Ramirez: And she blew by five. And now she’s feeling bad about herself because she’s not in a thing that’s really causing her to stretch and grow. And guess what? When she gets to the six figures, she’s going to be like, oh my God, can you imagine if I get ten? It’s going to keep changing.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes. And guess what? The move from six figures to whatever her next goal is, is also going to have some stretching.

Cristina Ramirez: Exactly.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Discomfort and some newness.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, just like the goal to five if you’ve never had a business to start a business is already difficult. Right. So, wow, celebrate that. You’re not going to be happy when you have your business. You’re going to be happy that you’re doing the actions. It’s the process of who you’re becoming. That’s where the joy is. That’s what I believe.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So I think what I heard was the power of discomfort is layered. So first of all, it’s understanding that discomfort is not in opposition to you. Comfort is there to help discomfort, rather is there to help you because you talked about how it could teach us things people don’t teach people they can’t stand. So a, discomfort is there to help you. B, it will not always feel this. It will not always feel uncomfortable in this particular way. Like we used to say all the time, new level, new devil. So when I get comfortable with what’s around me, then I’m ready for a different kind of discomfort to take me to the next level.

Cristina Ramirez: Exactly.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So I also think it’s powerful in that discomfort is a sign that you are doing something big, that you are moving and you are growing.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah. And that is where the fun is because we as humans, we have this human need for certainty and for safety and for security, and that’s basic, it’s instinctual and that’s what we strive for. But we also have this natural instinct for growth. And it’s always a balance of comfort and growth, comfort and growth. Because what would happen is like, oh, that’s fine for you, Christina, but I would rather sit in the beach and drink pina coladas all day and I’ll be just fine. And I’m like, yeah, maybe for a few months, maybe a year, but for the rest of your life, really? I doubt it. Right. You’re going to want something new. You’re going to want to grow. It’s a human instinct. So if you want that growth, you’re going to necessarily face discomfort. So who cares? Just go do it.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think that’s interesting that someone might say, oh, I’m good sitting on the beach drinking Pina Coloss. I think if I’m telling myself that I prefer comfort over growth, I think we just need to be clear that that’s what we’re saying.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah.

Allegra M. Sinclair: And I think once I recognize that that’s what I’m saying, I might not be I was going to say it comfortable with that.

Cristina Ramirez: Right, right.

Allegra M. Sinclair: That I would pick comfort over growth. But if I did, that’s okay. Just understand that’s a choice as well. It’s not like this happened to you unconsciously. Like, you are consciously saying to yourself, you know what? I am so committed to being comfortable that I’m not going to do anything that feels uncomfortable for me.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah. But at least I’ve never met somebody that is like that. I think that over time, it’s okay to enjoy your beach and have your pina coladas. Right. There’s nothing wrong with that. But after a while, you’re going to want to grow that’s. Like, why? Retired people, they’re like, I have to go volunteer, I have to go do something. Because you need that expansion. We’re always wanting to expand.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think it’s okay for you to decide to be comfortable. I just want you to choose.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, but be honest with yourself too. Right. Don’t be like, well, because I said I made such a big deal about being comfortable that now I can’t back down from it. Right?

Allegra M. Sinclair: Yeah.

Cristina Ramirez: Okay. To be really honest with yourself, that, oh, over the long run to be comfortable, I find it really hard for somebody to be truly, truly happy without experiencing growth. I mean, it’s just my belief. So we’ll see if somebody’s out there and they want to tell me Priscina that’s not true, I think that would be amazing. Right? Let’s talk about it.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think I have seen that, but I think this so my audience is typically full of high achieving women, and what I see is not them saying, oh, I’m comfortable staying where I are. What I see more often is that they don’t stop to recognize their successes. So kind of like the example you were giving us, where she’s like, hey, I wonder if I could do five, so that she hits five. And then she’s like, okay, maybe I can do seven or eight or whatever. Right. She keeps moving the goalposts, which is natural for her. But what I find is that women who have a goal that’s like, hey, I want to hit five, and they don’t even stop and acknowledge that they hit the five.

Cristina Ramirez: That’s the problem. That’s 100% the problem. Because then they start thinking that the discomfort is too big, that they never got there. Like, why? Or why does this always happen to me? Why am I never there? Why am I never happy because they don’t stop to recognize the victories along the way. Yes, that’s the crux of the whole thing.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think sometimes corporations are built that way, though, quite honestly, because corporations don’t do a great job of stopping and celebrating milestones or big goals. It’s like you hit the big goal and boom, the next day they’re working on the next big goal. So I think some of that is.

Cristina Ramirez: Learned behavior, like sales quotas, right? If you’re in sales and you had the stretch go and it’s the last two days of the month and you’re calling everybody and their mother and trying to get that sale, and then Monday comes along, like, Monday is a new month and you’re back to zero and it starts all over again. So, yeah, I think part of it is learned behavior. But the good thing about learned thoughts and beliefs and behaviors is that they can be changed if they’re not serving you. But so if we recognize it, right, if we recognize that discomfort is a thing and that it is a powerful thing and it could be a good thing, then you might change a little bit about how you think about these things.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So when we were having our meeting before we recorded the episode, you said something so provocative. You said that not only could we get a little bit comfortable with discomfort, but that we could actually use it. So what does that look like? Would I have to create discomfort in order to do something? How could I possibly use discomfort to my benefit?

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, I don’t think you need to create it. I think it’s already there. Right? So I think you need to just acknowledge what part of your life is not working or it’s not at the level that it could be or something. That it’s like, well, this is not really what I want, and maybe it’s your health or your finances or your relationship with other people or your parenting, but there’s always going to be that one area of your life that’s kind of tugging you again. I believe that if you’re honest with yourself, you can see that, right? And so when you recognize, okay, this is the area that right now is lighting up for me because I feel, like, uncomfortable. I could be healthier or I could have more money in my bank account. And you go and you do something about it, then on the other side of it is like this growth. And not only that, but then you kind of feel like you’re empowered, right? You don’t get confidence from doing things that you already know how to do. You gain confidence from doing difficult things and overcoming them. That’s how you get self esteem. That’s how you get confidence. So if you start looking at discomfort as your opportunity to grow so that you can be empowered and you can be confident, then you use it. Because on the other side of it. You’re going to feel amazing if you stop to recognize it. Like, the lady my client. That didn’t that’s the process, or that’s a part of that process. You recognize it, you say, okay, I’m going to do something about it. You work on it, and you get to the other side of it, and you’re like, wow, I did that, and that’s going to feel amazing.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes, I love that. And I always say to my clients all the time, I was like, oh, wait, don’t miss that. Let’s stop and stand here for a few minutes and take a look, right? Don’t miss you’re awesome. Because the next time you’re in a situation that seems insurmountable, you can easily look back and think, oh, wait a minute. Oh, yeah, I so got this. I have done harder things, right? I have done similar things, which makes you feel like you can fly. It makes you feel like a superhero.

Cristina Ramirez: It does. But then we kind of make that bad. It’s like, oh, I can’t feel like a superhero, because that’s not modest. Or I’m like, who said that? Embody your greatness. I mean, you just did something difficult, amazing, go for it. And then soon you’re going to find something else to go do.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think that that’s a socialization thing about needing to be modest. It’s hard to well, I’m gonna talk I’m gonna talk about myself. It it was hard for me to talk about myself in glowing terms, right? Especially if it was something that felt innate to me. So I was one of those people who sat down on the piano and just started playing something that I heard off the radio. So I had a natural gift. So when people talked about my skills as a pianist, it weirded me out because I felt kind of like I didn’t own it. Like, it felt apart from me. So I would always try to be, like, super modest and say, oh, you know, I practiced a long time, or like, I went and performed at Carnegie Hall and people were like, oh, my gosh, you performed at Carnegie Hall? And I was like, yeah, but I wasn’t the only one. I mean, there were other people there, right? Because it felt weird to me to brag about myself. So it’s one of the things I work on with my clients a lot. It’s not bragging if it’s true.

Cristina Ramirez: Exactly.

Allegra M. Sinclair: And just like, you could practice other skills, I think we need to practice talking about our big, bad self 100%.

Cristina Ramirez: And again, that’s what will give you confidence, but that’s when somebody is like, oh, I love your dress. Oh, really? This dress, I bought it on sale at Target for $5. It’s the same. So I think it’s not even that. It’s like that deep down, I think you know that it’s special, right? And the humble and it’s almost like the humble thing to do is to say thank you. Thank you for noticing, or, oh, yeah, you played in Car. I mean, that’s amazing. And if somebody’s like, instead of putting it down, the humble thing to do is actually say thank you. That was really special. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I love that. So as I get older, it cracks me up, and I think I want us to normalize delighting in ourselves. So if someone said to me, oh, my gosh, I love that purse, my response today would be, oh, my gosh, isn’t it fire? I love it too.

Cristina Ramirez: Great.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I want us to normalize just delighting in our stuff, whether that’s our skills, our taste. Right. Because I picked the purse. I want us to start loving that more.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, absolutely.

Allegra M. Sinclair: We talked about superheroes a little bit, how it shouldn’t seem to be reserved for superheroes, that you’d be good working with discomfort. But you talked about superpowers that each of us has already yeah, absolutely.

Cristina Ramirez: In order to face that discomfort.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes. So what are those superpowers? Let’s listen.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, sure. So I work also a lot with kids, and I do believe that that person sitting on the beach that’s comfortable, the person that has no confidence, I do believe that everybody can change. Right. And it’s just a decision, and it’s harnessing these things that are already inside of you. So your first superpower, it’s your thoughts. And when I work with kids, I tell them, as much as us parents dislike this intensely, we cannot control your thoughts. It’s the one thing that you have absolute power over. I can influence you, but I can’t make you feel a certain way unless you give me permission. Right. So if we take the power of our thoughts back and decide it’s like, okay, if I can think I’m ugly, I can think I’m pretty too, it’s within my power. Right. You can’t fake it in the sense, like, you have to then back it up, because it’s not like, oh, the affirmation is like, I am a millionaire, and I’m flying in a private jet. I’m a millionaire. And then you’re broke and you can’t pay rent. There’s, like, a friction there. But if you can think one thing, you can think something else as well.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I just want to put that on a t shirt. If you can think something, you can think something else.

Cristina Ramirez: That’s a good idea.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I’m not going to steal your phrase, but if you made that on a t shirt, I would buy it.

Cristina Ramirez: All right, well, cool. So that’s your first superpower, and it’s accepting that right. Your thoughts, your second are the words that you use, and the words are just your thoughts expressed. So if you think that I don’t know that you are smart and a great pianist, your words will reflect that. Most of the time when it doesn’t, it feels like there’s an incongruence. Right. So if you hear yourself saying, well, I’m not healthy. I’m not at the weight that I want to be or I’m not making the money that I want to make, or blah, blah, blah. That’s a way to catch what your thoughts really are. If you change your words, you can almost teach yourself to think differently. So that’s another power that you can use. Then comes your beliefs. And beliefs are just the stories, the thoughts that you repeat to yourself over and over again and that you hold as truth. So sometimes a belief is like religion or politic. Like it comes from your environment, but oftentimes it comes from you, right? And beliefs are the gatekeepers because it’s either going to allow you or push you to take certain actions or not. So if my belief is that nothing is impossible and so I’m going to face my discomfort, that’s going to lead me to take certain actions. If my belief is like, discomfort is bad at all costs and I must avoid it no matter what, then that belief is going to make me take other actions or not take an action. So you have the power in your beliefs to choose what beliefs you want to have that are empowering to you and which ones you want to let go, right? So then your fourth superpower are the actions that you take based on those beliefs. Because nothing, like, whatever it is that you want, it’s not going to happen by you sitting there and meditating. You need to take action of some sort. So your ability to go do something, to take that action is a superpower that can change everything. Like, everything. And then the fifth superpower is then the results. So what, two plus two will equal four. Your inputs, most of the time will equal your outputs. And then those results are going to feed back your thoughts, right? So if you’re successful, then your thought starts turning. It’s like, oh, wow, look, I was successful. And then you’re going to talk like, wow, I’m a successful entrepreneur. And then your beliefs are going to be like, if I’m a successful entrepreneur, then I can invest in blah, blah, blah. And then you invest in whatever it is, and then you’re going to have the results. And it’s this loop that can be positive and move you forward, or it can be negative and keep you stuck, but you get to choose which loop you want to be in.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I like that. So the thing I like the most about those five superpowers is that they’re so accessible. I love Marvel movies. I’m like everybody else. I was talking about Thor earlier today, but I don’t have those skills, right? But I have thoughts, words, beliefs, actions, results, right? So I have everything in me that I need in order to be able to wrestle discomfort. Can you have too much discomfort? Can I be too comfortable with discomfort? I know that sounds weird, but is that a thing?

Cristina Ramirez: I’m not sure. I do know that, for example, if you would have told me, I don’t know, a month after my husband died, oh, Christina, you’re just feeling 20% of discomfort, I would have punched you, right, because no curse words, right?

Allegra M. Sinclair: This is a clean podcast.

Cristina Ramirez: Exactly. So hence, I would have punched you. I would have lost it with you because it sure as hell did not feel that way to me. Right. But once you pass parts of there are times when you’re in crisis, and once you pass the crisis and you can access a little bit of your reason, and I could zoom out, and I could see the rest of my life, and I could see, like, okay, he died, but I didn’t. My kids didn’t, my business didn’t, and I was able to grasp onto those things. Then I could move forward. And I don’t know if I’m answering your question. You are.

Allegra M. Sinclair: So I think that sometimes when we make friends with something that we have believed to be negative, I think sometimes we’re hesitant to do that because we think, oh, well, then we’ll like the negative thing, right? So whether that’s discomfort or conflict, I had someone on the podcast a couple of weeks ago who talked about how conflict can be a great thing, right. So I think that as women, we tend to think, oh, I don’t know if I want to be that chick. I don’t want to be conflict chick. I don’t want to be discomfort chick. So you did answer my question in that each of us will decide what fits us.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah. And it’s also like, well, why is discomfort a negative? It doesn’t have to be. Right. So you don’t have to be that negative person. You’re just somebody that understands that life is never going to be what instagram looks like. And therefore, in AA, I got sober in AA, and there’s a phrase that says you can face calamity with serenity. And to me, that’s a little bit of a stretch, but I can face challenges with confidence, so it’s not like I’m embracing being negative. I’m just understanding that, okay, so there’s always going to be a part of my life that I wish was a little different. And so what? It doesn’t mean that I can’t be happy. It doesn’t need to mean something negative. I get to decide what it means.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I think I love the thought of being uncomfortable a little bit, because I think when I’m uncomfortable, it means I’m being who I truly am. If I’m really comfortable, then I think I can’t possibly be showing up as myself because I’m different. Everybody’s different, right? So to me, discomfort doesn’t mean, well, I have a broad definition of discomfort. So something just feels off to me, like, in my body or in my skin, that’s discomfort. I keep going to a meeting, and I feel like I should say something, and I don’t say it that’s discomfort to me, the fact that I’m not showing up completely. So I kind of like that I never thought of it, that it was teaching me something, but kind of like that because it makes me feel it reminds me to be present. It gives me permission to say what I want to say.

Cristina Ramirez: Absolutely. And permission is such a big thing that I think I talk a lot about that in the book. Because in order for you to change, you need to give yourself permission to change. You need to allow yourself something you.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Have to give yourself. Someone else can’t give you permission?

Cristina Ramirez: No. Well, they can try, but again but it’s the same thing with the thoughts. Like, who’s in control of the thoughts, right. So I can influence you, and I can say, oh, allegra, you have permission to blah, blah, blah. And that can influence how you think, but ultimately you’re the one that has to say it’s like, yeah, I accept that thought and I give myself permission. Or it’s like, yeah, no, she has no idea what she’s talking about. And I can’t because if she were me, she would know that blah, blah, blah.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I have an odd question. So I know that you have created a curriculum about empowerment and how you can change your mindset through a physical activity, which is running. Did that come from discomfort? Because the thought of running is so uncomfortable to me, too. I’m wondering if that curriculum was born out of physical discomfort and you finding the silver lining, which was growth.

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah. So that’s a really interesting question. So I was the girl in the back of the gym smoking pot, right. Growing up. Hence, I ended up in the mental ward. So when I had kids, I wanted to be the mom that was active and could do stuff with them, but I couldn’t even run around the block without gasping for air. So that discomfort caused me to run a five k. I’m sorry.

Allegra M. Sinclair: The fact that you couldn’t run around the block made you run a five k?

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, because that’s not who I wanted to be.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Got you.

Cristina Ramirez: Right. I wanted to be a healthy mom. I wanted to be able I had two boys. I have two boys. They’re 21 months apart. I wanted to be the active mom, so I had to do something. So I ran that five k, and oh, my God, allegra. You should have seen me at the finish line. I thought I had won the olympics. It felt like it was like, my.

Allegra M. Sinclair: God, were you posing? Did you have flowers and chocolate?

Cristina Ramirez: My family was there. My kids were there. They came running to it was amazing. And that feeling got me hooked. And so from there, I started running longer. Then I started doing triathlons. Then I started doing iron man triathlons. I don’t know if you know what? Yeah, me. It’s so crazy. So I was a teacher. And then I decided that I want to be more with my kids. And I asked my principal at my boys school if I could do an after school activity, and I couldn’t do swimming and I couldn’t do biking. So okay, running. Not that I particularly liked running, but it was what I could do. And I took the kids to run a five K and guess what? Guess what happened?

Allegra M. Sinclair: What happened?

Cristina Ramirez: They felt the same thing that I felt like they came on Monday with their medal school to school. They walked a little taller. They were just really transformed, my kids included. So I was like, oh, my gosh, I hit on something here. And it was at the same time that I read that book that I told you, mindset. And so I put the boring book, but she has Ted Talks, which are like Cliff Notes in case you don’t want to read the whole book because it’s amazing. And so I kind of put those two things together and over time created a curriculum, giving kids the opportunity to do things that are difficult, like that five k. So they can feel what I felt without having to go run a five k. So we created in the class we have challenging games, but then at the end of class, they’re.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Like, oh, my God.

Cristina Ramirez: I survived that. Can you believe it? And then they feel like, very accomplished and confident at the end of it. That’s the whole point. So it’s causing the discomfort so that they can overcome it with encouragement. And you’re not going to be like, throw them in the water and be like, okay, suck a swim or die, right? Sucka. Is that like super old school unexpected?

Allegra M. Sinclair: You’re sounding all evolved and empowered people and talking about wrestling, like, hey, swim, suck up.

Cristina Ramirez: Well, I work with kids a lot, right? Yeah, but you’re going to support them through that challenge. So that’s what we do in the curriculum. We cause discomfort, right? Because we say, okay, we need to do this. That’s like, oh, my God, we really have to do that. But then we support them and we encourage them and we teach them so they can meet that goal, so they can feel how I felt and how that first group felt when they ran their five K. Got you.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I love that. So it’s kind of a sometimes we need to see or touch things for the lessons to get through to it. So it’s a physical manifestation of your philosophy around discomfort. See, there you go.

Cristina Ramirez: There we go.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I love that so much. I have thoroughly enjoyed our conversation about discomfort. I think differently about it, and I’m loving so much of the different pieces. So I know my audience my audience is going to be like, oh, I love Christina, too. So I know that we have talked about how you can make your book available to them so let me brag on your book real quick. It’s more fun if I do it, right?

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, definitely.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Yes. Christina’s book is called Empowered by Discomfort, and you can absolutely find it on Amazon. It is cheap. Go get it. Absolutely. If you want it in a different format, for instance, if you wanted Christina to be able to send it to you through email as an EPUB file instead of a Kindle file, then we could set up a little bit of a discount for you so that you could get that from Christina’s website. So what we’re going to do is we’re going to send you to discomfort. How easy is that to remember? You all discomfort. And we’ll have two links there, so you can either buy the discount version that you’ll get through email delivery direct from Christina, or we’ll have the link there for you to immediately go and get the book and put it on your Kindle. I recommend books on Kindle a lot, so I know folks are very much inclined to do that. So we absolutely want to get that book in your hands. And if you guys have now fallen in love and you want more of Christina, christina, do you want them to hit you on your website? Do you want them to reach out to you on social? If they want more Christina, what’s the best way for them to get it?

Cristina Ramirez: Yeah, so the best way is to go to my website, which is Christina M. Ramirez. And that’s kind of the hub of all the different things that I have because I work with kids, I work with moms, so we have different programs there, and I answer all the emails. People think I’m crazy, but I love that. So there’s a contact form there. You can just email me and I will answer you, but that’s where you can find me.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I don’t think that’s crazy at all. Oh, you mean versus someone else answering your exactly.

Cristina Ramirez: I personally do it. Yeah.

Allegra M. Sinclair: I don’t think that’s crazy at all. I think that’s delicious. So we’ll absolutely have a link to Christina M. Ramirez in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here.

Cristina Ramirez: Thank you.

Allegra M. Sinclair: Is there anything else that you want to pour into my audience before we go that you haven’t had a chance to share yet?

Cristina Ramirez: You can do this. Whatever this is, you have the power. You just have to make a decision that that’s what you want, and there is a way to get there, so go for it, whatever that is.

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How to Build Confidence and Transform Your Life for the Better

Allegra M. Sinclair

Allegra M. Sinclair is a professional coach and confidence expert. She hates to see women living small and loves to help them change how they show up in the world.

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