This week on cultureinfusion.com we are happy to have a guest blog post. Chad Baugh is our guest this week. Chad has spent several years in leadership positions in the healthcare IT space. Chad walks with a great confidence neatly packaged in humility, a sought after leadership characteristic. I have tried what he suggests in this post, it is both difficult and extremely rewarding and of course, I get those around me to try it too, now its your turn! Thank you Chad, great job!!

The Comfort Zone

It’s 6:30am, you got up early and got your workout in, you did a quick glance through your phone or tablet to see if there were any urgent emails to address and you’re sipping your first cup of coffee. It’s now time to get ready for work. -OR- it’s 6:30am, you’ve hit snooze 7 times and it’s now you MUST get out of bed to get to work on time. Some people have been in a routine of getting up early for years (my father is one of them) others have to set all kinds of alerts, alarms and reminders to get themselves out of bed. Either way, they don’t really “think” about their morning routine, and this is a good thing. There’s more and more evidence that we have a limited capacity for the number and quality of decisions we can make in a day (NYTIMES). Have you ever had a hard time deciding what’s for dinner and in an attempt to make it easy you leave it in the hands of your significant other. Then you notice that your ‘it doesn’t matter to me’ response only makes your significant other more frustrated because they can’t decide either? (apparently ‘what’s for dinner’ is one of the greatest arguments in the home). Anyway, to burn the finite decision making resource on routine questions in the morning like what should I eat? What should I wear? What temperature shower should I take? leaves less for later in the day when you have to make more difficult decisions.

Wait – did that say what temperature shower? Yes, and that’s the reason for this post. Have you ever taken a cold bath or shower in the morning? No, no, not just a less-hot shower after a workout, I’m talking about turning the mixing valve in the shower to 100% cold water and get in it for 5 minutes. Tony Robbins takes a 57 degree ice bath every morning (Business Insider). There are TED talks about cold showers and the impact they’ve had for people. They have many many physiological benefits in your body, they don’t dry your skin out as much, etc., etc. Some people even tout the weight loss benefits of them.

You see, Culture Infusion and the people who visit it are all about personal growth and improvement. Or even just movement down the road you’re on today. To that end, one of the catch phrases I’ve been noodling in my head recently is “get comfortable with being uncomfortable”. Which is part of getting outside the box or out of your comfort zone. Some people take this to the extreme and climb Mount Everest. But a lot of people struggle with what getting out of your comfort zone means and how to do it. Cold showers are a fast and effective way to do this.

Most people I’ve talked to about this instinctively respond with “What? You’re crazy.” Or a more common one “Why the **** would you do that?”

Just a few of the reasons they don’t listen further:

  • First and foremost, a warm shower in the morning is a sanctuary for many, it’s their “me” time.
  • They’ve never heard of such a thing.
  • Why add difficulty where there’s simplicity already
  • Who in their right mind would CHOOSE to not take advantage of the modern day benefit of warm water?

To me, one of the greatest benefits of a cold shower is that I’ve done something that’s mentally difficult first thing in the morning. It’s the mental fortitude that is gained from intentionally doing something difficult and making myself uncomfortable for just a few minutes. In fact, in the TED talk I watched the gentleman decided to run a marathon after having done cold showers for a while, knowing that he could push himself harder than he previously thought he could. It’s just 5 minutes from start to finish and if it’s the only thing challenging you do that day, you’ve already put yourself in the an increasingly shrinking minority. So, are you looking for something to change your mindset just a bit? Are you trying to find a way to up your game? Or are you just trying to get out of a rut? The toughest part is to do this back to back for 5 days in a row, or 30 days in a row. It’s harder the 2nd time and the 3rd. After about 5 it’s still extremely difficult to get in the water, but you have made a shift in your mind. This is a shock to the system – I promise you it will wake you up. I promise you it will make you uncomfortable. I promise you that you’ll curse me at least once. And, I promise you that you’ll look in the mirror and see a small smile on your face that you were able to do something that most people wouldn’t even consider.

Chad can be reached on his LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/chadbaugh/

Have an awesome day, I can’t wait to read your comments about your cold shower experience!

@pvbrieger

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