Ep #114: Discomfort and Uncertainty

Throughout my career, I have seen people not only getting stuck in indulgent emotions, but also allowing themselves to stay stuck. Sometimes the discomfort of being stuck can actually be more comfortable than moving forward. But did you know that discomfort and uncertainty actually play a huge role in “helping” us find success?

In this episode, I’ll go over how these two things can bring good into our lives, as well as how to properly appreciate them. You will hear examples of situations where certainty is not what we think it is and the truth about how much control you have over your success.


Listen To The Episode Here:


In Today’s Episode, You’ll Learn:

  • What indulgent emotions are and how they keep us stuck.
  • How discomfort and uncertainty affect our success.
  • Why uncertainty can create positive experiences.
  • Examples of uncertain experiences and how they tend to play out.
  • The truth about the certainty we think we have.
  • Where our need for certainty comes from and the only thing you can really be certain of.
  • How growth and evolution require you to live.

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Get The Full Episode Transcript


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Read the Transcript Below:

Katrina Ubell:      You are listening to The Weight Loss For Busy Physicians podcast with Katrina Ubell MD, episode number 114.

Welcome to Weight Loss for Busy Physicians, the podcast where busy doctors like you get the practical solutions and support you need to permanently lose the weight, so you can feel better and have the life you want. If you’re looking to overcome your stress eating and exhaustion and move into freedom around food, you’re in the right place.

Hey, my friend, how are you? Welcome back to the podcast. This is so funny. I literally was just recording the entrance to this podcast, and I couldn’t remember what I say. It’s like I’ve said it so many times that I couldn’t remember what I said. I had to go back and listen to another one. I’m like, “Oh, right. That’s what I say.” We have to delight in ourselves. We have to find humor and joy in our silliness.

All right. Listen, before we get started, I’ve got some really good stuff for you today, but before we get started, I want to remind you that I’m hosting a free training tonight titled the Unspoken Secrets of Permanent Weight Loss, and it’s at 8:30 PM Eastern, 5:30 PM Pacific Time. So if you are listening to this on Tuesday when it releases, it’s tonight, Tuesday night. I am going to be closing down enrollment for my upcoming group coaching group, and that’s just a couple of days away.

If you are on the fence, you want some more information about it, then definitely come to this call, I’m going to teach you some really great information, and I’ll also talk to a little bit about signing up for the group if that’s something you’re interested in. To get more information about that free training tonight, go to katrinaubellmd.com/resources, or you can also just go to my website, katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources on the top bar.

You’ll see that right up at the top there, you can click on it and find all that information, and I hope you will join me tonight. Can’t wait to see you.

Okay, so let’s get started on our topic today. I want to talk to you about discomfort and uncertainty. I was recently at a business workshop. Two day business workshop, put on by the Life Coach school in Dallas. Many of you who’ve been listening for a while know that the life coach school is where I did my life coach training. Brooke Castillo, who is the founder and owner of the school was the one who was putting on this business workshop and so I went there as a participant, and it was amazing.

There was a room full of hundreds of coaches, many of them pretty new, all looking to build their businesses and take their businesses to the next level, and in building their businesses, what they want to do is they want to help so many more people. That’s what I love about this community is that in having success, what that means is that we’re just helping more and more and more people, which is amazing and of course connects me right back to why I became a physician in the first place.

What was interesting though, as the two days unfolded, was seeing how so many of these new coaches were really stuck in confusion and in decision and doubt. Now, many of you who’ve been listening for a while know that emotions like those are what I call indulgent emotions. Meaning they don’t move you forward. If you’re confused, you can’t make a decision. If you’re indecisive, you think you need more information, then you don’t have to make a decision. If you’re in doubt, you don’t have to make a decision and move forward, so they’re very indulgent.

And many of them were just having these thought loops about who they should specialize in serving, and this is something that’s important so that the work that you do really impacts specifically the people you’re trying to help. And by a thought loop, what I mean is that they would just be coached and then ask the same question again and again. Some of them have been asking these questions on coaching calls for months. Some of them even last year were still asking these same questions, and they are allowing themselves to stay stuck and just loop around, loop around, thinking that they need to figure something out or that there’s a right answer somewhere in there, and they stay stuck there.

And even though it feels uncomfortable to be stuck there, it’s still overall it keeps them safe. That way they don’t have to make a decision and move forward. If they choose something, that means actually moving forward and that can feel really scary. Often this is not something that’s top of mind, like they’re not like, “Hey, I’m really just really scared of making a decision.” Instead, they just think that someone has the answer. There’s just more information that’s out there and someone has the answer that’s going to make all the difference for them.

And so I watched this going on for the two days, and as it was happening, it occurred to me that I could really just sum all of this up in one statement for them. At the very end I was on a Q and A panel, and I shared this one statement with all the attendees, and it really made a huge impact on them. I decided that I wanted to share it with you because it relates just as well to weight loss or really any kind of goal that you have in your life. And this is what it is. Your success is directly proportional to the amount of discomfort and uncertainty you’re willing to experience.

Let me repeat that. Your success is directly proportional to the amount of discomfort and uncertainty that you’re willing to experience. Now, many of you know that Brooke Castillo, owner of the Life Coach school is my coach. She taught me to be a coach, and she often says that discomfort is the currency of your dreams. And I agree, but I don’t think we spend enough time on uncertainty. It’s the amount of discomfort and uncertainty you’re willing to experience.

Uncertainty is what brings variety to our lives. It’s what makes the journey interesting. Think about traveling. Think about taking a trip and think about what it would be like if you knew every single thing that was going to happen the entire trip, beforehand. You just knew exactly what food was going to be available and what you were going to eat. You knew exactly what the weather was going to be like. You knew exactly where you were going to go, what you were going to do. It’s pretty boring to think of doing a trip like that.

In fact, trips don’t happen like that ever, and it’s really uncertainty in traveling that makes it so interesting. So something related to travel and uncertainty just recently happened to me a couple of weeks ago. I was traveling with my husband, Matt, to Whistler, British Columbia, and we had to fly from Milwaukee, where I live to Vancouver, BC. And so we were flying out in the evening, and our connecting flight was through Minneapolis, Minnesota because there’s no direct flights from Milwaukee to Vancouver.

We were getting ready to go on this flight and then the texts started rolling in from the airline that our flight from Milwaukee to Minneapolis was a little bit delayed, but then we got the text that the Minneapolis to Vancouver flight was also delayed, and this kept going, going, going. There was kind of not so great weather by us, but apparently in Minneapolis they were having a lot of problems, so that meant that they were having trouble getting flights in and getting flights out. I wasn’t worried. I was thinking, “Well, this is all going to work out because both flights will be equally delayed and we’ll be completely fine,”

I wasn’t worried. We get to the airport in Milwaukee, and we check in, and the agent there says, “Ooh well, we’re going to have to see if you’re going to make this connection,” and being the positive thinker that I try to be, I was like, “It’s going to be fine. It’s totally going to be fine. It’s all going to work out. We’ll be fine.” She said, “I think we should probably just book a little bit of a rerouting trip for you just in case.” I was like, “Okay, that’s fine. No problem.” So we go on our way, we go through security, we got on our flight, and we’re sitting in the plane for longer than expected.

It takes a while before our plane takes off. Meanwhile, the flight leaving from Minneapolis is not delayed more. So our connection time was narrowing and narrowing, and once we landed, we had about 14 minutes before that flight was supposed to be taking off. This was really tight. We were hoping, fingers crossed, that it was going to be okay. We get off the plane, and we start running. But Minneapolis airport is enormous, ridiculously huge.

And there’s not a very much of like a tram system or train or anything to get you around more quickly. So we didn’t know how far we were going, so we start running. Then we’re like, “Okay, I’m like really winded now, let’s do the hospital walk.” You know what I mean? Walking super fast, almost running, but not quite, and I mean, my lungs were starting to burn, and I was like, “Geez, I need to do some cardio,” more cardio than I’m doing right now, so I can sprint through airports.

Anyway, we find the gate, and the door has been shut. The plane is still there, but the door to the jet way is shut. So banging on the door. Someone looks out. I make the prayer hand sign, “Please, please let us in. Please let us in.” She shakes her head, “No,” there is nothing they could do. They apparently have some sort of law, dumb laws, some sort of law that when the door is shut, then they can’t open it.

Now, I do have to say that I know that these rules are made to be broken because one time when I was flying home from college to interview for medical school, I got caught in a huge rainstorm on the way to the airport, and I was really late, and I was running through the airport in Baltimore and I got there, they had shut the door, and they open it for me to let me through. I knew there was a possibility and I was still hoping, “Oh, they’re gonna let us through, they’re gonna let us through.”

Nope, they didn’t. So they came out and they said, “Yep, you’re going to have to be rerouted.” They rerouted us, not through Vancouver the next morning because that flight was already full, they rerouted us through … You ready? … Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Of all places. If anyone’s listening from Saskatoon, then props to you my friend, high five. We were like, “Saskatoon? Okay.” They said, “Yeah, we can fly you out to Saskatoon tonight and then in the morning you can get a flight from Saskatoon and to Vancouver.”

We really had no other options because we had our shuttle to take us the two and a half hour drive from Vancouver up to Whistler. So we thought, “Okay, we’ll take it, we’ll just do it.” Because we had planned on staying overnight in Vancouver in a hotel, and then taking up the shuttle the next day. We thought, “Okay, that’s what we’ll do.” We got on the flight to Saskatoon, and got there about 2:30 in the morning, got off. Nobody knew if our bags would be there, so we had to wait until all the bags came.

Our bags were not there. Then we had to file a report that the bags were lost and go through customs. They had told us that they would put us up in a hotel, but at this point we would have only had maybe two to three hours, we thought, “Okay, this isn’t even worth it.”Although, I would have probably done it, Matt thought, “No, it’s not worth it.” We went back through security because now we were in a foreign country. Had to go back through security and then we found some benches to try to lay down on 4:00 in the morning, see if we could sleep a little bit.

I have to tell you, Saskatoon has a nice airport. I’ve been in a lot of American airports that were much less nice than this airport. We tried to sleep, maybe snooze for maybe an hour, I don’t know. It wasn’t very much, but we got through that. We got on the plane to Vancouver and I got seated next to a little toddler boy who kicked me constantly, but I still managed to sleep a little bit, and we got to Vancouver. We get to Vancouver. They had put a section on a different airline to get to Vancouver from Saskatoon, so they were telling us that they were going to have to find the bags and get them to us.

We spent a bunch of time getting that all sorted and then we were waiting for a shuttle. We had a number of hours then before the shuttle, and someone suggested that we look on the Delta Airlines app, that it would tell us where our bags were. And it turned out that our bags were on a plane from Seattle to Vancouver. It felt like hitting the Jackpot. We’re like, “What? We know where they are. They’re not lost for good. This is amazing.” So we ended up waiting in the airport until the bags came, and it was so fun on this app, to see that they were checked in and then they were waiting.

Of course, the people in the back there made us wait awhile. The guy was like, “Call me back in 30 minutes.” Okay. Because you can’t go back to the baggage claim because it’s customs. So you can’t get through there. Then we call again. “Okay. Call me back in 20 minutes.” “Okay.” Finally we got our bags, and it all worked out. We ended up getting the shuttle on time. We ended up with our bags like everything was great, but it was definitely a journey. There was a lot of uncertainty there.

And that uncertainty wasn’t comfortable when we were going through it, but it was all part of the journey, and now it’s a great story. It’s like we’ve been to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. It’s amazing. I was thinking too though, that there’s a lot of uncertainty in our treatment plans as doctors. We think we don’t like this uncertainty, but when you really think about it, every single time we make a decision on what to do with a patient, it is just a very, very, very, very highly educated guess.

It’s not certain, it’s never certain what the result will be. We have a really, really, really good hunch, but there’s always a chance that someone will have an allergic reaction or a resistant bacteria or something entirely different that we didn’t see coming or something else, it just doesn’t work for whatever reason. And so we think that we have all the certainty. We like to think that we have all the certainty, but there’s so much uncertainty. Like we still don’t know what puts a woman into labor. Totally uncertain about that.

There’s so many things in medicine that we have a lot of uncertainty of, and when we just accept that and go, “Okay, yeah. I don’t really know, but this is my best guess, I’m going to follow along, and I’m going to make some adjustments and change course as needed to get the result that I’m looking for, for the patient.” There’s areas in our lives where we’re totally accepting of the uncertainty for sure. What’s interesting though is I find that there’s plenty of people who don’t sign up for my Weight Loss for Doctors-only coaching group because they want certainty first.

They want certainty that they can lose the weight and keep it off forever. They want certainty that the program is exactly what they need. They want certainty that they can actually do this, that they can follow whatever eating plan they create. They want certainty outside of them. They’re thinking that the certainty comes from outside themselves, that someone else or something else determines the certainty of them having success.

And that uncertainty ends up paralyzing them from taking meaningful action toward their goal of losing weight. What they don’t realize is that the only thing you can really be certain of is yourself. You are your one and only true constant. The uncertainty is part of the process. If you’re feeling uncertain, you are doing it right. I promise you. So when you’re expecting certainty in the process, you’re coming from a place of rigidity and inflexibility, and honestly, kind of some entitlement. Like we thought it was supposed to go a certain way so then when it doesn’t go that way, we get to be upset or disappointed or frustrated or feel sorry for ourselves.

And then some of us go then and eat all the things in response to that. Sound familiar? That’s called yo-yo dieting, but we all have a need to some degree for some certainty. I have a fair amount of certainty that my car will start the next time I want to go somewhere, especially after the polar vortex, and it was minus 25 outside and my car started on the first try. I was really impressed. This is why I like having a newer car just for this reason. If I drove a 30 year old car, I’d have a lot more uncertainty about how reliable it would be.

I’m quite certain that my furnace and hot water heater are going to work. I’m pretty certain that my roof isn’t going to leak, but I can’t be 100% certain. There’s still some uncertainty there, but when I can be fully certain of though is my ability to solve a problem when it comes up. I’m certain that I’m a smart person who can figure things out, and if I can’t figure something out, I’m certain that I can find someone else who can help me figure it out. I’m certain that I can provide value, so I never have to worry about having enough money.

If all my money and means for making money went away, I’m certain that I would find a way to provide value and make all the money that I need. I’m certain in my ability to be aware of my thinking and feelings. I’m certain in my ability to think abundantly. I’m certain in my ability to believe thoughts that create the life that I want. I’m certain in my work ethic and my ability to get things done when they need to get done. I’m certain in my ability to read and learn and also my ability to think and create.

I’m certain in my ability to take care of myself and my needs, no matter where I am in the world, no matter who’s around me. So when you’re looking for certainty, before you decide to do something, you’re likely going to live a small life. Growth and evolution as a person will require you to live in uncertainty. And when your brain is wanting that certainty, instead of looking outside of yourself for it, focus on yourself. What do you know for sure about yourself? What are you certain of about yourself?

My next Weight Loss for Doctors-only coaching group will finish enrolling in two days and some of you are sitting on the fence. Uncertain about whether you should sign up or not. You want certainty as to whether you’ll really get the results you want if you work with me. But you have to recognize that the certainty is not in the program or in my ability to help you. The certainty you crave is within you. When you decide to commit, to participating fully in the program, that’s creating certainty.

When you look at your schedule and decided to move things around if needed, in order to get what you need out of the program, that’s creating certainty. When you commit to not quitting, no matter how many times you mess up or how many mistakes you make, that is creating certainty. So again, your success is directly proportional to the amount of discomfort and uncertainty you’re willing to experience. The discomfort is physical and emotional. Physical meaning you might experience some hunger sometimes as your body’s sorts itself out, and by emotional, I mean that you’ll practice feeling the emotions you feel on a regular basis when you don’t use food to neutralize your life anymore. Then you’ll actually learn what’s there and work through that, and there will be uncertainty there.

Nobody can know if you’ll lose four pounds or nine pounds this month. Nobody can know what the path to permanent weight loss will look like for you. How long it will take you to lose the weight is uncertain. The more of this that you’re willing to experience, the more success you’ll have, because you’ll be ready and willing to move forward despite the uncertainty, through the uncertainty, and that is how you create results for yourself that are bigger and greater than you ever thought possible.

So if you’re ready to take on the uncertainty and create the body and life of your dreams, I am ready to help you. My coaching group is for MD or DO, women physicians in clinical practice, and you can enroll now by going to katrinaubellmd.com/enroll. I’d love to work with you and help you create freedom around food and a permanently slender body. All right. Have a wonderful week. Can’t wait to see you tonight on the free training. Talk to you soon. Bye, bye.

Did you know that you can find a lot more help from me on my website? Go to katrinaubellmd.com and click on free resources.

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