The Power of Y.O.U. and Lessons From Our Family Cold Plunge 

Power Quote of the Month

“We Can Do Hard Things” by Glennon Doyle

As a Leadership and Career/Life Coach and lifelong learner dedicated to guiding individuals toward holistic well-being, I motivate my clients to step out of their comfort zone. Ultimately, they challenge themselves to experience work and/or life in new and invigorating ways. 

I encourage you to reflect on your past year and ask yourself, “What was the biggest risk I took to step outside my comfort zone? How did it make me feel after getting to the other side? How did I grow from this experience?” 

Recently, my son challenged my husband, his older brother and me to engage in our second family cold plunging experience – way outside our comfort zone might I add. At first, I thought this particular idea was a joke as I said to my son, “sure sounds great Jared! Can I bring my wet suit?” and laughed. Here’s how the story evolves…

Nancy Friedberg and her son on cold water plunge

The Backdrop: As Told by Our Cold Plunge Leader

“I have been practicing cold water therapy for about 1 year now and continually raising the bar for myself. This past summer I coaxed my mom, dad and brother into first doing it with me on a warm summer day into a 60 degree plunge tub of ice water. They were quite challenged, yet succeeded with joy. But this go around was different. I wanted them to jump into a freezing cold lake on an early winter day, with no immediate source of warmth in sight. They were filled with angst and concern, rightfully so. And to a degree so was I, because I wasn’t entirely sure how we would all respond in this new environment. “

Beyond the Freezing Shock: The Motivating Force 

In my case, I certainly wasn’t motivated enough to do this insane cold plunge simply because my son challenged me, (and he was lovingly adamant about us doing it). To do really hard things, you need to have your action tied to a larger vision of something you value. 

Reflecting on our first successful plunge on a hot summer day six months prior, I recalled the source of my personal motivation. With my next birthday only three days away, I wanted to experience the challenge of letting go more fully and surrendering into the unknown with greater ease. I felt if I proved successful at this, I’d reinforce this growth mindset. 

Breathing and Mindfulness Exercises: The Key to Mastery

Immersing oneself in a cold plunge has gained wide popularity for its physical and mental health benefits, and the exhilarating high you feel afterwards. The shock of the cold water triggers a range of physiological responses, from increased dopamine and noradrenaline production which can improve your mood, focus and mental clarity, to better blood circulation and reduced inflammation to help your body recover after a hard workout and a whole host of other medical benefits. 

Before plunging into the frigid lake water, my son guided us in a series of intentional breathing exercises to prepare our minds and nervous systems for the mental and physical stress that lay ahead. This not only helped calm our nerves, it prepared our bodies to visualize slow and mindful breathing once hitting the 38 degree water! For my first attempt, the good news is I stayed in the water for two full minutes which was no easy feat. The not so good news is I resisted the cold shock mostly struggling with rapid, panicked breathing the whole way through. 

Two days later for my second attempt, I stayed in for a full two minutes again with no resistance or fear. I gained confidence simply from now knowing I could do it. The big miracle for me during round two was being still and maintaining even breaths throughout the process. I felt no pain!

Lessons Learned from our Family Experience

  1. Mindfulness and Trust: From our Cold Plunge Leader, Jared
    “To my delight, we all braved the ice cold water until our bodies went completely numb, and we came out smiling, screaming and dancing on the other side. The one thing that made it all possible was trust. At the core of my “ask” of my family to cold plunge in the lake, was trust in me to lead them through a safe practice. And what enabled them to stay in such discomfort for more time than they thought possible, was trust in themselves. To consistently do hard things, you must trust the process, showing up day in and day out regardless of your mood. Cold water is relentless. It is neither forgiving nor welcoming. But if you can learn to embrace it, through trust in your willpower to overcome adversity, then you’ll find yourself ready to tackle any obstacles that come your way.”
  2. Resilience in Discomfort: From our Marathon Running Leader, Chad
    “I learned you can do hard things and that focusing on something as simple as breathing can be extremely hard in certain situations. It takes resilience, strength and courage to push through discomfort. In order to succeed or improve one must continuously seek and embrace discomfort, as that is when broaden your horizons and break through barriers.” 
  3. Shared Vulnerability Builds Family Bonds: From our Unrelenting Leader, Bruce 
    Being a positive role model for my family is something I value. In this instant, I learned that facing the cold plunge together created a sense of shared vulnerability. We supported each other through the initial shock and celebrated the triumph together. This experience deepened our familial bonds, fostering a sense of unity and togetherness. For our family, this adventure was about more than just braving the chills; it was a shared journey into a new type of healthy experience including (crazy) fun, conviction and vitality. And most of all, knowing that “everything will be ok after the plunge!”

Lastly, I want to thank our son’s fiancée, Izzy, for her lighthearted, encouraging and
steady presence. With her gift for shooting creative photos and videos (as shown above),
she consistently captures all of our most meaningful and fun memories! Izzy personifies
the spirit of community building at it’s best!

30 Day Power Challenge

For this month I encourage you to reflect on your past year and ask yourself:

  1. What was the biggest risk I took to step outside my comfort zone?
  2. How did it make me feel after getting to the other side?
  3. How did I grow from this experience and what can I celebrate now?
  4. What new stretch goal can I set to step outside my comfort zone again?

I want to hear from you. Send me an email and please let me know how you did with this month’s challenge and the power resources and tools. You can also connect with me via my email: to learn how my services can benefit you and set up a complimentary discovery call with me.

Are you ready to take action and be accountable for your desired results?

Do you want challenge yourself to grow professionally and personally? If your answer is YES to both for creating sustainable change, then contact Nancy to learn more about the steps for getting there.

Nancy Friedberg

Nancy Friedberg, M.A.

Master Coach and President, Career Leverage, Inc.
Marshall Goldsmith Certified Stakeholder Centered Coach
Certified Now What? Facilitator


  1. Lee innocenti on December 13, 2023 at 3:17 pm

    Great news bulletin. Cold water plunge??? Yikes.

  2. Clare O'Brien on December 15, 2023 at 5:55 am

    Love reading about your family and this shared adventure. Inspiring – and what a great way to end the year!

Leave a Comment