To succeed, you better get comfortable being uncomfortable

It’s 8:43pm, I’ve got sweat dripping off of every inch of my body. I’m bent over, heaving, thinking: how the hell am I going to finish this? Quick rewind: I got up at 5:45am, spent a long day at the office, on my feet, running from meeting to meeting. I got delayed on my commute home, again. I’m wiped. I snagged a quick bite to eat before rushing to my 8:00pm personal training appointment. So take a guess at who really doesn’t want to be there?

There are 17 minutes left, and I don’t think I can last another 17 seconds. “Again!”, I hear once more from the trainer. I see the motivation poster on the wall like it’s speaking directly to me:

Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

I find the strength, ignore the fact that my form is not quite perfect, and push through. At 9:00pm, I’m laughing the pain off and thanking my trainer for pushing me to finish.

Many of us fall victim to a similar weakness: the fear of vulnerability. Whether we are not pushing ourselves in the gym because we’re embarrassed to fail. Or if you’re like me, you procrastinate getting your ideas out into the world because they’re not “perfect” yet. I spend a lot of time trying to perfect things. That’s my ego at work, “better make sure you don’t look stupid; the next thing you say better not suck.” We let the fear of being criticized stop us from succeeding.

Truly successful leaders tend to take all the blame when things go wrong, but when they go right, give all the credit to their teams. We often hear the about the importance of teamwork and collaboration. However, how many times in your life have you second guessed offering a idea to your team in fear that it would sound stupid? Have you been in a meeting where someone has called for ideas, and only 2 people raise their hand to share?

True, lasting success is usually the workings of a team, even if things are accredited to an individual. You need to get comfortable being uncomfortable. You need to share an idea before it’s fully fleshed, and get feedback. Here are two quotes that resonate strongly with this concept.

“If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.” — Reid Hoffman
“Let the best ideas win… I wanted [to create] an idea meritocracy in which the best ideas would win out.” — Ray Dalio

Let’s end with this. No one has ever worked out hard, left gym, and said, “I wish I didn’t do this today!” Put yourself and your ideas out there. You better get comfortable being uncomfortable.