Guest Blogger: Why You Need to Find – And Get In To – Your Discomfort Zone

Michael Boyette from the Rapid Learning Institute and The Top Sales Dog blog reached out to me last week, and I am so glad that he did! He is giving me the incredible opportunity to post content on his website, and wanted to contribute to Sell Lead Succeed! as well. I love his take on the “Discomfort Zone”. Initially it looks like a place we would not want to be, but upon further evaluation, it is very clear that we all need to take a leap of faith and “get uncomfortable”. Enjoy!

Your sales career is “doing okay.” You’re in the groove and your boss isn’t tormenting you. But something is missing. You know you can do better. Fact is, it may take a lot more than you think to get to that next level. Top sales achievers understand this, and recognize that growth comes only by setting stretch goals. And that the rewards come after the risk, not before. In order to sell, lead, and succeed, you must first escape your personal comfort zone.

Strategies for Escaping Your Comfort Zone

1. Commit to your vision of where you want to be

People change only when the pain of staying the same exceeds the pain of changing. So the only way to escape a comfort zone is to feel discontent with it. The first step: daydream. All meaningful, lasting change begins by fantasizing about where you really want to be (i.e., not in this comfort zone). If you vividly imagine yourself busting through sales barriers, being excellent rather that just average, eventually that picture makes its way into reality. When it does, the old comfort zone is unacceptable and we feel the need to change it. That compelling urge to change is what drives us to do things that make us uncomfortable, but lead to the rewards we want.

2. Write down what you need to do

When it’s on paper, with quantifiable tasks and deadlines, you make it urgent. Writing things down is the best antidote for procrastination, which is a defense mechanism that keeps us in our comfort zones.

Example: By the end of next week, I will make 50 cold calls in the new market, and set up five sales calls that will lead to one sale.

3. Recognize – and resist – the urge to crawl back to the comfort zone

Entering a discomfort zone is stressful. At the first sign of failure our impulse is to return to where we never fail. You’re going to feel that way. Expect it and resist it.

4. Just do it

Fear dissolves through participation. Think of bungee jumping. Most people are terrified of it, can’t sleep the night before, break out into a cold sweat when the ropes are tied to their feet. For many, it’s utter agony. They then jump and the fear is over. All they feel is the intoxicating high of having broken through a personal barrier.

The same is true of public speaking. How many times have you seen speakers who seemed nervous at first – which means that deep inside they were terrified – but became increasingly confident? We all overcome fear by doing.

5. Don’t fall into a new comfort zone

So you’ve broken through that first barrier; now you can relax, right? No. High achievers use their comfort zone to rest in, not to live in.

In the early 1990s Bill Gates was the richest man in America and Microsoft Windows had established itself as the dominant operating system. Gates could have become complacent. But he didn’t. He lived in utter paranoia that networking would put Windows out of business. By 1995 he was convinced that the Internet could destroy everything he’d built. Gates’ refusal to retreat into a comfort zone explains why Microsoft still dominates the software market, and the Internet, today.

A Final Thought

Successful sales leaders and entrepreneurs are not necessarily more competent, but they do look for ways to grow and stretch. They willingly expose themselves to new things by venturing into their own personal discomfort zone.

Michael Boyette is the executive editor of  Rapid Learning Institute’s Selling Essentials elearning site  and editor of the Top Sales Dog Blog. He’s also managed marketing and PR programs for DuPont, Tyco Electronics, and US Healthcare. Connect with Michael via email at or Twitter @TopSalesDog




About Tim Mushey

Dynamic and energized sales rep, mentor and leader since 1999. This blog will be about sales, social networking, personal branding, leadership, music and having some laughs! Don’t be surprised if I mix it up on occasion, and talk about something totally different! I thrive on being part of successful, forward thinking teams. I am ready to go from the moment my feet hit the floor each morning, with the expectation that new adventures will be coming my way. It is rare that there isn't a smile on my face, as I take it all in, and have some fun along the way!

Posted on June 28, 2012, in Guest Bloggers, Sales, Sales Results and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 18 Comments.

  1. So true Michael and Tim,

    The mindset of comfort seeking makes growth a challenge in any area of life. Those who have excelled in life all have in common a dissatisfaction with the status quo. They wont rest until they know they have purposed activity and thought patterns that are geared toward betterment.

    It all starts with our beliefs. If we believe we are all good, then we are on our way down already. There’s a balance to be reached for sure, where we have to come to grips with the idea that we are doing our personal best, regardless of the outcomes, but I believe most of us are nowhere near that place.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Hi Don! Thanks for taking the time to comment. We really appreciate it. Dissatisfaction with the status quo is certainly key isn’t it?

      Beliefs are critical as you mentioned. That is something that most of us need to work on. I know I still struggle with this from time to time.

      The key is to keep fighting, keep believing and knowing that there is something better in store for us.
      Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. Tim, great guest post! Michael presents an outline that we should commit to memory, but always review. We need to constantly hear this message.
    Do you plan on making guest posts common practice? If so, you knocked it out of the park with this one.

    • Hi Chad! Thanks for taking the time to comment. Yes that was a fantastic outline by Michael wasn’t it. I would love to do more guest blogger features for sure. Michael set the bar quite high!
      Thanks again…

  3. Reblogged this on 3:17 Consulting Services and commented:
    Life begins at the end of your Comfort Zone (Neale Donald Walsh)… especially in sales!

  4. Great post Tim and so very true, it is that “just do it” part that usually hangs us up. Thanks for sharing this on your blog!

  5. This is a great post! So much of being successful falls under step 4, “just do it.” It’s the hardest part, but only by doing can you get anything to happen. I find that splitting a task down into smaller pieces makes it more manageable, and tricks your brain into getting started.

    • Thanks for taking the time to comment on Michael’s awesome guest post! You are very correct in saying that “Just Do It” is the magic to this entire process. If we have the strength to follow through with what we say we will do, success typically follows!

      Thanks again…

  6. If more people did what you suggest, they woild have much fuller lives!

  7. Hey man! great post and thanks for the like… its a good one! 🙂

    • Thanks for the follow! I followed back. Blog looks great! Looking forward to reading more. That was a guest post from Michael Boyette.Glad you liked it. Have a great night..

  8. Robert Denton

    Its a nice blog and I find one fundamental problem. If someone is living in their comfort zone, they are certainly not feeling the pain otherwise it is not a comfort zone. If it is a comfortable place to be why on earth make it uncomfortable. People are suffering too much discomfort in life in general right now so why jump out of the frying pan into the fire?

    I understand exactly where you are coming from and the message you are trying to put across. I just think you could make your point far more powerful by changing some of your descriptive phrases and words.

    • Hi Robert… Thanks for taking the time to comment. I appreciate you stopping by. This was a guest post, so I will see if the author would like to respond first. Then I will chime in. Thanks again..

  9. Thanks Don! For including Michael’s guest post on your website. I really appreciate it. Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

  10. Yes. and I have asked dozens of other sales experts the question: “What measures can a salesperson take to perfect the craft?” Their posts are coming in and I’m adding them to the bottom of my post. I suspect it will be a few weeks before they have all gathered their thoughts and contributed to the fray.

  1. Pingback: The Most Important Thing About Sales

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