Why Should You Embrace Discomfort? Opportunity, Of Course.

Uncomfortable situations are common in the sales world. Get a leg up by being prepared.

learn more about Jeff Shore

By Jeff Shore

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you are like most people, your first response to the idea of embracing discomfort is probably, "Why exactly would I want to do that?" Our minds are not wired to naturally welcome uncomfortable or seemingly perilous situations. The lower center of our brain suggests quite the opposite: run away!

So why embrace discomfort? In a word: opportunity. Sales-boosting opportunity. Life-changing opportunity. Studies consistently show that the most successful salespeople in the world embrace discomfort. In fact, they thrive on it -- that's what sets them apart from the pack.

Related: Don't Forget the Swagger: The Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Selling Your Product or Service

Consider the observation of John J. Ratey, MD, in his book A User's Guide to the Brain: "The physical and mental responses to fear were so important to the survival of primitive man that they remain very powerful and long-lasting to this day. Unfortunately, this adaptive response is not always appropriate in today's world. Our civilization has evolved away from the need to over-respond, but we still do."

Discomforts, even in sales, fall into this "response-to-fear" category. Our brains are wired to understand fear as a threat and act accordingly, with little to no conscious effort on our part. While our higher reasoning skills allow us to discern the difference between the threat of a saber-toothed tiger and the comparatively mild discomfort of dealing with a non-responsive customer, the primitive part of our brain registers both situations as threats, thus triggering what psychologists call the flight instinct. This instinct is one of the forces that compels us to flee from a threat -- any threat. When we place discomfort in the category of "fear," we are naturally tempted to avoid it at all costs.

Here is the good news: You've got it in you to embrace discomfort and thus to do amazing things. And to succeed, you can -- you must -- embrace discomfort. You have the power to do this. You can make bold choices. This fact is proven over and over by the most successful salespeople. They are not freaks of nature nor have they been injected with some kind of Stepford Wives sales chip. They are made of the exact same stuff you are.

Related: Want to Hire Killer Salespeople? Follow These Steps.

Easier said than done, right? Here are the steps to take to prepare you to embrace discomfort:

1. Identify the uncomfortable moments. Think about the moments that cause even the slightest knot in your stomach. The cold call. The price objection. Asking for the sale. Follow-up. You know what the moments are.

2. Plan your response before you face the discomfort. Most people are reactive to their discomforts -- top professionals are proactive. They decide in advance how they will respond.

3. Rehearse. Like an actor in a play, put yourself in that moment and go over it again and again. State your response out loud. Feel it. Breathe it. Live it.

4. Keep calm and be bold. When you anticipate and prepare for your discomfort, you will be ready when it bubbles up. Take a deep breath and enjoy the moment. You've already made your decision on how to respond, now you simply need to carry that decision out.

When it comes to sales, one doesn't have to go looking for uncomfortable situations to embrace. Discomforts abound in the sales world. So, the question is, how strong is your desire to excel?

Be bold in the face of discomforts and watch your productivity soar. More importantly, be bold -- and you can change your customer's world.

Related: 5 Ways to Boost Your Willpower

Jeff Shore

Entrepreneur, Sales Expert and Author; Founder of Shore Consulting

Jeff Shore, of Shore Consulting, is a sought-after sales expert, speaker, author and consultant whose latest book, Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance, was published by McGraw-Hill Professional in January 2014.

Related Topics

Editor's Pick

This 61-Year-Old Grandma Who Made $35,000 in the Medical Field Now Earns 7 Figures in Retirement
A 'Quiet Promotion' Will Cost You a Lot — Use This Expert's 4-Step Strategy to Avoid It
3 Red Flags on Your LinkedIn Profile That Scare Clients Away
'Everyone Is Freaking Out.' What's Going On With Silicon Valley Bank? Federal Government Takes Control.

How to Detect a Liar in Seconds Using Nonverbal Communication

There are many ways to understand if someone is not honest with you. The following signs do not even require words and are all nonverbal queues.

Business News

'Things Will Go Wrong.' Google Releases Its Chatbot Bard With Caution.

The AI-powered search tool went live today to a limited number of users in the U.S. and the U.K.

Business Ideas

55 Small Business Ideas To Start Right Now

To start one of these home-based businesses, you don't need a lot of funding -- just energy, passion and the drive to succeed.


How Do I Know I'm Getting the Most Out of My Business? The Answer Is Obvious — Yet Overlooked.

Explore how you can leverage first-party data to drive better results and make more informed decisions.

Starting a Business

How Startups Can Navigate Uncertainty, AI and Investing in 2023

This article discusses how entrepreneurs can best navigate operations, hiring and fundraising this year.