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Get Uncomfortable! Your Growth Depends On it.

by Tom Halpin

Tom HalpinOne of the things I’ve learned during my life is that growth rarely happens without the presence of discomfort. I know this to be true in all facets of my life, be it spiritually, physically, personally or professionally. It’s interesting that my nature is to steer clear of discomfort yet I know opportunities to step into discomfort will spur growth.

Let me describe a few examples of discomfort in my life:

  • Cold Calling can be a challenge. Yet when I get into a rhythm, it’s not that big of a deal. But I have to pick up the phone and start dialing and my livelihood depends on new customer relationships.
  • Creating content can be uncomfortable. What if it’s lousy? Yet I need to share my thoughts and ideas.
  • Getting to the gym and pushing myself physically is very difficult for me. My nature is to stay home or quit early. But when I’m done, it feels really good and I know that my physical wellness carries over into other areas of my life.
  • Making healthy choices in what I choose to eat and drink may be the toughest of all. Sometimes I feel entitled to eat garbage because “damn it, I work hard.” But let’s be real, that’s simply not sustainable and we pay now or pay later.
  • Goal setting or dreaming big professionally and personally. I have to allow myself to dream big dreams and think “impractically” to activate the creative side of my brain. Dreaming and then taking action on those dreams brings me fulfillment, regardless of the outcome.
  • Risk taking is uncomfortable, even when it’s calculated. After being self-employed for 11 years, I still need to process through risky decisions by asking myself “what’s the best, likely and worst possible outcome?” Nobody accomplishes anything significant in their lives without taking calculated risks. Think about it.
  • My wife just made the decision to retire and that’s a good thing. But her income just vaporized and it’s uncomfortable. Yet there is contentment in the house that wasn’t there previously.

These are just a few personal examples of discomfort. None of it’s easy, but it’s all necessary.

Certainly there are limits to how much change and discomfort we can actually take on personally or professionally at any given time. But if you’re experiencing zero discomfort, that should be alarming. And if you have resources entrusted to you, and we all do, is complacency acceptable?

For me, I anticipate lots of discomfort in the years ahead. But isn’t that kind of exciting? After all, I’ve yet to see status quo yield much growth.

What about you?

Consider getting uncomfortable. The process might be painful but the growth has the potential to be life-altering.

Tom Halpin is president, The Halpin Group, a Michigan-based consulting firm focused on leadership, strategy and revenue generation. He can be reached at


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