You probably have to get uncomfortable to get what you want

A bit of real talk about self-development, business, and self-improvement: you're more likely to get what you want if you're willing to get uncomfortable. Click through for a pep talk about getting outside of your comfort zone.

Here’s a short list of times I’ve been so uncomfortable I sweat through my shirt:

Moving to New Zealand, knowing no one
Is it a terrible idea to enroll in a graduate program in another country? I don’t know anyone here – who will I call if something goes wrong? How do I get around the city? How am I going to find an apartment?

Meeting a blog reader for coffee for the first time
What are we going to talk about? What should I wear that’s simultaneously cool and not-trying-too-hard? What if she’s disappointed by who I am IRL?

Sending a fourth follow-up email to that Dream Client
Are they going to block my emails? Will they forward them around the office, mocking me? Will I be blacklisted from their entire industry, known as That Horrible Pushy Woman From Minneapolis?

And the results of those cringe-worthy, sweat-inducing experiences?

Once-in-a-lifetime memories + an education that helps me create better courses
An eight-year friendship that includes yearly vacations to wonderful places
A five-figure contract of I-can’t-believe-you’re-paying-me-to-do-this projects

Of course, there have been puh-lenty of times I’ve screwed up my courage and flung myself out of my comfort zone, for naught. There was culture shock, refund requests, and rejected pitches.

And it’s likely that my future holds more of these awkward, unpleasant realities because that’s the nature of doing things that make you uncomfortable.

There is a direct correlation between how uncomfortable you are willing to be and how likely you are to get what you want. Share on XRight now, I’m witnessing this in real time.  I’m currently leading 250 people through Bank Boost, a live program where we alllll put ourselves on Spending Diets + Earning Sprees for six weeks. We cheer each other on, share ideas, and discuss the merits of’s free section.

Here’s what I’ve noticed. A few of the people doing Bank Boost have thrown themselves into their Earning Sprees headlong. Becoming a shopper for Instacart? Sure, they’ll give it a try! Figuring out how to sell things on Poshmark? Okay! Telling people (repeatedly! on different social media platforms!) that they’re available for hire? Yup!

Unsurprisingly, the people who have been willing to try new things and make themselves uncomfortable are the exact same people who have brought in an extra $1,000 in three weeks.

Coincidence? Nope.
The vast majority of people are unwilling to make themselves uncomfortable. When you inhabit a space most people are unwilling to go, you’ve got less competition and you’re more likely to get what you want. Share on XI am not, of course, suggesting that you push past your discomfort to follow a dicey-seeming dude down a dark alley to see the puppies in his windowless van. This is not where I convince you that you should remain in your uncomfortable job with your emotionally abusive boss.

But I imagine we all know the difference between good-for-you uncomfortable and bad-for-you uncomfortable.

Good-for-your uncomfortable feels terrifying and brave and exciting. It’s doing the things you know you need to do, even though you might not be doing them perfectly. It’s taking a deep breath and clicking ‘send.’

It’s walking into a room full of strangers with your head held high, your heart beating in your throat, and a desire to try your best – even if you’re sweating through your shirt a little bit.

I want to hear from you! If you’re good at doing things that make you uncomfortable, tell us how you work up the courage in the comments below so we can learn from you!

P.S. If you need 1-on-1 help or accountability to get uncomfortable, I can do that!

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash

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  1. Judith Barillas

    I LOVED this! I am constantly uncomfortable – mainly because of perfectionism. Perhaps also because I now live in a foreign country?! My big “uncomfortable” isn’t that though (I speak the language and have lived here before). It’s because I’ve started writing a book. Talk about discomfort and fear!! Thanks for the encouragement.

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      How exciting, Judith!

  2. MQ

    I’m leaving my career of ten years to start something completely new to me— and in a new city! also at much less pay… because I think I will find a lot more happiness and peace than I have now. Shakin’ in my boots!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      You can do it! So many high fives!

  3. Halina

    This is a great reminder! I look for those good-uncomfortable situations because I feel a lot of growth lies there. I also wimp out a lot and don’t follow through because sometimes growth is overrated. But seriously, I know society places a lot of importance on comfort, but I personally find comfort to be the antithesis of adventure. I prefer to choose adventure.

  4. Mel

    This was a nice bit of encouragement to keep going through the uncomfortable process of confronting a couple of personal issues. I have an external issue with a family member that I’m trying to process and navigate, which led to a realization of some unintentionally disrespectful behavior on my part. It’s rough going right now, but I’m trusting that the end result is worth the pain.

  5. Valerie Wong

    Loved this! It was an awesome and timely reminder….thank you! 🙂

  6. Kirsty

    I wimp out a tonne on pushing myself but I also often manage it on a big scale! Moving to a foreign country where I don’t really speak more than a few words of the language and know no one? Sure! Vacation alone in scary sounding places? Sure! Make presentations in front of hundreds of people? Sounds like fun! And when I do push myself I try to remember what’s the worst that can happen? Usually it’s that I’m embarrassed. So what?! I’ve been embarrassed a bunch before, I’m still here!

  7. Sarah

    Someone wrote a book called Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway. This title stuck in my mind like a mantra tho I have to confess that I never read the book! I believe that I’ve lived my whole life this way if you don’t push for the boundaries how do you know what is possible to achieve. I’m now a 66 year old fashion blogger!

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