It’s a hot evening in July and I’m perched at my desk, sweating and grimacing over an email.
I’ve just opened my latest course and at midnight the price doubles – which seems like something people would want to know, right? Especially the people who attended the webinar?
I’ve emailed everyone who expressed interest twice already – once on Wednesday and once on Thursday. Is a third time overkill? Am I going to annoy everyone? BECAUSE OH GOD WHAT IF I ANNOY EVERYONE.
It would be so much more comfortable to close my laptop and pour myself a drink.
It’d be so much easier to say “if people want it, they’ll buy it! They’ll figure it out.”
But instead of drinking a tall vodka gimlet, I sucked it up, got uncomfortable, and sent that third sales email.
And would you like to know how much money than third email brought in? $2,134.73
Being slightly uncomfortable for 30 seconds brought in enough money to pay for a family vacation or two of those huge wheels of Parmesan cheese.
Since this happened, I’ve been thinking a lot about those Pinterest quotes about how “great things never come from comfort zones” and how we need to “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
While I love an inspirational quote as much as the next white lady, I’ve always given these particular sayings a bit of side eye.
Like, how do I know the difference between Challenging Thing That’s Actually Good For Me and Thing I Genuinely Don’t Like, Never Will, And Makes Me Hate Life?
What’s the difference between knowing myself + my limitations and selling myself short?
I’m not sure I can answer that probably-universal question, but I think I’ve found a workaround: be willing to make yourself slightly uncomfortable. Like, 25% more uncomfortable.
Making yourself 25% uncomfortable will probably yield 100% better results.
Push yourself to talk to one or two more people at that event or party
You hate networking and small talk? Me too. On the off chance I find myself in room full of strangers, I usually talk to two people and then wander off in search of the vending machine or pet.
What if – instead of giving into my nearly immediate desire to leave – I pushed myself to talk to one more person? Or two?
I’m not forcing myself to stay for three hours or talk to 15 people. I’m not making myself do something I hate. I’m allowing myself to be slightly uncomfortable for a short amount of time. In the process, I’m doubling how many people I’ve talked to.
Related: Networking for introverts
Approach three programs/people/jobs you think will say yes and one that’s a long shot
Apply to three jobs that you’re obviously qualified for and one that would be a bit of a stretch. Apply to your ‘back up’ schools AND the fancy school. Email the painfully good-looking person on Okcupid you’re pretty sure everyone, ever is emailing.
Not to sound like your mom but you never know what’s going to happen. Someone’s going to get that job/scholarship/cutie; it might as well be you. Click To TweetYou might be amazed by what happens when you reach out to the Big Deal Long Shot. Kathleen and Emily landed some huge guests on the first season of Being Boss just by asking. I know someone who applied to Harvard as a long shot and got in!
Side note: did you know most women won’t apply for a job unless they meet 100% of the qualifications while men will apply for jobs they’re 60% qualified for? For the love of Pete, apply for that job you don’t think you can get.
Keeping working on that challenging project for five or ten more minutes
One of my favorite/worst habits is checking email or social media anytime a project gets hard.
Trying to connect Getdpd and Deadline Funnel? BETTER SEE IF ANYONE’S EMAILED ME. Struggling with a new sales page? Clearly, now is the time to see what’s happening on Facebook! Can’t write an engaging intro to that blog post? Let’s watch Instagram Stories!
So when I see myself doing this, I note what I’m doing (“I want to check Twitter because I’m overwhelmed by all this code”) and then sitting in that discomfort. I’ll spend another five or ten minutes hashing it out and then – if I still want to – I’ll go check email.
Sometimes I really do need a break. A lot of times I’m letting myself off the hook and distracting myself from work I’m 100% capable of doing.
Send one followup email even though you’re worried it’ll be annoying
Didn’t hear back from that job or academic program? Send a follow up email.
Contractor or client ignoring your invoice? Send a follow up email.
Meet with someone awesome and want to hang out with them again? You guessed it! Send a followup email.
I know followup emails can feel awkward or needy. It feels vulnerable to say “I really want to work at your company!” or “I want to be friends!” It’s a lot more comfortable to devotedly hope that someone will remember you and what you want.
Here’s the thing: we’re all busy and we all have full inboxes. Emails and text messages really do get lost in the shuffle! Make it easier for people to help you and give you want you want by (charmingly! non-demandingly!) reminding them.
When we see people who have things we want – a cool job, a great relationship, a lovely home – it’s easy to imagine they’re somehow different than us. That they have a secret super power that made of all those things possible.
And maybe they do! Or maybe they just made themselves a little bit uncomfortable and sent a second email.
I want to hear from you! How often do you do thing that make you uncomfortable to get what you want? Tell us about it in the comments so we can be inspired!
P.S. It sounds strange, but getting outside of your comfort zone is a habit you can develop, just like brushing your teeth or making your bed. This will help – and it’s free!