Do You Really Want To Be Comfortable?

(Posted on 24/06/15)

Think of an athlete, for instance a long distance marathon runner. This athlete didn’t just wake up one day and start running competitive marathons, there was a steady build up in the distance he ran, from 5 miles per week, to 10 miles per week, to 20 miles per week, to 40 miles per week and then finally to 26.2 miles in a few hours. This build up or growth process would have been hard work, and by hard I mean wretchedly tough and ongoing, day in day out, week in week out, year in year out. This ongoing discomfort is the price the athlete pays, to grow mentally and physically tough enough to consistently compete at the top levels. What’s more, to stay at the top, the athlete has to keep paying the price. There are no short cuts.

Professional selling is no different, as no one ever wakes up one day and instantly becomes a peak performer. There will always be an ongoing, challenging and frequently uncomfortable process of growth, which the sales person has to endure and progress through, to reach the top. Most people will always take the route of least resistance, so they won’t go the extra mile, or in selling terms they won’t make the extra calls, they won’t ask the tough questions and they allow their minds to adopt limiting beliefs about what they are worth, what they can achieve and the achievability of their targets.

Let’s make no mistake, like the athlete’s world, the salesperson’s world is tough and it frequently hurts. A professional salesperson has to be mentally tough, to continually stretch their comfort zones, to resist the endless onslaughts of negativity and limiting beliefs and to keep going day after day, month after month and year after year. If you can live just outside of your comfort zone, you will inevitably grow strong, and in sales that’s the only way to reach and stay at the top. As a very green and rookie rep selling  pharmaceuticals, I learnt to thrive on the buzz of living outside my comfort zone, and my mantra was; “No matter how much it hurts, I can always make one more call”. With that attitude, I could not fail, and my territory soon had the fastest growth rates and highest market shares throughout the entire company. If you want to excel in sales, first get tough with yourself, as you are your own biggest competitor.

There are no short cuts. If it’s uncomfortable, that’s because you are outside of your comfort zone and all importantly you are therefore growing. Professional salespeople need to be constantly stretching their comfort zones, and they need to welcome the discomfort for what it really is, their own development and progress. Never expect to grow too fast too soon, but have the personal discipline and accountability to take small incremental steps outside of your comfort zone, each and every day. A marathon is 26.2 miles long, but it is always run step by step. You can always take one more step, and for the salesperson, no matter how tough it may be, you can always make one more call.


Written by Mark Pickles who is a recruitment consultant with M-Tech360, focussing on senior sales and executive recruitment for sales professionals selling into the Pharma and Life Science industries. Contact Mark on