Why feeling uncomfortable is the key to success

Published May 04, 2018Last updated May 22, 2018


Your comfort zone is a beautiful thing, but you will never grow there!

When I started learning web development, and especially since getting my first job, feeling uncomfortable has become a bit of a recurring theme.

I’m going to be honest, at first, it was a real struggle. Every time I would find myself in an uncomfortable situation, I would start second guessing myself — Is web development really for me? Maybe I’m just not intelligent enough? Will I ever be any good? Will I ever learn enough to actually get a job and get paid for this?

I’m sure many of you can relate.

If you want something in life that you have never had, you will have to do something that you have never done

Maybe you have been learning to code for a while but still don’t feel confident enough to apply for any developer jobs. You might not feel you are ready yet. You might fear rejection. Whatever the reason, that lack of self confidence will make you feel uncomfortable. And you’re not alone. We would all feel the same in that situation.

However, it’s the people who suck it up, apply for every job they can, contact companies asking for work, and face potential rejection after rejection who will win.

Hell, you might not be ready yet and you might not land your dream job straight away. But, by putting yourself out there — by stepping out of your comfort zone — you win. You win! You get the interview practice, the experience and you get vital feedback on where you need to improve.

At the end of the day, would you rather be someone who has been learning to code for 18 months, but hasn’t even started applying for jobs, because you don’t feel comfortable or ready yet?

Or would you rather be the person who’s been learning to code for 6 months, and starts applying for jobs? You might feel uncomfortable and maybe it takes you another 6 months to land a job, but 12 months after first opening a text editor and you are working in your dream career? Believe me, this can happen.

The uncomfortable feeling wont stop or get any easier once you get a job

I hate JavaScript. (Well, maybe hate is a strong word, but I’m not its biggest fan). Why? — Because it’s hard. I find it difficult.

I’m a fairly confident developer, but sometimes I find myself faced with a task or project, and the temptation is to reach for a technology that I feel comfortable with, rather than building with something new and challenging.

I might know that React will produce a better end product, but my initial reaction is that I don’t want to be in that uncomfortable situation where I don’t know what I’m doing and I have to reach for the documentation every 30 seconds.

However, by taking this approach, I do myself a disservice. I’m hindering my own learning, development and progression. I’m ultimately inhibiting my own success.

A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.

What I have to tell myself in these situations is that whilst I might be uncomfortable. This is actually an opportunity. An opportunity to try new things, learn a new skill or further my career.

So…What’s the key to continued success?

Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable — Embrace it

When an opportunity presents itself you have to take it. You have to step out of your comfort zone.

At the end of the day, this is what web development is. A complex, constantly evolving industry where you can never know everything and you will repeatedly be faced with situations where you are made to feel uncomfortable doing something you haven’t done before. That’s the price of progression.

As a Web Developer, and in life in general, feeling uncomfortable is just something you have to get used to.

You cannot let the ‘fear’ of feeling uncomfortable dictate your life. If you do, it will limit what you are able to do and how much you are able to achieve.

Being in your comfort zone is synonymous with repetition. While repetition is easy, it’s also boring and un-motivating. If, however, you are striving for something more, want to get out of a rut, if you are searching for success, then you need to get out of your comfort zone. Doing that is what separates happy, passionate, successful people from those that are comfortable and bored.

Once you learn to embrace the fear you will be astounded by the progress that you will make, both within your web development career and also personally.

Success is not just about what you have done, it’s about what you inspire others to do.

Recently I watched a Ted talk, by @luvvie titled ‘Get comfortable with being uncomfortable’. I highly recommend it!

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

Awesomely Luvvie — ‘Get Comfortable with being uncomfortable’

Now this talk isn’t about tech or web development, but last night, while I was reading this article, the parallel between the talk and web development hit me.

One of the most important things for success in life, and web development, is pushing your boundaries and limits. What’s also important is that when you do step out of your comfort zone and do what make’s you feel uncomfortable, this in turn inspires similar change and inspiration for others to do the same.

This embodies what the whole web development community is about. By being part of a community, sharing your story and your successes, you inspire others to do the same.

You might be right at the very beginning of your journey. You might have had periods where you felt uncomfortable and wanted to quit. But by pushing through, by becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable, and reaching those small milestones, not only do you achieve you own success, you also motivate others that are struggling or feeling like giving up.

This is why it’s important to give back to the community. Share your projects, share your success, encourage fellow developers on slack, the forums and social media. Your success is communities success.

Step out of your comfort zone, get comfortable being uncomfortable, you owe it to yourself and the rest of us!

As Luvvie describes it — Be the domino.

As always, I love to engage with like minded people, so feel free to say hello on Twitter.

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