“To be honest, I’m just scared,” he said.
I was sitting alone at my favorite Manhattan tea shop, working on an article, when “Jason” sat down next to me and struck up a conversation.
“What are you blogging about?” he said in a thick Brooklyn accent, dropping his stuff on the floor.
Acting like I didn’t hear him over the muted music on my headphones, I continued editing my article.
“So, what are you blogging about?” he repeated louder, now pointing at the open WordPress dashboard on my screen.
“How to market your business online,” I replied, as I took one headphone out of my ear.
“Oh, really? I really want to start a design business soon,” he said.
“Why don’t you?” I replied, half paying attention.
“Well, I need an investor because I don’t have much money,” he said.
I paused my editing and replied, “Well, how much capital do you need?”
After a short pause, he said, “I don’t know; enough to get an office, two employees, and a few customers. You know, rent is really expensive here in New York.”
I smiled and said, “Startup capital isn’t your problem. You should start off as a solo freelancer anyways. Just work from your apartment until you grow big enough that your client base supports an office and employees.”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right. I just really don’t have enough time right now anyways,” he quickly responded as if I’d caught him.
I smiled as I took the other headphone out of my ear and turned towards him.
“Time is rarely the issue. We all have all the time we’ll ever have. You either choose to start a business or you don’t — that’s it. So, what’s really stopping you from starting your design business?” I said, alluding that there was something else.
“I don’t know how to setup an LLC or find clients?” he said in a slightly softer voice to signal that he was unsure.
“You probably don’t need an LLC when first starting out as a freelancer, and I’m sure you could figure out how to get your first few clients if you actually started,” I said, implying that he should dig deeper.
He paused for a few moments, staring off into space looking for the answer.
“To be honest, I’m just scared,” he replied. “I mean, what if my business doesn’t work? What will my family think? What will my fiancée think? What will I do if I fail?”
Stunned by his honesty — especially with a complete stranger — I closed my laptop and began to share a few of my more than 20 business failures.
After about fifteen minutes of heroic tales of “brilliant” business ideas failing in a wonderful fashion, I finally got to the point.
“If you want to be successful, you need to realize that being uncomfortable isn’t bad; it’s just a sign that you’re growing.”
How to Be Comfortable in Uncomfortable Situations
As I wrapped up my conversation with Jason in that small tea shop in the West Village, I challenged him to practice being uncomfortable on a daily basis using the following technique:
Now, if you’re bold enough to take the 30-day Cold Shower Challenge, you wouldn’t want to miss out on the simple companion guide that has been designed to help you get the most out of your journey.
I honestly think it is some of my best work so make it a point to, at least, check it out even if you aren’t sure if you’re actually going to turn on the cold water.
Cold Showers: A Powerful Metaphor
Now, you probably think this challenge is crazy, but let me ask you:
How many times do you know EXACTLY what you should be doing, yet somehow don’t do it?
- Maybe you know you should quit your job?
- Maybe you know you should get out of a bad relationship?
- Maybe you know you should focus on growing your business?
- Maybe you know you should have that difficult conversation?
Regardless of what you know you should be doing, the reason you haven’t done it is almost ALWAYS because it will be uncomfortable.
That is where cold showers come in.
Cold showers are the perfect metaphor for doing the things that you know you should be doing but keep putting off.
Once you realize that it is just a matter of “turning the knob” and letting the water hit you, doing the uncomfortable suddenly becomes exponentially easier.
Soon, you’ll realize that the five to ten minutes that you spend getting yourself psyched up to turn on the water are really just as painful as actually stepping in, reaching for the handle, and turning it on.
Do Cold Showers Really Work?
After challenging more than 50 entrepreneurs to do cold showers since 2011, I’ve come to the observation that they work so well mainly because they alter your relationship with what it means to be uncomfortable.
Take the graph below, for instance. The area where you feel most alive is actually riddled with discomfort yet, if you look at most people’s “bucket lists,” nearly everything will fall in into that category… and almost no one will wish they’d spent more time “playing it safe.”
Furthermore, if you are spending more time in the green zone – the area where you are pushing your limits and developing as a person – my bet is that you will most likely go on to become successful in whatever it is that you do.
On the other hand, if you are spending the majority of your life in the red zone, that’s cool with me. But, if you truly want to flourish, you’ve got some refocusing to do, and cold showers could very well be just the tool to jumpstart your momentum.
If you’re still skeptical about the effectiveness of cold showers, here are two solid resources you should check out:
- Joel Runyon’s TED Talk on how cold showers have changed his life
- Nicky Hajal’s experience of a year of cold showers
Finally, to all of you out there hustling, working hard, and trying your hardest not to fail, just remember that your mistakes are just your tuition cost.
Keep your head up and lean into the discomfort,