The discomfort of success 

Well, this is a bit of an ominous title isn’t it? It’s an idea that’s been niggling at the back of my mind for a while now. It started when I listened to an episode of Sara Tasker’s podcast Hashtag Authentic where she interviewed Farrah Storr, editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and author of the book ‘The Discomfort Zone’.

In the episode she discussed why it’s important for us to get out of our comfort zone and feel uncomfortable – that’s how we grow, learn and move forward. This is something I can definitely relate to.

Last year was a year of growth for me, involving me doing a lot of things I’ve never done before and yes – it was damn uncomfortable. I felt terrified a lot of the time, but it was also amazing, and that did outweigh the discomfort.

It’s like wearing in new shoes. It hurts, but you know the more you do the thing that feels uncomfortable, the better it’ll be. It’ll start to feel more comfortable, you just have to go through the pain of wearing them in.

I do however think it’s a little simplistic when some people say “do the scary thing, no matter how uncomfortable it feels.”


There is something to be said about listening to yourself and knowing when to say, enough is enough – I need a break. Especially if you’re struggling with your mental health.

Last year I had months of feeling super anxious and months of feeling amazing. I pushed through my fear and did the uncomfortable things when I felt good mentally. I said no, cut myself some slack and retreated into my comfy slippers (metaphorically speaking) when I felt less good mentally. And that’s OK.

I think the idea that’s perhaps niggling at me the most isn’t even about the discomfort of success necessarily, but more the comfort of failure.

The idea that if I don’t “succeed” with the dreams I have, things will stay the same. I’ll stay in the same job I’ve been in for six years. Dan and I will stay in our rented one-bedroom flat.

And as someone who has an ongoing love affair with routine and a turbulent relationship with change… that idea is in equal measure tempting and terrifying.

It makes me want to sigh with relief and cry out in despair all at once.

Deep down, I know full well that this isn’t in the cards for me. I know I have an armour of self-belief that will keep me safe when I keep nudging myself into my discomfort zone. I know I want change more than I want sameness.

I just need to remind myself of this sometimes. I need to remember my ‘why’ and look back to my evidence bank that tells me I’m on the right path.

I guess I’m just sharing this as a shout-out to anyone else out there who has secretly thought “maybe things would be easier if I didn’t succeed”, because you’re not alone. I think it’s totally natural to have these moments, especially when things feel hard and the discomfort of success feels almost too much to bear.

Give yourself space and compassion. Dig deep. Imagine your life in five years time if nothing changed – is that something you want? Now imagine what your life in five years time could look like if you let go of your fear of uncertainty and discomfort… how does that look?

This feels a little more like a journal entry than a blog, but hopefully that’s OK with you. I like to be really honest here and share thoughts like this to highlight that it’s OK to feel this way.

I’ve mentioned the word success here quite a lot and I’m keen to explore this more. What does ‘success’ mean? Do we even know when we’re officially ‘successful’? I’m going to delve into this more in this month’s newsletter, going out next Sunday 31st, so if you want to read more on the subject – do subscribe before then.

If this post has sparked any thoughts, I’d love to hear them – let me know in the comments below.

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The discomfort of success

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