Excuse me? Embrace discomfort?

If you are like most people your first response to that is likely to be, “Why exactly would I want to do that?”

The fact is our brains are not wired to naturally welcome fearsome, uncomfortable or seemingly perilous situations. The lower center of our brain will suggest quite the opposite: Run away!

So, why embrace discomfort? In a word: opportunity. Huge opportunity. Sales-boosting opportunity. Life-changing opportunity.

Studies consistently show the most successful people in the world embrace discomfort. In fact, they thrive on it; that’s what sets them apart from the pack.

The problem is our brains are wired to understand fear as a threat and act accordingly, with little effort on our part.

While our higher reasoning skills allow us to discern the difference between the threat of a saber-toothed tiger and the comparatively mild discomfort of dealing with a non-responsive customer, the primitive part of our brain registers both situations as threats, triggering what psychologists call “flight instinct.”

When we place discomfort in the category of “fear” we naturally are tempted to avoid it at all cost.

The solution: You can, and must, embrace discomfort. You have the power to make bold choices. In every situation there is clear motivation that compels each person to work through difficult situations. When it comes to sales, how badly do you want it? How strong is your desire to excel?

Let me share with you three ways you can train your brain.

1. Learn the Challenge-Change Connection

Memorize the following statement. Burn it into your brain. Tattoo it on the inside of your eyelids so that you can read it while you are sleeping.

“Where there is no challenge, there is no change.”

One key to understanding how your brain works is to realize that every time you have a moment of discomfort you have a corresponding moment of decision.

I challenge you to become intensely aware of those challenging moments and of the decisions that immediately follow. Until you train your brain otherwise, those decisions will be made by default. But you have the power within to rewrite that mental code. Through awareness and repetition you can choose your response.

2. Write New Stories

Justifications and rationalizations are a natural default of the human psyche. I call this behavior “making up stories,” and I believe we are really, really good at it.

Making up stories is a skill we have developed into a fine and subtle art. It is the way we accept and normalize our comfort addiction. Like the frog in the proverbial boiling pot, one small step at a time we justify self-defeating behavior and slowly make it the norm to continually be defeated by our own desire for comfort.

Here is some good news about all those rationalizations (stories) you’ve been telling yourself for years: They are all fiction. You have made them up and have accepted them as truth over time. Why is that good news? Because it means you have the power and ability to write new and better stories.

Consider this insight form Alex Taba, the No.1 sales representative at Penske Automotive, who sells Ferraris for a living: “In sales, you have to start with the end result in mind. You have to believe in what will happen in every sales conversation. I envision my customer driving away in a car, and then I just connect the dots to get him there.”

3. Start Small

The problem is that we think too much about the huge discomforts that plague us. The biggies scare us so much that we tend to give up on the possibility of all change and growth. Starting small may not feel like change, but it is. And it is precisely where we should start: with small discomforts.

Start right now by picking up the phone and making that phone call you’ve been putting off. Yes, that call. The one that makes you uncomfortable.

So what are you waiting for? Why not live your best sales life right now? Why not embrace your discomfort? Why not take your performance to a new level? Why not change someone’s world today?

Jeff Shore is an after-sales expert, speaker and executive consultant. He has authored several books, including “Be Bold and Win the Sale: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Boost Your Performance,” and can be found at jeffshore.com.