Get Comfortable Being Uncomfortable

By: Sam Shields, @samshieldss 

The sport industry is comprised of those with years of experience, all of which have their own unique story to tell. The journey to success within any given profession is often a long and curvy one, and without guidance from those who have done it before you, especially in an industry everybody wants to work in, it may seem impossible. There are so many of those that I have looked up to and aspired to be one day. It comes with the territory. While much of the work a young professional looking to break into the sport industry does consists of grunt work, it is worth stopping and taking a look at those around you, seeking their advice, and appreciating their journey, as they are your most valuable resource. While many (if not all) of the pointers that I have been given thus far have been incorporated into my mindset, here is one of the best pieces of advice that I have received in my young career:

 Get comfortable being uncomfortable.

This was said to myself and my fellow Cohort 16S Sport Management Masters classmates at the University of San Francisco by Professor Cellini back in 2014 and the words have resonated with me ever since. In my experience, I have forced myself to be in uncomfortable situations that allow for experiences and learning opportunities that may not have been possible had I stayed within my comfort zone. Whether it’s cold-calling someone who holds a position I aspire to be in someday for an informational interview, moving to new parts of the country to follow a job or even taking on additional responsibilities that may be outside of my expertise, I have found that the more I am uncomfortable, the bigger advantage I have moving forward in my career.

We all have opportunities that present themselves in our lives that would “make sense” or “keep us comfortable”, whether that’s financially, personally or professionally. Though tempting at times, I have done my best so far to resist the temptation of “comfort” and continue to keep my eyes on the prize, and I would strongly urge a young professional breaking into the sport industry to do the same. In addition to making for some great stories down the line, being consistently uncomfortable is beneficial in all aspects in that it provides an opportunity to learn, and as long as you continue to learn, you continue to grow.

What is your most useful piece of advice you have incorporated into your life? 

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