The Discomfort Zone — If You Want to Win, You Have to Go In

When Ike and Tina Turner recorded “Proud Mary” in 1970, Tina added these words to the beginning — “Well ya’ know, every now and then, I think you might like to hear something from us ‘nice and easy.’ But there’s just one thing… you see we never, ever, do nothing nice and easy. We always do it nice and rough.”

I often think about those lyrics when we’ve launched a new major marketing effort for a client or my own firm. Halfway through production, the complications have built up and we have media, production and other complications.

I have usually ruffled more than a few feathers at that point, lost my patience, raised my voice and then apologized, re-grouped, revamped and tried again.

I look over at one of my loyal and overworked team and I say what I know they’re thinking. “Why can’t we ever do anything ‘nice and easy’?”

I know the answer before I finish the question. It’s because nothing ever comes nice and easy. At least not to me or successful CEOs, business owners or marketing professionals I know. It always comes nice and rough. That’s because innovation and success are found in the Discomfort Zone.

All the talk you hear about getting in your “comfort zone” is great if you’re talking about public speaking. But getting your organization to the top requires you to do what comes “unnaturally.”

You have to do things that are difficult and that others will not attempt (or if they do, will quit when it gets too hard).

I wish there was an easy solution I could share. But I’d be misleading you if I took you in the direction that some of the YouTube marketing gurus take you.

The keys to success in marketing your service or product are right in the tagline (or motto) of Farris Marketing — Stand Out, Connect, Ignite. Those seem like simple words, but each word represents a lot of hard and difficult work. Each word requires you to get into the “Discomfort Zone” if you want to get it right.

Stand Out

Your marketing must make your organization stand out from the competition. How will you do that? There may be 5,000 organizations in America that offer the same thing as you. There may be five right in your hometown or market.

Will you be the lowest price, best quality, best service — or try to be all of those? Will your messages be funny or serious? Helpful or outrageous?

Do the work. Get in your Discomfort Zone. Research everyone else. Survey customers to determine what is most important to them. Test, test, test.


How can you connect with your customers? It helps if you’re one of them. But you must know everything they’re thinking and doing. You need to know what they think not just about you, but about your competitors, too. What can you share in-person or via social media that they will find useful?


How can you ignite the customer’s desire to act? What is it that motivates them to buy? When does that happen? How can your message be there when it does happen?

Do the work to get the answers these questions. Then do the work to supply what the customer wants. That’s how you win.

Remember, the road to winning goes through the Discomfort Zone. And to get through that zone — you need to do things nice and rough.

About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Email questions and comments to and connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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