The enemy is comfort

August 8, 2018  |  Linda Wedul

The enemy is comfort

Picture these scenarios: Allowing a hairy tarantula to crawl up your arm. Singing in front of a crowd. Eating insects. Posing for an art class in nothing but your birthday suit. Do you have the willies yet?

These scenarios are not from episodes of “Fear Factor.” These are just some of the fears that Michelle Poler, keynote speaker and influencer, faced during her “100 Days Without Fear” challenge.

I was fortunate to hear Poler give a keynote address at a recent conference. For those who didn’t catch her story on the news, Poler embarked on a project where she pledged to face one fear a day for 100 straight days. She then recorded herself facing her fears and posted the videos on YouTube for the whole world to see. And indeed, the whole world saw -- the videos went viral on day 43, receiving nearly 6,000 views. (That would be fear number one for me. Comment sections are not known for boosting self-esteem when it starts to expand beyond family and friends.)

But her talk was more than about skydiving, riding roller coasters and holding snakes -- it was about tapping into your fullest potential. For Poler, she realized her life wasn’t being led to the fullest because fear was defining it. In doing this project, she uncovered some truths about fear:  

The enemy of success is not failure, it is comfort. Our natural instincts are to avoid fear and discomfort. But staying comfortable is restrictive. We must embrace fear and discomfort to have new experiences. 

Fear is our ally. It’s not bad to be fearful -- we need fear so that we can be brave. The key is to focus on being brave to move away from comfort and toward growth. 

Focus on positive outcomes. Ever ask yourself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Often, these innocuous words of encouragement cause you to imagine the worst-case scenarios; you picture everything from public humiliation to worldwide destruction! Instead, when moving out of your comfort zone, ask yourself, “What is the BEST that can happen?” Now, you’re focusing on positive outcomes.

We need to imagine the best to achieve the best. Let's all be remarkable, be brave and always wonder what is the BEST that can happen!

Topics: Personal Development

Linda Wedul

Linda Wedul is president and CEO of the MNCPA. She’s usually spotted at MNCPA events, introducing herself to members with a warm smile and memorable laugh. Mixed among the Footnotes, accounting journals, leadership books and three monitors in her office, you’d be surprised to see a dog kennel. Her unpaid job is volunteering as a foster family for service dogs in training through Can-Do-Canines. She and her husband have two adult children and live in Farmington. Linda can be reached at 952-885-5516 or

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