Bill Eckstrom: The Need for Discomfort

Bill Eckstrom
Bill Eckstrom

Themes of Change: Comfort, Discomfort and Growth


Every bump in the road involves change, challenge and hopefully evolution. But it’s not always welcomed. Bill Eckstrom’s experience is the perfect example. He was fired from his affluent corporate job. With kids facing college, a mortgage and the loss of significant income and benefits, the last thing he valued was discomfort.

His firing was the start of a journey that eventually led to a book, a business and a compelling TED talk.


“Growth only occurs in a state of discomfort.”

And in that discomfort, we learn.


“I learned I sucked as an employee. I’m much better off accepting the risks of running my own company.”


Bill’s company EcSell Institute, founded  in 2008, turns executive leaders, sales managers, athletic coaches, teachers, and more from subpar leaders into elite coaches. And coaches matter, because everyone needs challenge and guidance to grow.


Bill Eckstrom: Why Comfort Will Ruin Your Life


We all strive for some degree of comfort, but is that really in our best interests?

Change is part of life. How one reacts is a choice.  Erik Weihenmayer, a blind adventurer, mountaineer and entrepreneur, sees three categories of reaction: Quitters, Campers and Climbers. The categories are fluid. Campers (happy with the status quo) can become climbers and vice versa.  Erik reflects that the vast majority of people are quitters and campers. But growth only occurs if you choose to become a climber. And Bill Eckstrom agrees.

Bill’s book The Coaching Effect grew out of his own need to find structured challenge and feedback in his corporate life.To his surprise, few if any resources existed. And so, with a bit of a boot from his boss, EcSell Institute was founded. EcSell provides feedback to people in a position of authority (coaches, executives, etc.)  And while feed back can be difficult, it’s an essential element for personal and professional growth.


Order isn’t all bad or evil…it’s just that nothing grows there



Bill Eckstrom and The Coaching Effect


“What makes you comfortable can run you and only in a state of discomfort you can grow.”


In his book, Bill illustrates different stages of growth and evolution using growth rings. The growth rings are a conceptual way to think about the role comfort, challenge, and our potential play in our everyday life:


Bill Eckstrom


The trick is to learn to live in Complexity. Listen as we discuss the various stages of change, their possibilities and their problems.

​Bump In The Road:

Bill Eckstrom



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Bill Eckstrom’s TED Talk

In the second part of this podcast dive deeper into the process of change, resilience and adaptability.  You can listen to this moving conversation and to Bill’s video by joining as a Bump II subscriber.

Bump II subscribers can log in here to listen to the second half of the podcast.


Bill Eckstrom On Change and Growth




“It was easily the most humiliating thing that’s happened to me.”


“You try to find some order in the chaos.”


“No one will ever fire me again.”


“I leveraged everything I had to get this business started…But the emotion of the risk created less stress than the emotion of going back to a company where I did not control my destiny. “


“I became somewhat of a poster child for people who had lost their job and made it again.”


“Being comfortable is really the result of understanding inputs and outcomes..”


“That makes it predictable and that creates comfort. And that’s what makes it so dangerous. “


“Comfort…keeps us from evolving.”


“No growth occurs in these ordered environments. Growth only coccus in a state of discomfort…the challenge is no one wants to be in a state of discomfort.”


“It is unpredictability that creates discomfort.”


“It’s such  a human challenge and need to be in a state of order and predictability.”









Bump in the Road

Everyone hits a bump in the road. The question becomes: What do you do with it?

I share stories about how people experience, manage and navigate life's bumps, hopefully using them as a pivot into a more conscious and meaningful life.