According to most swimming superstars,“Getting in a cold pool first thing in the morning” is the single hardest thing about training. Those first few minutes are the toughest part of the day. They dread the initial immersion in the chilly water and even though they do it everyday most say they never get used to it.

But once they’re in, they’re in.

Overcoming the initial pain, worry, or discomfort can be the most challenging part of any endeavor but it is the only way to reach your potential:

Just like how athletes must practice to be comfortable in discomfort, you must as well if you hope to improve your skills and advance your career. The hard stuff, the stuff you’d rather skip or do later is often the stuff that’s most necessary. Every time we choose to play it safe or bypass challenging intellectual prompts, we impede our ability to innovate and grow, waste our own (or our company’s) money, and squander our talent.

Fear is often at the core of resistance to make a change. So how do you push past it? Break it down. Ask yourself, “What is the very first step I need to take?” and take it. As Special Forces Instructor Mark Hickey describes,

I can say from my own experience that after you do one thing and conquer it, the next thing is a little bit easier.

Each time you fight through the discomfort, you arm yourself with confidence, you fortify yourself with experience and you inoculate yourself against setbacks. Taking action is empowering regardless of the outcome. Don’t hesitate or dip your toe in the water.

The best way to deal with initial discomfort is to literally jump in as the swimmers do. I cannot promise that the rest will go swimmingly well but getting wet certainly makes swimming easier