I live in a traditional English village. There is the normal pub, church, pond, and a village green where they play cricket on the weekends. I am not a big cricket fan myself but it does look lovely to have a cricket match going on with spectators sitting on rugs and having a picnic.
I have a house overlooking the green and it has a rather rampant ivy growing up the side. The ivy needs to be trimmed back twice a year or it starts to play havoc with the roof. A little while ago my gardener retired and finding a gardener where I live is quite a challenging task. I had not found a gardener despite looking and so I decided to trim the ivy myself.
I am not keen on heights to say the least and as I slowly climbed the ladder, rung by rung, my hands clutched onto the sides so tightly my knuckles went white. Although I kept reminding myself of the consequences of not doing the task and I was saying to myself “Its perfectly safe. Just be careful and you will be fine” my body had a real sense of fear that stayed with me until I had completed the task. The interesting thing is that six months later I had to do the trim the ivy again and even though I was initially reluctant to do the task, once I was on the ladder I did not feel the fear in the same way.
This reminded me of my introduction to sales and how everything was strange and how it felt very uncomfortable at first. Despite saying to myself “This is going to help people save a lot of money and they will be glad to have met you” my body had other ideas. A mature and full grown man quivering at the prospect of meeting someone to help them save a large amount of money! Bizzare but my body did not see it that way. All my body was saying was “Danger! Danger! Beware! Trouble ahead!” The same part of me that warns me not to go up a ladder or stand too close to the edge of a cliff was at work signalling great danger ahead. At first I thought that this was a sign that I was not cut out for sales.
I tried all the tricks of psyching myself up and that did not seem to work much but in the end I found the thing that did work the best was just doing it. I would think about how great I would feel once I had done it and remind myself the consequences of not doing it. Fairly quickly I was able to do with confidence most things that would previously fill me with dread. With the tasks that still caused me a problem I found that by changing the approach slightly I could feel more comfortable. The more comfortable and confident I was with the process, the more my prospects would open up to me and the more and bigger opportunities I would find.
Some people come into sales with a very low fear factor. They just get on with it and start getting results. Others like myself come into sales with a very high fear factor and working on this quickly is very important. What I have found, interestingly enough, is that most of those people that appear to have no fear have certain things that they still do have some fears and this always holds them back. It could be the fear of selling at executive level, the fear of cold calling, the fear of networking. No matter how many fears you eliminate there are still some that rear their ugly head from time to time. The important thing to remember is that the fear will dissolve by doing and not by thinking about it.
I learnt that if you want to develop your results then you will probably have to get a little uncomfortable for a while as you learn new skills.