Sooner or later, you will experience fear in sales. In fact, if you aren’t, then you’re probably not doing enough of the right things. Fear isn’t bad or something to avoid; conversely, it’s something you want to seek and embrace. Fear is actually a sign that you are doing what’s needed to move in the right direction.
An absence of concerns signals that you are only doing what’s comfortable for you — and that will only get you more of what you have right now. As strange as it may sound, you want to be scared until you have to push yourself to new levels to experience fear again. In fact, the only thing that scares me is a complete lack of fear.
It’s been said that FEAR stands for False Events Appearing Real, which aptly implies that most of what you’re afraid of doesn’t ever come to pass. Fear, for the most part, is provoked by emotions, not rational thinking. And in my humble estimation, emotions are wildly overrated –and the scapegoat many people use for their failure to act. But regardless of whether you agree with my opinion on emotions, you must reframe your understanding of fear and use it as a reason to move forward rather than as an excuse to stop or retreat.
Chances are that when you were a child, you found fear in irrational things — the boogeyman under the bed, for example. It was an indicator to check your closet and the dark corners of your room to see what was lurking. But as all children eventually find, the boogeyman does not exist anywhere except in your head.
Adults have their own “boogeymen” — the unknown, rejection, failure, success, and so on. And these boogeymen should be a sign to take action as well. For example, if you’re afraid to call on a client, then it’s a sign that you should call that client. Fear of requesting the client’s business means that you must ask for the business — and then keep asking.
I handle fear by omitting time from the equation — since time is what drives fear. The more time you devote to the object of your apprehension, the stronger it becomes. So starve the fear of its favorite food by removing time from its menu.
For example, let’s say that John needs to make a call to a client, a task that causes him to feel anxiety. So rather than picking up the phone and making the call immediately, he gets a cup of coffee and thinks about what he is going to do. His lengthy contemplation only causes his fear to grow, as he imagines all the ways the call could go badly. John needs to take a deep breath, pick up the phone, and just make the call. Nothing happens without action.
Fear doesn’t just tell you what to do; it also tells you when to do it. Ask yourself what time it is at any point in the day, and the answer is always the same: now. The time is always now — and when you experience fear, it’s a sign that the best time to take action is at that very moment. Most people will not follow through with their goals when enough time has passed from the inception of their idea to actually doing something about it; however, if you remove time from your process, you’ll be ready to go. There’s simply no other choice than to act. There’s no need to prepare. It’s too late for that once you’ve gotten this far.
The only thing that will make a difference is action. Everyone has had the experience of failing to do something they wanted to do. Perhaps by the time you got yourself “ready” to do something, someone else had taken action — and now you’re regretting it. Failure comes in many forms; it occurs whether you act or not. Regardless of the outcome, I would say that it’s far preferable to fail while doing something than to fail by over-preparing while someone else walks up and scoops up your dreams.
Taking massive action quickly and repeatedly will ensure that you appear fearless. The person who takes action on whatever he or she fears the most will be the person who advances his or her cause the most. Let the rest of the marketplace submit to anxiety and prepare unnecessarily for False Events Appearing Real. You’ve got a job to do.
Have you ever watched some kind of performer “eat fire”? It appears that the trick here is to completely exhaust the oxygen that the fire requires for life. Pull away too early, and oxygen refuels the fire — which will then, of course, burn you.
The same is true with fear. If you back off from it even the slightest bit, you give it the oxygen it needs to stay alive. So commit yourself entirely, remove time from the equation — and you will snuff out your fears and be able to take more action.
Eat your fears; don’t feed them by backing off or giving them time to grow. Every successful person I know of has used fear as an indicator to determine which actions will provide the greatest return. I use it in my own life, every chance I get, to remain aware that I am growing and expanding myself. If you aren’t experiencing fear, you are not taking new actions and growing.
It’s as simple as that. Fear, like fire, is not something from which you should pull away. Rather, it should be used to fuel the actions of your life.
Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from the book The 10x Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure. It is published here with permission.