Do What You Fear Most

The best way to avoid failure is to never try.  How many people in the profession of selling are hiding from the possibility of failure?

Let me give you a personal example of this. The first time I ever stood in front of an audience was in a second grade school play.  I’d been asked to play Prince Charming.  All my friends and relatives were there.  I was very excited to be the star of the play.  I was dressed in my purple pants, a purple cape, and I was ready to perform.

When my cue line came. I walked out on stage, and I froze.  I could not move.

Finally, someone came out and led me off. From that moment on, I had a phobia about getting up in front of a group.  I simply would not do it.

Many years later, I was invited to speak by a major firm. They had heard about my sales volume and wrote, “Will you come here and teach your selling methods to our sales staff?”

I shot a letter right back. “Thanks, but not thanks. I don’t talk to anyone.”  Then a great friend, Jay Douglas Edwards, said to me, “Tom, do what you fear most and you will control that fear.”

Think about that. Think of something you should do professionally, something that you aren’t doing, because of fear.  Fear is the only thing preventing you from doing what needs to be done. The important thing is to face that fear for the first time.

After I thought about controlling fear by doing what I fear most, I had to agree that I was allowing fear to control my life. So I called the company that had invited me to speak.  I said I’d do it.

From the moment I had agreed to do the speech, there wasn’t an hour that I didn’t wish I hadn’t.  The closer the time came, the more panicky I became.

Every time I wrote down what I was going to say, I’d  tear it up and start over. Someone told me to put it all on 3 x 5 cards, so I did.

The night before my speech, I didn’t sleep at all.  The next morning, I walked into an auditorium and waited in the wings to be introduced to three thousand people.  And do you know what the only thing on my mind was?  I was re-living the terror of my second grade experience.

I walked on to the stage, I looked down at my notes, and began my speech.  I never once, looked up at the audience.  I just kept talking. I was scheduled to speak for forty-five minutes. Within eight minutes, I had covered every point.

My  first time speaking in public was awful. The second time was terrible. The third time was a disaster. The fourth time, they clapped a little. The fifth time, almost everybody stayed.  Now, after years of speaking day after day to enthusiastic salespeople, I awake with anticipation. Excitement. And I owe it all to those words, “Do what you fear most and you will control that fear.”

Make this phrase yours and nothing can stop your success.

Knowledge conquers fear. Learn More>>

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (judys@tomhopkins.com).

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  1. Erik, you do not mention what your product is but here are some thoughts about cold calling in office buildings.
    First of all, find out what type of security the building has. It could be that you must have a contact with someone in the building before being allowed in. Politely ask at the security desk or call one of the businesses in the building in advance. It’s their game. You need to know the rules before deciding how to play. You may need to cold call businesses in some large buildings by phone. When it is appropriate for you to enter and approach businesses in those buildings, begin your approach at the reception desk with a polite good morning, a warm smile, and a request for help. Front office people are supposed to help those who show up at their doors and they will, if approached properly. Tell them you’re looking for the person in charge of (the benefit your product or service offers) and ask who that might be. Once you get the name, thank them, then ask about that person’s availability. If they’re not available, which will happen in most cases, ask what the best method is to contact them. Make notes, express gratitude for their assistance (calling them by name) and make your exit. When you contact that business again, address the receptionist by name. Thank him or her for their past assistance and ask again for the decision-maker. Your goal is to make an ally of the front office person through sincere appreciation for their assistance. They have the power to open doors for you.

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