Now you’re a grown adult – you even own a business – and things still spook you. But instead of being afraid of the boogie man, you might be afraid of other things, like going out and selling, holding your people accountable … or even succeeding.
“That’s harsh, Brad…” I can hear you saying. “I’m not afraid of success. I’m not afraid of any of these things. I’m just not very good at sales or managing people, and that’s why I don’t do them.”
Well, I don’t believe you. I see business owners making excuses all the time for things they don’t do when really what they’re saying is that they are afraid of doing certain things. But once they start to confront their fears head-on, look it in the eye and conquer it, success is just around the corner.
One of those areas is sales. “I’m just not good at selling, Brad.” But I’m here to tell you that if you started your own company, then you are good at something (making widgets or creating marketing messages, or writing software). In fact, you are probably so good that you are an expert. So let’s think about when you go to buy something. When you have a problem to solve or need a product, would you rather talk to an expert or a salesperson? If you are like me, you would avoid the salesperson like the plague and instead talk right to the expert. You have everything you need to sell, the best product knowledge, an intimate understanding of who you can help and the value you offer. What holds you (and most of us) back is fear — fear that you’re not the expert you think you are, or that the prospect won’t like you or your expertise. That rejection is painful and we do whatever we can to avoid it, like telling ourselves that we aren’t good at sales…
But if that fear wasn’t there you would speak more confidently, and people would know for sure that you are an expert who can solve their problem or not. And if they are not convinced, then why would it hurt your feelings? You aren’t the right person for them, that’s fine, go find someone who is… In fact you would have the confidence to walk away from prospects that aren’t right for you.
Then there’s the fear of holding employees accountable. You know how to hold yourself accountable – otherwise you wouldn’t be successful. If you are not holding others accountable in the same way, I’m willing to bet that you are afraid that doing so will mean that they won’t like you, or that they will reject you. Facing and overcoming that fear is the key to acting differently and getting different results.
Now, I know it’s not that simple. I know you can’t just wake up one day and “face your fear”. Your fear is actually there for a reason; it’s protecting you from something that you think is going to really hurt. What you need then is something outside of your business that can protect you from that fear. You need a community of people who will support you and care for you even if you get hurt.
No matter what’s spooking you in your business, there are a few ways you can begin to tackle your fears.
- Be honest. When you hear yourself making excuses, ask yourself, “Am I just afraid of it?” Then look at what you are afraid of. Is it something that you want to have holding you back?
- Be strong. It takes real nerve for a child one day to walk straight up to the closet door, open it up and see that there is no boogie man in there. But you know you want (even need) to be successful at this business, with all that you’ve overcome to this point are you going to let fear stop you?
- Be realistic. Fear is real! If you still feel like you just can’t do something, it’s ok. Get some help.
- Get support. You can’t do it all yourself. You need a team behind you, both inside and outside your company to ensure your success. Find those friends that you can really talk to, who have some of those fears themselves and are willing to talk about them.
What parts of your business spook you?
Photo credit: BLACK EYED SUZY