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What's The Worst That Could Happen?

Motivational speaker Les Brown instructs his audience, "Raise your hand if you've ever come up with an idea to do something, and before you could take one step towards it, you — yes YOU — talked yourself out of it?" You've done it, I've done it... quite recently.

My dad was an expert at fixing cars. He could drive down the road in a car, just listen and he would know exactly what was wrong with it and how to fix it. Growing up, I frequently made trips to the auto parts store or junkyard with Dad for supplies for his latest car project. I was his extra set of hands and helped on his projects, but truthfully, I didn't pay much attention to what he was doing.

COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders have caused many to develop new hobbies and interests to keep our spirits up. A COVID-19 project that I attempted was to buy a 43-year-old junkyard car and try and restore it. Why didn't I attempt it in the past? Fear. I was afraid there was no way I could do it as well as Dad.

Fear, according to dictionary.com, is defined as: "A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined." Fear changes our brain chemistry, organ function and ultimately a change in behavior, such as running away, hiding or freezing. The Psychology Today website says, "Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger — if we didn't feel it, we couldn't protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life or death, and thus we hang back or avoid things for no good reason."

What more would you do, or be able to accomplish today if you didn't fear you'd fail? Would you make more prospect calls? Would you make larger presentations to bigger clients? In my experience, sales is not a life-or-death situation, and the fears we have when it comes to situations in sales are largely the types of fears we would refer to as irrational... fears that have no basis in reality, or fears that hold us back from accomplishing so much more.

Ralph Waldo Emerson says, "Knowledge is the antidote to fear." My fear of doing an auto restoration project was easily squashed by learning, reading and watching some videos.

Is fear holding you back? Learn and/or find a guide to help you. Too often, we are embarrassed to admit our fears, or we feel that nobody else has ever dealt with this kind of problem before. That's irrational. If you're afraid of it, then someone else is afraid of it now and someone on the team has been afraid of it before and can help you through it.

Before putting it away for winter and after pulling and rebuilding the engine, I took the 43-year-old car for a road test, and it performed beautifully. I could feel my dad sitting next to me being equally proud. My 21-year-old son also enjoyed driving a car that was twice his age.

That's the thing about fear. Once you get past it, you'll be amazed at how motivating and liberating it can be. When you overcome your fear, you feel like nothing can stop you.

Tell someone right now what you're afraid of and see if they can't help you logically think it through. Then learn what you need to and push through it.

If fear is holding you back, ask yourself, "What's the worst that could happen?"

Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB