I’m growing a new business at present and want to attract new clients. In my latest ploy to avoid doing the single most effective thing in winning new business – getting on the telephone and asking friends and associates for their business – I cunningly thought of consulting a friend who has several businesses and asking him for advice.
“Who knows?” I thought, “Maybe there’s a miraculous new pain-free way of winning business I don’t know about.”
Two minutes into the meeting, he says, “Narelle, you know what to do; get on the phone.” “No new way?” I ask plaintively, and he laughs.
He commiserates, shares some of his own terrors when he’s let one of his businesses run down and asks me about the fear.
I rehearse all the usual stuff: fear of being rejected, fear of being told no, fear of being ignored, fear of the sound of the gatekeeper, fear of not being taken seriously, fear of being taken seriously, fear of getting the business, fear of not being able to handle the new business, and so on.
Later in the day, it occurs to me what the fear is really about. Underneath all these fears, and any others I can think of, is the same thing. It’s the fear of feeling the fear. When I’m about to ring someone and ask for their business and the fear is there, it’s not the fear of what the other person is going to do or not do. It’s not that at all.
It’s the fear of experiencing my fear; the distaste for feeling that horrid discomfort and uncertainty.
It’s exactly as Franklin Roosevelt said,
The only thing we have to fear is … fear itself.
Image: Rooster, original watercolour painting by the marvellous, Kayti Sweetland Rasmussen