Fear: Embracing and overcoming it

“One of the greatest discoveries a man makes, one of his great surprises, is to find he can do what he was afraid he couldn't do.” 
--Henry Ford

What are you afraid of? Making that cold call? Asking for a promotion? Walking into a conference room to pitch a perspective client? We all experience fear, often as it relates to our work or career. In my profession as a Search Consultant or Recruiter I do a lot of selling…I sell my firm’s capabilities and I sell myself as a person who can understand a company’s mission and the challenges of bringing on the right people to complete that mission.

When I first started recruiting I was fearful of making a cold call. What if the person I was calling wasn’t interested? What if they got angry? What would happen if they hung up on me? I used to get nervous prior to meeting with potential clients thinking of the worst outcomes rather than the best. Over time, I realized that all of those scenarios could and would happen but they wouldn’t be nearly as bad as I imagined.

Each of us has our own coping mechanisms, I have listed a few below that I have found helpful and you may too:

  • Step away- Remove yourself from the area in which you are experiencing fear. Recover physically by taking a walk or listening to music. Just a few minutes can make a huge difference.
  • Give yourself a reality check- What’s the worst that can happen? We seem to imagine an outcome far worse than what typically occurs.
  • Keep trying- It may take days, it may take a year…but do not run away from these situations. Over time the more you face your fear the less severe it will become.
  • Don’t expect perfection- Setbacks and misses occur, learn from them and move on.
  • Focus on yourself- Make sure you are well rested, eat a healthy meal and take care of yourself so that you are presenting the best version of yourself.
  • Celebrate- Even small victories deserve recognition. Re-enforce the fact that you have overcome this obstacle once so there is no reason you will not do so again.

When properly harnessed, fear can drive people far beyond what they thought possible. Don’t let it stand in the way of going after what you want.