I met a friend recently who I hadn’t seen for awhile. The last I had heard from him, he was excited about moving out of a job that wasn’t working for him into a new job that was very promising. However, when I asked him about how things were going, his face fell. After some hesitation, he told me that he was finding it difficult.
I asked him to tell me more. I knew that he had had to move to a new city, but he said that he really liked his new surroundings and apartment. He was now working from his home, but he had set up a home office and that wasn’t the problem, either. The issue for him was that he was being asked to make cold calls. He was used to working from a list of clients or prospects who had already indicated an interest in the company and their product. It was complicated further by the fact that he was not familiar with the new company’s product and found it almost impossible to make a call. He hated cold calls. In fact, he feared them. He would psych himself up and then feel so bad after getting turned down that he would spend hours trying to get his head in a place where he could make another call, only to have the same thing happen.
I have to do it—but I can’t!
I asked him if he had ever done cold-calling before. He said no. He said that he had talked to his boss, but his boss insisted that everyone had to do this at first and pointed to research that showed that for x number of calls there was always a certain percentage that would say yes, and that number was sufficient to make it worthwhile. His boss told him that he would get better as he did it and not to worry.
I fail, again and again
This wasn’t the answer that my friend had been hoping for. He tried again, but he found that in fact, his anxiety was growing. He tried to relieve his anxiety by doing some physical exercise in between calls, jumping jacks or his treadmill or lifting weights. But instead of feeling more relaxed and gaining a sense of conquering his fears, he was becoming exhausted from all of his physical activity and his sense of failure was growing. He was even beginning to doubt his decision to leave his old job and its frustrations—at least it hadn’t involved calling strangers and stumbling over what he was selling. In the back of his mind he knew that it might be true that he would get better at it, but it was becoming more and more impossible for him to pick up the phone.
What is success?
I asked him if he believed the research that his boss had quoted. He said, yes, he had heard it before and knew that it was pretty accurate. I thought a moment and then asked him “What would you consider to be a success in this beginning phase of your new job?” He frowned and thought about it for a minute. Finally he said in exasperation “I want someone to say yes!!!”
Perspective kicks in
I looked at his tense features and heard the desperation in his voice. I then asked, “If you really believe the research numbers, then it;s a matter of re-defining ‘success’. What if you trust the numbers and decide that the same figures will work for you, too? You’ll get the same percentage of yeses if you put in the necessary number of calls. You could make a chart on the wall listing the number of calls you want to make your daily goal. Mark off each call, knowing that you’re on your way to make the numbers prove themselves. Success is now how many calls you make every day instead of how many prospects say ‘yes.’
Wise use of your time…
Along the way, you’ll hear the questions you need to research. The time you spent before avoiding a task you see as unpleasant can now be used to build your knowledge of your product, confident that you are doing all that you can do in your new job.”
His eyes grew big. He was silent for a moment. Then his body seemed to relax a little and he started to smile. “I could do that. Yeah, I can see myself making calls if I’m not worrying about whether or not I will hear a ‘yes’, beating myself up and then jumping to my fears about what might happen in the future.”
Has this ever happened to you?
It certainly has happened to me, and not just once, but regrettably many times. We can worry so much about the outcome that we aren’t able to focus on being open and simply doing the work. I have to keep reminding myself that if I am clear in my heart about the direction I want to go and what I am wanting to do, I can become fully involved in the process and let it feed me. I can use my energy on my work, planting seeds instead of continually pulling up the seed I am planting to see if it has grown any. I also avoid hurting myself on the thorns….
Let the results take care of themselves
My life just works better if I focus on the work I have chosen mindfully and let the end result take care of itself. If the results aren’t what I want, I know that I gave it all of my energy instead of spinning my wheels judging my performance as I go along and projecting my fears into the future. I can step back and look with an open heart at what is happening and then make the necessary changes. Without fear and self-limitation, my work can move forward with the proper course adjustments!
Have a heart-filled day!