Everything you want is on the other side of fear. Unfortunately, we all have moments of fear, doubt, or anxiety that keeps us from performing at our very highest levels. Interestingly enough, over-achievers may experience more of these emotions than the average. It is not about overcoming your fears, it is about leveraging them.
What are the common tasks and situations that generate these emotions and create the most avoidance or reluctance?
- Fear of making a significant presentation.
- Meeting and presenting to Senior Executives.
- Making initial calls to gain entry into a potential account.
- Asking for referrals.
- Delivering news that may not be well received.
- Confronting opinionated decision makers to influence their point of view.
No one wants to face possible rejection or fail to measure up to expectations. If these emotions aren’t properly managed, we certainly won’t experience the desired level of success, or worse, we can develop a “failure spiral” as a result. The emotional management comes under the realm of mental toughness. It begins with our thinking related to these activities and there is a simple formula. Our thinking changes our behavior, and our behavior changes our results. Simply stated, if you desire to make a positive change in your results, you have to change your thinking and perception of the task or situation that you are avoiding.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” She is absolutely correct. It starts with the goals you’ve established. The fear and avoidance of tasks directly or indirectly related to accomplishing these goals are easily defeated by taking the following actions:
- Stop the negative “self-talk.” Be conscious of it. When you begin to think negatively, immediately force yourself to stop and reverse it into a positive. If you aren’t aware, and don’t arrest it, you will train yourself to continue.
- Practice deliberately. Over-prepare. Seek out Senior Executives within your company and ask them to review your presentation or react to it with suggestions for improvement.
- Write down your weaknesses and areas that cause the most anxiety. Make a list of actions that you can take to make these weaknesses strengths. You have to re-program your thinking.
- Eliminate the need to be perfect. Perfectionism is a trait that will hold you back from taking new actions or approaches.
- Request coaching from Senior Executives or mentors. Be specific about the areas where you need help.
- Play “games” with your weaknesses and provide a reward for tackling the challenge. Set a goal for initial calls and introductions. Focus on the outcomes. An example could be that you must talk to 5 new contacts per week at the appropriate level. Reward yourself if you achieve the target.
- Talk to people that perform well in your areas of weaknesses and ask them to share their approaches.
If you want different results, you need to change your thinking. Once you have made this decision and have taken action, you will amaze yourself with the increased positive outcomes.
There are two immediate actions that need to be taken to develop a higher level of Mental Toughness:
1.List your goals and the actions or tasks that you are anxious, doubtful, or fearful of taking that are preventing you from achieving them. Outline the actions that you can take that will turn these weaknesses into strengths.
2.Commit to focusing on your thoughts. Correct any negative thinking and substitute a positive thought as soon as you become aware. Make this a daily practice. Highly successful people create “success habits” and it becomes a daily commitment.