The fear of failure is the most insidious of the 7 fears of selling. In its devastating effect, it can make a salesman become lame, preventing him from expressing his potential. This fear alone has made many people give up salesmanship.
Like any other fear, the emotion that the fear of failure generates is actually neural. It is not in itself hurting or destructive. It is how we put this emotion into motion that determines whether it would be detrimental or constructive to us.
From childhood, people have been conditioned to fear failure. We feel pressured or anxious anticipating failure. We would rather overwork, be hostile, undertake unrealistic risks and perhaps do terrible things than be seen as a failure.
We love to be praised, to feel adequate, and be accepted; yet everywhere around us it is only the successful people that receive praises. They are the winners, aren’t they? Often we forget that successful people experience failure or challenges on their way to success.
Failure comes when our experience is below our expectations. Actually, it is the fear of failure that hurts more than the failure itself. This fear represents the weight of uncertainty. It is the fear of not being sure of what will happen.
It is easy for most people to prepare, accept and deal with the worst scenario if they really know what is coming. Though we may not necessarily like it or look forward to it, we can prepare and handle it.
On the other hand, being in the position of uncertainty presents anxiety, vacillation and the desire to escape the whole challenge.
We tend to rely on our defence and escape mechanisms as our feeling of being pressure heightens. We become more anxious, nervous and tightened up.
As a result of this state, we begin to loose grip of the challenge as we try to put the issue or problem out of our mind so that we are not worried by them.
We are all conditioned biologically and psychologically to fight or flee in a pressured situation just the way animals are. One way of our taking to flight is to find excuses to justify our behaviour before it ever happens.
And when we rationalise our behaviour after it happens, it is our way of fight.
Managing our fear of failure requires that we address our mental concept of successes and failures. We have to break the mental block of “success is right and therefore equal to good, while failure is wrong and therefore it is bad”.
Success and failure are two sides of the same coin. Either one of them is just an outcome. We have to learn like every “successful person” to accept failure as a normal healthy part of life. We all fail sometimes, after all! Don’t we?
The salesman knows that he can experience failure a dozen times and he never fails until he stops trying. He embraces failure just as a scientist would do in his lab while experimenting.
The reality of the fear of failure is that every salesman is scared of failure just like you. We are all afraid of failure, including the star super salesman. In fact the great achievers seem to be the ones mostly worried about failing. They are not only worried by their own expectations, but also by what is expected of them by their organisation. And often times they are worried about the possibility of achieving again what they had once achieved.
The super salesmen succeed not because they are not afraid, but because they challenge themselves to face their fear and overcome their fear of failure. Every day, over and over again, they play this game. They know that the fear of failure will always be part of the process of achieving anything that is worth some value.
So they refuse to give up. They challenge themselves knowing that success is on the way.
The views expressed in this article are personal to the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Stanley Tseke Limited.
© 2011 All Rights Reserved - Don't even imagine or think about reproducing this document or part of it without written permission from Stanley Tseke and Stanley Tseke Limited. +44(0)2081770456