What are you afraid of?
by Kevin D. Crone
A couple weeks ago, Norm, our guest speaker, asked everyone to write down “What are you afraid of?” He got some stares and then a few to share. Wow. (How many in your company would answer that question honestly?) He said that, in his experience, successful people do the things that others just aren’t comfortable doing even though they know they should be doing them. He was asked to speak to us because of his incredible success.
He described that his spectacular journey was because he identified his fears and what he was uncomfortable with many years ago when he decided that he wanted to provide a great life for his family. He always worried that he couldn’t, so he decided he would do whatever it takes to advance his performance. He openly discussed his fears with his mentor, who he met with early on Thursday mornings. After these discussions he would develop a plan that got him into action . In our meeting, he described that his background as an engineer, caused him to need all the answers in advance and have everything figured out before he acted. Also, he came from a corporate environment where the inside competition was fierce and non-supportive. No one talked real except to be cynical or negative. So, being open was scary but his desire to succeed for his family was greater than his concern over trusting others and facing his fears. He asserted that no government or employer will take care of us.
When you feel entitled, you are probably feeling a sense of complacency and, if you want to be successful in business, you must realize that it is your responsibility and it begins by getting mental misconceptions and rationalizations out of your head about success, facing your fears, and becoming more comfortable doing the things you fear to do. He identified what many of those things were to him: Being heard at the executive level, finding new customers for his business, prospecting, being assertive, saying what had to be said but with the use of strong human relations so people responded to his suggestions, going deeper with people in coaching conversations, leading others to do what they needed to do, helping others face their fear, being genuine about helping others but taking a stand that you can’t help others until you get them into action.
He became an exceptional change agent that his company (which he eventually owned) and customers really appreciated. Norm’s mission became to find out what others wanted and needed, and to expedite how they got there. It’s an amazing story how a conservative, carefully structured, technically-focused person with a secure, no fear job could become a leader of his industry by examining his fears about doing business, taking mentoring and coaching, identifying the behaviours he needed and becoming a master at doing them.
Did he really change who he is over the years? Well, I don’t think so. He still has that careful demeanour but he has become more comfortable doing the things that his industry requires to be outstanding. And he is. He reminds us all that it is an inside job. Never get bluffed out by myths and the never ending fears of how things can’t work. Take responsibility for your own success, and face your fears and get busy doing the things you fear to do the right way until you are more comfortable.
I see the lack of fire in the belly of a lot of people I meet in meetings etc. They want answers but are expecting something outside themselves to change and they become lackadaisical, over-analyze, always looking for the secret bullet about what they have to do to wake up their business, team or career. They seem to know so much more but lack the internal courage and drive that Norm exhibits.
How about you and I? Can we make that list of fears? Do we take coaching? Do we have the drive to succeed and are we willing to get comfortable doing what it takes? Are we ready to develop the required habits? We can – you know!
Thanks Norm. I miss our Thursday morning meetings at the Voyageur Restaurant on Plains Road in Burlington during the 70’s.
Have a great week!
Kevin D. Crone
Chairman, Dale Carnegie Business Group
firstname.lastname@example.org or 905-826-7300 / 1-800-361-2032
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