On Saturday I was asked to run some workshops at a sales conference, most people who were in attendance were quite confident and sure of where they wanted to be and how they were going to get there, so much so I wondered why I was really there, and of course what could I do that would be useful to them?
In one of the workshops we got chatting about telephoning people, contacts that they may be able to help and an idea occurred to me. We did the usual brainstorming about who they could ring, found out as much as we could about them, what we would say etc. Everyone was very upbeat and confident, this was really easy, yes they did it all the time until I then suggested every single one of them made a call! It was a bit mean you may think but in that moment something happened, the room went from confident to petrified, people started to hide their phones, made excuses about failing batteries and poor signals; my once confident room had started to go up in their heads and was thinking so much you could almost hear it!
It was a really interesting experiment and it illustrated perfectly how we do get in our own way. The reasons for this sudden drop in confidence was wide ranging, from worrying about what other people in the room might think if they heard what was said, to worrying about getting their words muddled up, failing completely, worried about what the receiver would think or say, thinking that they may think badly of them in some way. It was the complete opposite of confidence, which is of course fear.
Fear is a fascinating subject, and one that I talk about a lot because most of the time what we are fearful of is a complete figment of our imagination. That may seem harsh, but think about it, we don’t know what others will think, we don’t know if we will get it wrong, or what will happen when we do whatever it is we want to do, because we can read other people’s minds as much as we can read the future – we just can’t, which means that when we try to, we are imagining it, we are making it up! It’s simply a scary story that we are telling ourselves.
So it is really a trick of the mind, an illusion that we fall for, something that feels real, so scary that we should take notice of, so much so that it stops us in our tracks, we end up not doing what we want to do when all along it actually doesn’t exist.
Now it is quite normal and human to do this, our brain is wired to keep us safe so it’s understandable that it runs through all the options that could happen to ensure our safety, the rub is that it often does this for stuff where our safety isn’t in question and it’s at those times when it gets in our way. However, it’s easily remedied, we may not be able to stop the story from being told but when we see it for what it really is, simply a story, it means that we can choose whether we listen to it or not leaving us free to get on and do exactly what we wanted to.
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