Fear of Failure: Why It’s Essential to Success

Image Courtesy of istockphoto/AnsonLu

This is a guest post by Bill Blankschaen. Bill is a writer, speaker, ministry consultant and non-profit leader. He blogs at FaithWalkers at Patheos and can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

If you fear failure, you are not alone. A quick Google search reveals countless resources to help you overcome the fear of failure. Certainly, an unhealthy fear of failure can paralyze us and destroy the culture of the teams we lead. But the lack of any fear of failure can be just as deadly.

I recently enjoyed lunch with a friend who excels in sales for a large media company. Quite simply, he’s one of the best at what he does. Always eager to learn, I asked him what trait seemed to be shared by all the failed salespeople he has seen over the years. His reply? Overconfidence.

If you want to be creative all it takes is one step. The extra one. -Dale Dauten

The most common characteristic of those who failed was that they all once thought failure to be impossible.

There’s an important lesson for us as leaders. When no one fears failing at all, our team gets complacent, inefficient, and starts to coast. As I’ve often reminded my teams, coasting kills. It’s when we think our ship is unsinkable that we stop looking for icebergs ahead — in spite of repeated warnings.

We all know how that story ends.

When No One Fears Failure

Selling Fearlessly

Photo by amhuxham on flickr.

Because of his nearly four decade career in sales, Robert Terson is often labeled a master salesman.  He retired from his advertising company in 2010 and is now writing and speaking about sales.  Robert recently released Selling Fearlessly: A Master Salesman’s Secrets For the One-Call-Close Salesperson.  After reading the book and talking with Robert, I realized that the book is more than a sales book.  It’s a life book.  It could just as easily be titled Living Fearlessly.

 

Why Relationships Are Important

Robert, alreaSelling Fearlessly Coverdy in my interactions with you, I can tell how important relationships are to you.  Why are relationships so important to success?  How are you able to build relationships with so many people so quickly and easily?

First of all, Skip, I’m not sure the words “so quickly and easily” are applicable. One of my favorite expressions is, “The Tortoise won the race.” It is true that I’ve literally established a few hundred strong relationships over the past 19 months of networking, but it’s been done in a “slowly but surely” methodology. I’ve been going about networking the same way I’ve interacted with people all my life: caring about them, showing an genuine interest in them, trying to help them all I possibly can, creating friendships wherever I go—the bank, cleaners, post office, you name it. I take the time to get to know people well. Then, when I go out to do my errands, I’m not just doing mindless tasks; I’m going out to see my friends. It makes life so much more pleasant and meaningful. It’s smelling the roses and enjoying the journey as you live your daily life. It’s living in the moment.

It’s the same way with networking. When people of interest follow me, I send out personal direct messages inviting them to talk, interact on a high plain. I offer to help them; and it’s not just empty rhetoric, it’s for real. It’s putting into practice what the late Zig Ziglar meant when he said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” It’s giving of yourself, paying it forward, so to speak; and people respond positively to this approach. Who doesn’t want to be around people who genuinely care about them? We all want that! What’s so wonderful about it is how it comes back to you in so many positive ways. Not always directly, but it does come back to you. Those who approach networking with the “it’s all about me” mindset, who are in a hurry to sell something without bothering to establish a solid relationship first, are foolishly self-sabotaging themselves, to say nothing about missing out on a lot of fun.

Let’s talk about fear.  It stops so many of us at various times.  Whether in sales or in life, how do you help people overcome it?