Fear In business, life and sales is largely learnt. By learnt I mean Through your own bad experience, or by
hearing of other experiences whether true or false, or by observing other experiences. Any format…
visual or verbal can contribute to us adopting fear around certain circumstances.
It could be as simple as watching a social media clip where a man gets rejected for handing his crush
a bouquet of flowers she didn’t like, now we could fear that happening to us, even though that might
have never happened to us personally.
Naturally Our minds anchor that fear and assumes various negative outcomes which we then believe
to create pain. Why pain you ask? Because studies have shown that when you experience real pain
from a heat source applied close to your arm or emotional pain like a picture showed of a loved one
that’s passed away, the Brain responds the same, Emotional and real pain can feel just as bad.
Humans have flight or fight responses to threats of danger, and dangers today aren’t what they were
in the past. Back in the day when a cave man sees a predator it regarded as danger. Today we don’t
have the fear of predators roaming around our homes, we fear rejection, failure, not meeting the
expectations society and our loved ones might have of us and among many more stimuli’s regarding
threats and danger.
Our bodies are still hardwired to react the same. We trigger a fear response in the amygdala which
prepares our motor functions for fight or flight. It releases stress hormones such as adrenaline and
cortisol and activates the sympathetic nervous system which raises the heart rate and increases
blood pressure which aids in your body’s ability to fight back or run. All these responses are controlled
by the limbic system in your brain which is designed to look after your emotional state.
In short having this emotional state in your body whereby you feel the need to fight, flight or freeze
is your limbic system overriding your cerebral cortex based on fear. In other words, with adrenaline
being dumped into your system you’re not exactly going to make the best intellectual decisions.
Think about the last time you had a serious situation when your flight, fight or freeze responses kicked in.
You find yourself in autopilot mode, and only later on when your mind is settled do you think about
what you should have done better, I know I come up with 100s of scenarios I should have decided
on. Its easier to come up with better solutions when your limbic system isn’t in charge and giving
your brain a temporary holiday.
Why is this relevant to business, life and Sales? Picture that last time you had an important presentation
and your nerves got the better of you. Remember that interview you botched up because you froze
and couldn’t answer the questions. Or the last time you wrote a test and couldn’t remember what
you studied. Can you remember sweating, lack of cognitive abilities lies, and your heart pounding in
Once your heart rate increases above 145, you suffer reduced hearing…I’m sure loss of hearing can
help you close deals. Sarcasm fully implied. Above 175 beats per min, you suffer impaired senses,
speech and memory. Again, the making of a great sales, investor or interview pitch. Laugh out loud.
How can these fearful responses be good for you? It can’t…
Fear over comes us. It causes inaction or incorrect action. We need to unlearn fears or stop overthinking.
Or we could just realize that the fears we have are not proportionate to real threats like our
ancestors had with regards to predators. How can speaking to a CEO via a cold call be likened to a
predator about to eat our new-born baby. So, erase fear or at least put it into perspective.
Fear is part imagined; Dan Pena says, “False expectations appearing real”. It is claimed that humans
are the most fearful creatures on the planet because of the ability to learn, think, and create fear in
our minds. The sooner you realize that the fear is not real in most cases like approaching a prospect
to do business with. what’s the worst that can happen. He says no, even if the prospect does it in an
ugly manner, how can that hurt you. It can’t if you don’t let it.
People like comfort zones and playing it safe. Risk sparks fear. All this keeps a person in one place.
The world is changing and moving forward and its being driven by risk takers and innovators, the
people that are willing to bet big, aim for the stars, and to do what hasn’t been done before. The
richest people on earth created new ways of doing business and disrupted markets. They didn’t stay
where it was comfortable, they got out their bubbles and challenged themselves and status quos.
Defeating fear is a mental exercise. The most common regret among people is playing it safe. When
last did you hear about someone playing it safe doing anything great. Defy assumptions and don’t
be afraid to fail. Failure is feedback. Learn from your failures and soon what was your outside comfort
zones will now be your new normal. Allowing yourself to grow and take on bigger tasks. That’s the
growth mindset… TRY, FAIL, Learn and GROW. Or you could not try, learn nothing and never progress
or achieve anything out of the ordinary. A life on complacency won’t get you success in business and
life. You must be bold and avoid fear. It’s a matter of mind.
Embrace and build up a tolerance to uncertainty. A tactic I love using when fear persists is finding a
more powerful fear that calls to action the overcoming of the original fear. For example, if you fear
requesting a meeting with a potential investor to explain your ideas because his sitting at a restaurant
table with people around, and you feel its rude to approach him at this timing. Then assume the fear
of never getting your ideas heard, never getting another chance, failing and never getting your
dream business. See your lifestyle stagnating with no chance of improvement, go through the pros
and cons, and the pros of approaching the Potential investor will be higher than the cons. Again,
what’s the worst that can happen, you can get blown o, the lesson learnt is that you should have
dressed smarter, had a better introduction, been more energetic and crated better rapport, maybe
humor would have been a good starting point etc. Try, Fail, Learn and Grow…
Fear is learnt. Overcome it