Leap Anyway


“..Every fear hides a wish”–David Mamet

Most people are aware of the risk in any situation. There are lucrative careers built around identifying and assessing risks, inherent or otherwise. The experts in the field tout successes at helping companies and individuals answer the question, “should we?”, then navigating them toward the calculated risk that has the least potential for loss. Few people are paid to move despite the risk.

When processing risk, I consciously follow the trail of the super producer. In the sales world there are often discussions about finding “A” players and the idea that most teams are built with one (or two) A’s and a supporting cast of B’s and C’s. Hiring managers are often resigned to the idea that super producers are industry minorities, and they are right. The typical super producer is risk aware but not risk-averse, highly focused on the positive outcome while mentally (even unintentionally) minimizing risk–a human anomaly that most people are not born with but could train themselves toward.

When I was invited to begin a corporate sales career, I was not afraid of selling, I was afraid of the repercussions of not selling but my dream of financial freedom, success, and building my brand as a trainer, speaker, and coach outweighed the natural aversion that most people experience when you discuss sales as a career. I had wishes that far outweighed any fear. That is where I stand today, as my career evolves and even as my personal and professional passions change with age and experience, I look for the wish behind every fear and I seek the “Do” behind every “Doubt”.

If you aren’t a natural super producer, how do you focus on the wish beyond the fear? (You can change wish to goal, dream, desire, or expectation), here are a few suggestions:

1) UNDERSTAND your fears. Most people have fears, go ahead and list them. “What are you afraid of?” I’ve done this exercise during coaching sessions and noted that most people can’t come up with as many as you would think. It often boils down to one major thing: failure. It’s okay to acknowledge that you have them and what they are, it’s not okay to make decisions according to them.

2) Immediately ADDRESS your feeling of loss and intentionally REPOSITION your thoughts on the representation of gain. Fear feeds off the potential of losing. Loss rarely evokes vivid images, it instead creates emotions that cloud the mind while gain will drive the imagination to reflect a kaleidoscope of outcomes: a new car, a new home, kids attending college happily, the vacation you’ve been wanting to take, or perhaps a career move. Spare yourself the emotional upheaval, visualize yourself winning!

3) Dream BIG! I know, I know, it’s cliché, most people will tell you to dream big because it seems like the right thing to do. Dream big because it’s the only way to combat risk aversion and accomplish big things. Big dreams require monumental effort that will often drive the willingness to take big risks. The super producer doesn’t think about hitting their monthly quota, they think about the reward of blowing it out of the water and they put in the effort to do it. How can we push ourselves to dream big? I created the “Least. Greater. Greatest.” planner. I list a wish and then visualize and write the lessor, the greater and the greatest outcomes, for example:

The wish: Travel.

Least: A weekend shopping trip to New York City with boutique style accommodations in Brooklyn or a weeklong Seattle foodie tour while booked into a Puget Sound Airbnb.

Greater: Two weeks of writing, meditation, relaxation and fun with the locals on the Eastern Caribbean island of Bequia.

Greatest: A trip to Singapore with my best girlfriends, luxury accommodations, private dinner by world renown chefs, and Universal Studios—yes, they have Universal Studios in Singapore!

Not only is this an emotionally engaging way to build your vision, the positive visualization will naturally replace fear driven inhibition.

4) Don’t HESITATE, DO SomethingHesitation (n) the action of pausing or hesitating before saying or doing something. There you have it, hesitation is the action that drives inaction. Have you ever envisioned winning the award for being “most inactive” or “least likely to move forward”? I hope not because there is no reward for being mired down by risk aversion.

How do we leap over the hurdle of hesitation? Go to your fear list, pick one, and detail what you would have accomplished if that fear didn’t exist, honesty is an important part of the process. For instance, I would have moved into a tiny house in Seattle and focused on becoming a published author for a year if I wasn’t fearful of leaving the predictable stability of corporate life.  As you can see, I’m specific. List what you would have done and the contributing fear (the hesitation point). Use visual elements if possible. When you are ready to behave like a super producer, you won’t want to run or hide from the most important truth–the truth you tell yourself.  After you’ve gone through this process, you will be ready to do the work. Remember, we said big dreams require a MASSIVE effort.

5) When you begin to feel fear think of the super producers that you know and REMIND YOURSELF, “if they can, surely I can too”. A healthy ego can override the fear of risk. Most professionals reject the idea that someone else is better than they are–even when the numbers prove it. In this case, the ball is in your court, advantage: confidence.

The work of a super producer is never done but the reward is never ending! Here’s to the results of pursuing the wishes behind your fears.