Not only are you fearful of asking and hearing the word, “No,” you’re even more scared what the person or the world will think of you afterwards.
But do you have a magic ball that can predict the outcome and know with certainity the answer is no?
My guess is probably not.
In other words, before you give anyone a chance to reject you, you’ve already rejected yourself by not asking.
How can you determine your competence or the value you provide, when you aren’t on the receiving end?
Let’s do some simple math here…
If you do ask, you’ll have 50% success rate, whereas if you don’t ask, you’ll have 0% of success rate.
I know you understand this logically and even mathematically, but just haven’t convinced your fears to understand this.
Tim Ferris author of the Four Hour week said, “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”If you are uncomfortable having sales conversations, how do you expect your business to thrive?
Now, let me ask you, how badly do you want success?
As the high achiever I know you are, the answer is probably quite badly as you’re always striving to challenge yourself. Then, let’s talk about the five ways to confront fear…
1. UNDERSTAND FEAR
One of the beautiful things about human beings is the ability to have feelings, so it normal to experience fear, along with happiness or joy.
Can we just take a second and be thankful of that?
So what’s fear?
Deepak Chopra, a spiritual doctor, explains fear as an illusion based on past experience we project onto the present and future.
Fear is created by our self image and not our true self.“Fear is an illusion based on past experience we project onto the present and future. Fear is created by our self image and not the true self.”
When we observe a baby, we’ll notice that a baby doesn’t know fear. She isn’t born with fear of heights.
The newborn climbs whereever she wants and the thought of falling doesn’t even cross her mind.
If she falls and hits her head, then she may associate height with danger and carries this belief into her adulthood.
In other words, our learned belief triggers fear, and you experience fear when there’s a perceived danger or threat. Fear’s job is to protect you.
The common misconception is to overcome fear or be fearless.
This is false.
You’ll always experience fear, just like you’ll always experience happiness and joy.
The events that bring you happiness or fear may change, but the sensation doesn’t.
It’s useless trying to manage feelings, because feelings are like waves.
You can’t stop them from coming back, but you can decide which ones to surf.
You have the power to choose your actions. What will you do with this power?
Feelings are like waves. You can’t stop them from coming back, but you can decide which ones to surf.
2. GET A HOLD OF REALITY
Getting lost in your own thoughts and losing track of reality happens.
So let’s face your inner demon by answering the following questions on a piece of paper:
What’s the worst thing that could happen if you were rejected?
What do you have to lose?
On the contrary, if you don’t go for it, what will you lose out on?
Once you finish writing the answers. Read them out loud.
What do you think now?
I bet the answer to those questions are not as bad as we imagined in our mind.
What’s real in our minds doesn’t always reflect reality.
3. REWRITE YOUR STORY AND YOUR BELIEF.
Now that you have identified that you aren’t in life danger like fear otherwise convinced you to believe.
You need to solidify that by replacing your old story with a new one and there’s no other way then to get out there.
You fear rejection? Go out and ask.
The only way out is through.
Ted Talk speaker, Jia Jiang discovered in his rejection therapy to desensitize himself from rejection by seeking rejection for 100 days.
He learned that while many will said no, many also said yes. You don’t have to go to the extreme like him, but the idea is to re-train your body to be comfortable with sensations that comes with fear.
What actions can you take to move forward and rewrite your story?
4.DETACH YOURSELF FROM THE OUTCOME
In school, we’re so conditioned to the outcome– the good grades– that we forget to enjoy the process and the effort that we placed in order to accomplish the outcome.
Take a moment and give yourself a pat on the back for putting yourself out there.
You can’t control what the other person will do, but you can control yourself.
Meanwhile you are out there, allow a different outcome to surprise you.
NO isn’t always a bad thing. Who’s to say a better alternative won’t come along in place of the NO?
Trust everything happens for a reason and make every opportunity a lesson.
5. FAILURE MEANS PROGRESS
In Mark Manson’s book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, he explains that our amount of success is measured by the amount of pain you’re willing to enduring.
Thomas J Water, founder of IBM, also had a similar message, “Would you like me to give you a formula for… success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure.”
The more failure you’re willing to enduring, the more successful you’ll be.
Similiarly, the faster you fail, the faster you’ll be successful.
Just like ketchup and fries, success and failure comes in a pair.
It’s not possible to be successful without failure.
It’s also not possible to have sexy six packs on a perfect beach body without the hours spent in the gym and sticking to a disciplined diet.
Why not reframe your thought to understanding that failure is nothing more than signs of success, rejection is nothing more than part of a process?
P.s. Knowledge is worthless without action, so get in action and start creating your new story.
If you are like most of my clients, you wanted to serve people and make a difference in the world.
While having financial independence is important to provide for your family, money wasn’t the only motivation.
Undoubtedly, there are days where you feel super pumped and motivated, driven by a vision bigger than yourself.
And then, there are those days you don’t feel so hot…
You feel lost.
You feel like you are spinning your wheels.
You feel defeated and… maybe even lost your passion.
And now, you feel like you are a slave to the very thing you created.
You’re burnt out and secretly don’t want more clients.
1. Remember Why You Started Your Business
Think back to your original intention for the business and what motivated you to start your business.
You must have leaped into the entrepreneurial life for a reason.
You couldn’t have let go of the comfortable 9 to 5 lifestyle with a stable pay cheque just to end up feeling like a slave to your business.
So ask yourself, what did you envision you would create?
Also, if you don’t remember, it’s not too late to give your business a new purpose.
I know for myself, I took my leap in starting my business – not because I’m born an entrepreneur- but rather I felt it was my calling to help other purpose-driven entrepreneurs who want to create a positive impact in the world, but lacked the business acumen or the systems to take their business to the next level.
I believe, when executed right, businesses can create dramatic impact in our world. I saw a vision bigger than myself that motivated me to become an entrepreneur. So I challenge you to recover your why! You’ll see a difference in the way you talk, walk and even smile.
2. Focus on What Lights You Up
We all have our brilliance, gift and talent and that makes us special in this world.
Here’s a quote from my idol- Marie Forleo
Photo Credit: Pinterest
Ask yourself: what motivates you to wake up in the morning? What makes you feel the most fulfilled? What do you like to spend your time on?
As a business experience strategist, I feel the most fulfilled when I connect with driven entrepreneurs on a deeper and meaningful way, while helping them progress in life and business. When I’m in my zone of genius, serving and interacting with entrepreneurs, I come alive and my work gives me the confidence to overcome any obstacle. When I’m hiding behind my computer, I feel the most disconnected.
It’s a matter of knowing yourself. By finding what lights you up in this world, you’re not only helping yourself, but also those you serve.
3. Create a More Efficient System
Now, you may think you’re a solopreneur wearing multiple hats and you don’t have a team or a system, but trust me you do. If you have suppliers, vendors, professional services or freelancers you work with, then you have a team.
If you have a contact form on your website and the emails you get from the contact from, then you have a system.
You just may not have a large team or an efficient system.
Rule of thumb for determining what to delegate vs what to do
Tim Ferris, productivity guru and author of The 4-Hour Workweek, shares in his podcast that he likes a basic understanding of the task involves and test drive the process first. Once he understands and builds a system, he can choose to delegate. He believes when you add people to an inefficient process, you make things worse. He performs tasks that produce the highest yield and ones can’t be replaced. For example, he finds that he is replaceable as an investor yet irreplaceable as a writer, so he stopped being an investor and devotes his time writing.
5 Step in Creating Your System
Step 1: Collect data
Download RescueTime app on your Google Chrome to track where you spend your time when you’re on your computer .
Step 2: Review data
Allow RescueTime a few days to collect your usage. You can review your report or dashboard that shows you where you spend your time.
Once you’ve determined where you spend your time, you can start to know which systems you need to create.
As you can see from the graph above, as an entrepreneur, you probably spend the most time on communication and organization, like answering the phone, replying emails and scheduling, which explains why you feel spread thin.
Some questions to ask if you spend a lot of time on emails…
What is the nature of these emails?
Can you call the person to save you time from writing?
Can you eliminate the email altogether?
Can you forward it to someone else to get it off your plate?
Can you set up email templates based on emails you frequently send?
Some questions to ask if you spend a lot time on the phone…
What is the nature of these calls?
Can you eliminate the calls and redirect them on your FAQ page?
Can you have someone else pick up the call?
Can you create a pre-screening questionnaire?
Step 3: Map it out and design your system
Remember that the sequence matters, because your customer will have different feelings at different stages.
For example, they may feel guilty after buying from you. So what can you do to prevent a refund?
Step 4: Test drive, get feedback and improve your system
This part is the most time-consuming part and most people get overwhelmed by this, but have patience and know that your experiment is all for the name of science.
It’s easier to get feedback from friends and family, but the feedback you should care the most about is your audience.
When I tested variations of my system, most feedback were positive which gave me a false sense that I had a good system and I was so glad when I heard constructive feedback. In other words, keep on testing and push for constructive feedback.
Step 5: Decide who will perform the task
You may want to do everything yourself.
I am also guilty of this.
I was very good at hiding behind my computer working on my website and whatever task I can justify as being ‘working hard’.
But one thing I was always clear about is that I don’t have the eye of a designer, so I hired designers to help me with the visual components of my brand.
And my photos are taken by a friend and a professional.
I find that solopreneurs refuse to outsource or hire, because they want control, so let me say this bluntly…
STOP being a control freak!
I know it’s hard to trust someone else can perform the task as well as you.
I’m definitely not saying hire anyone, but you can develop a training manual for your system while looking for the right person to do these mundane tasks.
You need to define what your role in your business is.
Are you the entrepreneur creating a system and executing on the vision for your business?
Or are you a business owner working in your business?
Remember you run your business, not the other way around.
The most common advice to entrepreneurs and business owners is, “Invest in yourself!
So we invest in ourselves and buy go personal growth development rampage buying many online courses we don’t need right now thinking you’ll eventually need it.
Very quickly self help becomes shelf help.
I know I have.
Ever since stepping into the online entrepreneurial space, there’s a feeling of excitement or even overwhelm that you need to learn everything under the sun.
I call this the ‘buffet syndrome.’
I will get to how it got it’s name later.
In the online space, one online ‘goddesses’ glorifies Facebook Ads and the other ‘gurus’ glorifies funnels.
So naturally, you jump on the ‘I’ve got to learn that’ bandwagon.
Back in school, teachers use curriculum as guidance and course prerequisites requirements to keep our learning in order.
So we don’t accidentally take Math 12, unless we have passed Math 11.
Now in adult learning, the safe mode is off.
You can access any and every information through internet, putting you in control over what you learn.
That’s fantastic and all.
But this also means we are flooded and bombarded with everything.
What is a Buffet Syndrome?
Think of self development like eating at an Indian buffet (Ok, I’ve been craving for Indian food).
Upon entry, you get excited and take some samosas, lamb curry, butter chicken and then you go crazy at the dessert bar.
In the end, you over-estimate your appetite and end up with more food than you can finish.
Then when the bill comes, the restaurant owner charges food waste.
Not so ideal right?
This is how I look at online courses in the online space.
We get excited and buy a bunch of courses we can’t digest.
Our penality is mis-allocating our money on courses we didn’t need at that time.
This is especially a problem as a startup with limited resource, when your primary focus should be sales and cash injection.
The reason why we’re distracted, waiver and lose focus is because we are not sure what we want and our desired outcome.
Be clear on your intentions and create an intentional learning plan so that you don’t get distracted by other’s agenda.
I have two rules when it comes to buffet and online learning.
Identify your intended outcome
Take what you can finish
Rule 1: identify your intended outcome
So if you look where you want to be one year from now, what skills will you need to get you there?
Who do you need to be to get you where you want to go?
Let’s say for example you want to take your business to a 6 figure business. What skills should you focus on?
Could it possibly be?
Self discipline, time management and productivity
Operation and client management
And the reason why you identify one year is because these skills are going to be vastly different from growing 6-figure to a 7-figure business.
The priority of a growing business would be:
Recruiting and hiring
Simplifying and streamlining your systems
Public speaking skills
These skills are build on top of each other, so if you haven’t mastered your own system of productivity from building a 6-figure business, then your inefficient system will be duplicated and passed onto your new hire.
That’s like eating dessert first and then going back to the entree?
Kinda weird, right?
There’s a reason why we eat in this order appetizer, entree and dessert. Our online learning is no different.
Rule 2: Take What You Can Finish
Now we have identified the skills you need to take you to your goals.
Next question to ask yourself:
“What is the one skill that will have the most impact on your business right now?”
Going back to my previous example:
Self discipline, time management and productivity
Copy writing and incorporating with SEO
Adding value and client management
This is going to be a tough question to answer, but which one of these skills will have the most impact on your business right now?
It comes down to prioritizing.
If all else fails, just pick one.
You’ll need to learn them all eventually, so there’s no right or wrong one to start.
But the key is to focus on one skill at a time and eliminate the rest.
As for my buffet analogy, if you mix lamb curry and tandoori chicken, your taste bud gets confused and your food starts to taste the same. That’s why you eat one item at a time.
Now It’s Your Turn to Take Action
The next time you get emails to buy the next marketing fad, ask yourself:
“Will this get me where I want to be one year from now?” “Will learning this have the most impact on my business right now?”
When you say yes, you lose out on other opportunities, so start saying no to the wrong opportunities and be intentional with your development.
Otherwise, it’s like your mother stuffing you food you don’t want or need and nobody needs that.