Put Your Head Down and Go!

I have always been the type of person who thrives in a crazy busy schedule.  If I don’t have a back-to-back schedule, I don’t feel productive.  Call it obsessive compulsive, or a bit neurotic, but my day from 8am to 5pm is most productive when my plate is full.

When those pockets of your day creep up when you don’t have a tight schedule, how do you get it to fill up?  Do you turn to research, prospecting, organizing, or…?  What if your calendar is light for the week?  What then?

Busywork does not always produce results.  If you choose to utilize your down time to organize your desk / briefcase / contact data base, then only commit to organizing for 15-30 minutes.  You can easily loose track of time if you allow yourself more, and your day is wasted.  If you are trying to achieve more activity, then start the activity that will get the ball rolling: cold calling.

I have learned over the years that cold calling is like public speaking.  It makes your heart beat a little faster, your palms get sweaty, and it’s so easy to ask someone else to do it.  But when you take the plunge and go for it, the adrenaline rush you can experience can push you ahead to do it again and again until you get a “yes.”  It takes time to feel comfortable with this activity, and also some planning.  I rarely make a cold call without having some background knowledge of either the individual, business, or reason for my call first.  I want to appear informed and helpful, and the ability to access requested information is key.

How do you get started? Put your head down and go for it! Don’t second guess yourself.  Don’t worry about what the person on the other end of the line / email / text / desk will think of you.  If you represent yourself in an honest, professional and sincere manner, you will achieve success.

Embrace Your Fear

One of my favorite quotes is from Eleanor Roosevelt and states: “Do one thing every day that scares you.” I shared this quote with my 8-year-old daughter a while ago, and asked her what she did that day that scared her. She surprised me when she responded with “I went up and sat by the new girl at lunch.”  Wow!   I was, needless to say, shocked and proud of her for unabashedly going out on a limb and doing something extraordinary.

She then turned the tables on me and asked: “What did you do today that scared you?” That took some thought, because doing scary things not only takes courage, but requires comfort in knowing that failure happens sometimes. If we know that failure could happen more often than success (and many times this is the case) how willing are you to take a risk? Is the reward of getting over a fear worth the feeling you will endure to get there?

Let’s take a step back for a moment. When you think of your fears, many times things like “I’m afraid of heights, flying, spiders and getting stuck in an elevator” come to mind. What I’m talking about is something much more basic. Think about what keeps you from stepping out and doing something great. I would guess that it is fear – even on a small scale.

I’ve worked in a sales environment in some form or another my entire career. A large part of my job involves cold-calling. With cold-calling, you take a risk every time you pick up the phone, walk through the door, or go up to a prospect you haven’t met before. Will they like me? Will they hang up on me? Will they run the other direction? The power in making a successful cold-call, or doing-that-one-thing-that-scares-you, is going into the situation expecting the best to happen – no matter what. I’ve been turned down plenty of times in my life, only to walk away from these so called “failures” with something positive. That failed call might have connected you with someone new, led to something more down the road, or gave that person a positive impression of you even when their answer was “no.” There is nothing better than having people refer you in a positive way, especially when you handle bad news brilliantly.

So, take a deep breath, and get scared today.