Don’t be afraid to fail

We recently discussed ‘Being open to Constructive CHANGE’ and I wanted to follow-up a post about fear and failure.

Contemporary Christian/Pop singer Francesca Battiselli has a great song I play on repeat – especially when I’ve had a frustrating day. It is called a ‘The Break-Up Song’ and talks candidly about breaking up with fear. The chorus repeats:

“Fear, you don’t own me
There ain’t no room in this story
And I ain’t got time for you
Telling me what I’m not
Like you know me well guess what?
I know who I am
I know I’m strong
And I am free
Got my own identity
So fear, you will never be welcome here”

Why is this relevant for sales professionals and creative sellers?

We are constantly facing rejection. We have to run through the ‘no’ and focus on how we can keep going. I got pretty good at making peace with ‘no’ not being fatal as an SDR and Account Executive, but we also get stagnant and are afraid to change. We are afraid of failure.

Fear is ingrained in us to be a healthy emotion, but our broken world has left us addicted to fear. ‘Fear of missing quota,’ ‘fear of missing out,’ ‘fear of loss’ and the death grip of the ‘fear of failure.

Think of how many times we have not tried something new or taken on a challenge at work because we are afraid to fail.

I personally gave up creative writing for years because I had a bad experience with self-publishing – I failed and it felt terrible. I leaned into prayer and realized what I learned in that failure. I won’t make those mistakes again and I can share knowledge from failure to help others succeed.

In sales failure equals anxiety because missing your quota and goals typically equals loss – loss of identity, loss of financial security.

I know a lot of professionals (in numerous career paths) who don’t leave a job they dislike because they are afraid of failing. As humans we’d rather deal with the known crud than risk failing at something new. We are wired to distrust change and vulnerability.

In sales we need to be vulnerable – open to feedback and growth. I’m in a new role and fear has reared its ugly head – I’m worried about not being perfect on a call or demo. I’m worried about messing up – and as I reflected on my journey and career transformation – I realized it is okay if I fail.

Failure is not fatal. We have a God who loves us unconditionally and uses our failures to transform our hearts and minds. Failure in Business is a lesson – a lesson in how can we improve. What can we learn?

When a manager leads by fear or perfectionism we all fall short and will end up failing. We need room to make mistakes and learn so we can master and overcome.

That doesn’t mean you purposefully fail – but you don’t let fear prevent you from tackling hard questions in a discovery call – or demoing a new product with a client. Yes, be strategic and focused, but don’t be so rigid that you forgo quality risk because you’d rather not fail.

Failure is not fatal. Don’t be Risk Averse – be risk aware. Do your best to succeed and tackle problems with solutions preemptively – but also it’s okay to give yourself grace.

My fear mindset says ‘why bother writing this blog,’ ‘why record videos and post them on YouTube for sales coaching’ – you are just an Account Executive and you don’t have a professional studio or run a major corporation.

Fear keeps us all from doing things. It kept me from pursuing my love of writing for years. It led me to be so wired to the outcome I lost sight of the process – leading to anxiety and stress.

I know I make mistakes. I also have strengths. I am not purposefully diving into ventures and opportunities that lead to failure, but I’m not being paralyzed by fear.

I recently started a YouTube Channel to release sales coaching content and build community. This is scary. I know I am putting myself in the middle of no man’s land and every part of me says – don’t do it. But I’m persisting because I love to connect and enjoy sharing knowledge I’ve learned in the trenches. I want to learn from YOU (yes YOU) as well – because we have all learned in our success and failures.

Each week I encourage you to write down a few items that you have avoided at work (or at home) because of fear. I’m not talking about performing brain surgery – but not being afraid to handle hard objections or share your knowledge.

My goals:

  • Don’t allow fear of messing up prevent me from presenting the value I can when demoing a newer product.
  • Dedicate at least 30-45 minutes a week for my VLOG

And if you are interested in following the YouTube Channel click here

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