Shifting from fear to belief
Recently I’ve been running a few seminars dealing with business model generation and deal flow.
I’m teaching tech entrepreneurs the simple science of closing out sales deals, the underlying theme being that repeating this process enough times helps ensure business sustainability.
The hardest deals to get over the line are usually the first several of a new venture.
The most common reactions are a mix of:
“This is too hard!”,
“It’s just not happening!”
“I can’t get them to commit!”
This is a common theme—one that I have observed in almost every new venture, regardless of industry or expertise.
We’ve all heard the stories of how entrepreneurs beg, borrow and steal; maxing out credit cards in their desperate need to keep the lights just long enough to land their first deal.
This scenario is so common and so typical that every time I hear a client tell a similar story, I remind them:
“Your first deal will always be your hardest, most gruelling and most challenging. In fact, the grind is like a rite of passage. Why do you think you are any different to the rest?
But try as I may, the minute the pressure comes on these entrepreneurs go back to acting from fear, doubt and uncertainty. I know as even I’ve been there!
I try and explain to them the absurdity of the paradox. “The more desperate you become, the less likely you are to close”.
And let’s face it—nobody wants to buy a product or service from someone who is desperate to sell. It simply devalues what’s on offer.
After a period of repeated failures, constant rejections we reach a threshold.
The wolves are at the door, money is fast running out and it feels like there is no prospect of a deal closing… and all we want to do is give up!
SO WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?
In his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces, mythologist Joseph Campbell describes something called the ‘Hero’s Journey’. It’s a story pattern you’ve read or seen a thousand times, from ancient myths to recent blockbuster films.
There’s a moment in the Hero’s Journey called the ‘threshold’.
The threshold is the point at which every person faces their greatest obstacle; their inevitable challenge.
In your Hero’s Journey, there too is a threshold. A challenge you must overcome.
But here’s the thing—the challenge isn’t coming from the marketplace. The market is simply behaving how the market is meant to. The challenge appears from within.
And to truly pass through this point, the hero must first accept and understand their lesson.
They must ask: What are my lessons? What am I holding onto? What do I need to let go?
When entrepreneurs are under pressure or deals are not closing, old belief systems seem to pop up.
“Maybe I can’t do this,” or “I’m not good enough.”
Coupled with these old belief systems, they figure that if they just cajole, chase, and harass with enough energy the deal will get done. But what mostly occurs is the harder they chase, the more the deal evades them.
Now don't get me wrong—nothing replaces clear, consistent and measured follow-up. But the kind of chasing and control I’m talking about is full of fear and desperation.
A shift needs to occur.
What happens when I let go of control and realise that these old belief systems have really nothing to do with who I am?
When I let go, I realise that I can’t control the outcome of a deal, or the buying behaviours and patterns of my customers. I stop operating from fear and desperation and start seeing the situation for what it is. It’s nothing personal.
As soon as I let go, I start to use my mind for what it’s meant for: to plan and strategise as opposed to ruminate and panic. I start to trust myself and connect to the reason I got into business the first place.
As I begin to trust myself, my customers begin to trust me and my ability to deliver. Trust cuts to the core of each and every deal. If I am conflicted internally, that conflict will play out in the marketplace.
I have literally witnessed moments where entrepreneurs have moved from a state of internal conflict and fear through to trust, belief and power. It all happens the moment they let go and start to trust themselves. It’s a magical moment.
So the next time you are struggling to get an opportunity over the line, ask yourself this one question
Am I operating from fear, or am I operating from belief?
Only you will know the answer to that question. And once you truly make that shift everything will change in an instant.