Do What You Fear Most and You Will Control That Fear by Tom Hopkins

The best way to avoid failure is to never try. How many people in the profession of selling are hiding from the possibility of failure?

Let me give you a personal example of this. The first time I ever stood in front of an audience was in a second grade school play. I’d been asked to play Prince Charming. All my friends and relatives were there. I was very excited to be the star of the play. I was dressed in my purple pants, a purple cape, and I was ready to perform.

When my cue line came. I walked out on stage, and I froze. I could not move.

Finally, someone came out and led me off. From that moment on, I had a phobia about getting up in front of a group. I simply would not do it.

Many years later, I was invited to speak by a major firm. They had heard about my sales volume and wrote, “Will you come here and teach your selling methods to our sales staff?”

I shot a letter right back. “Thanks, but no thanks. I don’t talk to anyone.” Then a great friend, Jay Douglas Edwards, said to me, “Tom, do what you fear most and you will control that fear.”

Think about that. Think of something you should do professionally, something that you aren’t doing, because of fear. Fear is the only thing preventing you from doing what needs to be done. The important thing is to face that fear for the first time.

After I thought about controlling fear by doing what I fear most, I had to agree that I was allowing fear to control my life. So I called the company that had invited me to speak. I said I’d do it.

From the moment I had agreed to do the speech, there wasn’t an hour that I didn’t wish I hadn’t. The closer the time came, the more panicky I became.

Every time I wrote down what I was going to say, I’d tear it up and start over. Someone told me to put it all on 3 x 5 cards, so I did.

The night before my speech, I didn’t sleep at all. The next morning, I walked into an auditorium and waited in the wings to be introduced to three thousand people. And do you know what the only thing on my mind was? I was reliving the terror of my second grade experience.

I walked on to the stage, I looked down at my notes, and began my speech. I never once looked up at the audience. I just kept talking. I was scheduled to speak for forty-five minutes. Within eight minutes, I had covered every point.

My first time speaking in public was awful. The second time was terrible. The third time was a disaster. The fourth time, they clapped a little. The fifth time, almost everybody stayed. Now, after years of speaking day after day to enthusiastic salespeople, I awake with anticipation. Excitement. And I owe it all to those words, “Do what you fear most and you will control that fear.”

Make this phrase yours and nothing can stop your success.

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