Fear of the “F” word . . .

No, not the queen mother of all “F” words. I’m talking about fear of  FAILURE.

What does failure mean to you? It means different things to different individuals and it can vary depending on the circumstances. Failure, simply put, refers to not meeting a desirable or intended objective. It is often viewed as the opposite of success. Most, if not all, experiences in life require failure to learn and to advance. In reality, you can’t truly experience success at anything without first experiencing failure.

As a child, before you  learn to walk, you fall repeatedly. It is part of the process. Great feats in life don’t come without failure either. Anyone who has achieved great successes in life has also experienced countless failures and setbacks on the way to their eventual success. 

  • Thomas Edison’s experiments failed approximately 10,000 times before he invented the working light bulb.
  • Henry Ford of the Ford Motor Company went bankrupt 5 times before he finally succeeded in the auto industry.
  • Colonel Sanders of Kentucky Fried Chicken fame, went to over a 1,000 places trying to sell his secret recipe before he found someone interested.
  • Author, John Grisham was rejected by 16 agents and 12 publishing houses before his first novel, A Time to Kill, was published.
  • Quarterback Brett Favre is the career leader in almost every major category including being the career leader in interceptions.
  • Babe Ruth held records for the number of homeruns hit in a season, but he also held records for the number of strike-outs in a season. He is quoted as saying: “Every strike brings me closer to the next homerun.”

In sales, it is no different.  We face rejection and failure constantly.  For most,  it’s a daily occurrence. If you use the 10/3/1 rule (meet ten people, three are interested, one buys)  then you face a lot of failure.  Fortunately, most sales plans/quotes are built with these numbers in mind. If you want greater success you need to fail more!  The fact is success comes to those who are neither afraid to fail nor discouraged by failures.  As Hockey Hall-of-Famer Wayne Gretsky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

Adopt a policy of “failing forward”, the idea being that from every failure you learn something and you move forward making yourself better. Learn to look at failure as a positive and not a negative.  The faster you can fail and learn from your mistakes, the faster you will succeed. Remember, success builds character, failure reveals it!


Categories: Sales

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