When questioned about any regrets they had or anything they would do differently, common themes surfaced again and again. Here are the most common five.
Why do people hate networking events? Usually it's full of people who are all talking small. "How's business?" " There's a lot of people here." "How's the food?" "That's a great tie."
Shoot me now. We all hate these events - executives, vendors, and business owners alike. Unfortunately, we've been told that we have to go to them to grow our business. And they're right.
We all encounter 'bad' stuff that we have to do in our lives. Make the hard phone call, visit the recalcitrant client, tell your vendor bad news. We all have that terrible interaction we all hate to do. You might have to ask for a late payment, a raise/promotion, or tell a client that a project will be late. You might have to reach out to a prospective employer who might want to hire you.
So what do we do? We procrastinate — we put off — we do anything else except that one hard thing.
And it festers. It grows. And it takes on a life of it's own. Just like the 50's movie 'The Blob' with Steve McQueen, the longer we let it roll around, the faster it grows and starts killing people. Just kidding - but it was a scary movie when I was a kid.
Here's how I train my clients to do the hard things in life — we have to treat it like we're going to run a 10k race. What are the four things we need to do to prepare for a long race?
1. Practice — You can't just run a 10k — you have to practice and prepare incrementally to do your best. You need to practice what you're going to say and do. Develop a series of bullet talking-points to guide you. Refine them — less is more. Then practice them until they roll off your tongue. Run them by someone you trust until you have the right mix of intensity and empathy to get your point across and get the intended result.
2. Fuel — You have to eat the right foods to fuel your body. It's now time to feed the motivation part of your brain. Figure out the one thing you do to get yourself in the right state of mind with a heavy dose of mental momentum. Listen to your favorite workout song, read motivational quotes/books, call a friend who energizes you, or even workout. Do something that will instantly build your confidence and get you ready to make that connection.
3. Stretch — Right before a race, everyone stretches their muscles and joint to get them ready for the 10k. I want you to do the same thing — once you build up your confidence, I want you to center yourself and focus solely on the task at hand. Meditate, close your eyes and focus.
4. Explode — Get on the starting line, the gun goes off, and you explode forward with hundreds of other runners all vying for position. I also want you to explode — after practicing, fueling, and stretching — I want you to go right up to your phone, dial the number and make that call. Don't procrastinate and don't tell yourself you're not ready — you know you are. Just do it.
When you finally do it — everyone — and I mean everyone — says that it wasn't as hard as they thought. In fact, they say it's pretty easy. Now it's time to make that second call. And the third. And so on. Good Luck!