I’ll never forget the last talent show I was in. We were at a family church camp. My son, who was eight, insisted that I play a couple of songs on the guitar. At first, I resisted. (You might have too if you’d only taken three lessons, knew two chords and had never sung in public before!)

Of course, I didn’t want to look and sound stupid in front of more than 300 campers. But I finally said yes, after I realized that it was an opportunity to teach him a valuable life lesson about taking risks.

When I got up on stage, my knees began to shake and my mouth became dry — classic symptoms of fear and panic. Before I started playing, I explained my beginner status to the group. I asked them to please sing along, too, and that if I couldn’t change chords fast enough, I would catch up to them. They thought I was kidding but soon found out that I wasn’t. I survived the ordeal, however, and even got a hearty round of applause.

As human beings — and sellers — we don’t step out of our comfort zones a lot. We live our life on cruise control. And then, when bumps come along, which they inevitably do, we really struggle.

The truth is, the more risks we take, the better we become at handling them. We discover that we won’t die of embarrassment if we sing the wrong note. We find out that people want us to succeed and will cheer us on — even when we’re still learning.

So, do something risky today. And tomorrow, too! If you build up your risk-taking muscle, you’ll become a stronger and more confident. Take a bold step outside your comfort zone; you might be surprised at the talents you didn’t know you had. 

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling and Selling to Big Companies. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.