Scared face peering through a hole in the wall. (Image: Korionov/Thinkstock, modified by Allison Bell of ALM) (Image: Korionov/Thinkstock)

You know you need to pick up the telephone and call people, or businesses, that might need your services, but the thought of doing it makes you feel too “uncomfortable” (read as “afraid”).

You’re afraid — of being rejected, and of appearing awkward and foolish.

These are just two of the “Seven Paralyzing Fears” I discuss in my book, The High Diving Board: How to Overcome Your Fears and Live Your Dreams.

(Related: Getting to The Top)

You’re too paralyzed with fear to make those calls, so you find “important” paperwork to do, rather than picking up the phone. Or maybe you need to prepare a presentation for a seminar you’ve scheduled, and you’re so paralyzed with fear (of Failing, or of Success) that you go into “analysis paralysis” — doing endless research, but not actually getting anything done.

Regardless of the particular paralyzing fear that is keeping you from doing what you need to do, if you follow the 10-Step Program in The High Diving Board, you can get what you want. If you do, you’ll eventually come to “Step Eight.”

Step Eight requires you to take one small action — any action — in the direction of what you want.

Forget spending time putting a list of most-likely prospects together and, instead, make one call — the one that feels like it might be the easiest.

Or, pick a stopping point in that research, so that you’ll be ready to work on that presentation. Don’t worry about starting to put it together yet — just pick the point where you stop the research.

A client recently revealed to me that he had a secret desire to do something really creative — he wanted to become a stand-up comedian! He believed he had a knack for comedy, and I have to admit that, on our calls, he had me in stitches. But when I challenged him to schedule time to try his routine at a comedy club, he refused — he was too paralyzed to go out and do it.

So instead, I got him to agree to enroll in a stand-up class offered through a local continuing education program. That small step got him out of his head and into the game and started him down the road to realizing a vision he had spent years denying himself.

Will, he ever actually do his routine in a club? I believe that he will at some point. (I’m not sure he realized that one of the requirements of the class is to spend five minutes up on stage with your material…)

Will you actually pick up the phone and call those prospective clients you’ve been afraid to call? Start thinking about it…but plan a time to stop. Then, break your analysis paralysis with one small, real step: Start brainstorming names, or write a loose script, or create a spreadsheet. Block out some time for just one call in tomorrow morning’s schedule. Take that one step, whatever it is, and then, let yourself stop again. Treat every step along the way like this, and before you know it, you’ll be in motion.

But don’t wait. Try Step Eight now, even if all you do is contact me for help.

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Sandy SchusselSandy Schussel has been a coach and practice development consultant for insurance and financial professionals for the past 20 years. He is an approved MDRT coach and has served as the national sales training director for First Investors and Foresters. He is the author of two books, The High Diving Board, about overcoming fear and Become A Client Magnet, about attracting and keeping clients. Schussel‘s scheduling calendar is available here.