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In job search and life do the thing you fear

Thursday 31 May 2012 at 5:46 pm

Searching for a job or career opportunity can be overwhelming and intimidating.  There is so much to do that sometimes you rush certain aspects of job search only to find out that if you had taken the time to get advice on how to write a resume, cover letter, network, conduct research on target companies, use social media, prepare for an interview, and follow up you might have landed one of the jobs that came your way when you first began searching.  Now, you feel like you have to start over but where to begin. You are frozen in time and you need to break free so my advice to you is to do the thing you fear.

Immediately after college graduation I had some job interviews but nothing I wanted to accept so I took a position for the summer as a direct selling associate (otherwise known as a door to door salesperson).  It was an opportunity to make some money and gain confidence.  The company was Southwestern Publishing Company out of Nashville Tennessee.  My sales territory was rural Kentucky, nothing wrong with that, great people but I lasted two weeks.  To be a successful door to door salesperson you need to get into the potential customers home.   After attending a week of sales training I had mastered the art of getting invited into a person's house. 

First, you knock on the door.  Then you greet the person who answers with a statement that is disarming.  My opening line was "I'm just another pesky salesman you don't shoot them do you?" real ow what you are thinking this line would never work in the Northeast where I am from.  I then hesitated and started wiping my feet signaling I was ready to enter.   On my first day I entered 29 out of 30 homes.  That's the good news the bad news is I did not sell anything. 

No problem we were told in sales training that if we kept getting into houses the law of averages would take over and we would make sales.  I sold nothing the second day and I found walking up to the next door got harder and harder to where eventually I did not get out of the car.  I sat there paralyzed with fear.  Our sales training had prepared us for this as well.  We were to "do the thing you fear and that will be the end of fear."  Great advice and they were right.  Except, I had overcome my fear of meeting strangers and this was a new fear.  The fear of not selling anything.  You see, the law of averages is a belief that something will occur, not a mathematical probability that it will. If you flip a coin there is a 50% chance that it will land on heads or tails regardless of the result of the previous flip.  It did not take me long to rationalize that door to door sales were not for me.  I bailed but not without learning a valuable lesson.

I would continue to experience circumstances and situations in life that would produce fear.   Some of those circumstances like impending danger you need to heed.  However, when fear threatens to limit your personal or professional growth you need to do the thing you fear and that will be the end of it.  If that means rewriting your resume, attending more networking events, targeting more companies, learning to use social media, preparing for another job interview then so be it.  The law of averages may not be a mathematical probability but there is more likelihood you will land a job if you continue your job search activities then if you stop or short circuit them.

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