There are events in our personal and professional lives that scare us. In our personal lives, it could be going on a first date, taking your first journey alone, doing a move or trip to a new city or having an appointment with a healthcare professional. In our professional lives, it could be starting a new job, doing a sales call, attending a job interview, receiving a salary and performance review or presenting to senior management or a large audience. All of these events require planning and preparation, some more than others. The more you are prepared, the less you will be scared.
In your personal life, whether you are experienced at dating or new to dating after a life change like a divorce or death of a spouse or partner, going on a first date is a chance to meet someone new, listen to them and talk about yourself. Too often, we travel through our days at a rapid pace and neglect to take the time to focus on what we have felt, experienced and accomplished. A first date is also a chance to put forward your best personal self. If the date goes well, it may lead to a whole new personal life. If there is no romantic connection, perhaps it will result in a friendship or professional connection. Remember the other person is probably as scared as you are. Prepare yourself by being open, honest and feeling comfortable with yourself and allowing the other person to feel comfortable with you.
If you are taking your first journey alone or are moving or taking a trip to a new city or country, do as much research as you can before your departure. Canvass your family, friends, clients/customers, colleagues, LinkedIn connections, Facebook friends and Twitter followers to see who has connections who live and work in your destination. It is always better to have someone to contact once you arrive in a new place and even better if you make plans to meet these contacts as soon after you arrive as possible. This is especially true if you are setting down roots in a new city. Even if you have moved to this city for a new job, a personal social life outside of work will make all of the difference. If you have prepared by making connections and arranging plans to meet, then you will not be scared to travel or to move to this destination.
Even if you look forward to a visit with your healthcare professional, be it the doctor or dentist, a visit can cause some fear, stress and worry. Time spent with these professionals is getting increasingly shorter so you need to make the most of your time with them. Whether it is an annual physical examination or a quarterly or semi-annual dental examination, you may want to prepare a summary of what has been happening externally in your life, what has been happening internally in your body and how the two may be linked. Your healthcare professionals will appreciate this summary and it will allow you both to make the most of your time together.
In your professional life, whether you are starting a new job, doing a sales call, attending a job interview, receiving a salary and performance review or presenting to senior management or a small or large audience, take the spotlight off yourself and shine it on others and watch what happens. If you consistently remember that it is not about you, your fear will disappear as if by magic and you can focus on getting prepared instead of being scared. Even though you are eager to fit in and get going when you start a new job, you will be far more prepared and far less scared if you spend the first week just doing the three L’s: Looking, Listening and Learning. As you prepare for your sales call, spend more time learning as much as you can about your prospect and their needs and less time on your performance. Visualize every moment of the sales call and prepare for what your prospect might do, say or ask. See your sales call as giving something to your prospect rather than asking them for something. When you are preparing for a job interview, pretend that you already have the job and that you are meeting with the hiring manager for an update on a project rather than for the first time. Study the organization’s website so that you can speak their language and connect your skills, knowledge and experience with their objectives and initiatives in your interview responses. To prepare for your salary and performance review, please take a minute and read my previous blog post entitled: “Want to Get That Raise? Plan, Prepare, Promote and Praise“. Finally, when presenting to senior management or to a small or large audience, it is important to know the answers to three questions as you prepare: Who are the influencers and decision-makers? What are their key concerns and questions? How much information do they want to receive and process? Whatever the size of the audience, connect with each person by making eye contact and speaking directly to them. See them as allies who want to support your success rather than enemies who want to frame your failure. Remember to thank them at the start for their time and attendance and at the end for their attention and participation.
So as you begin the week, look for meetings, appointments, conversations and presentations in your schedule and recognize that the more that you are prepared for each of them the less you will be scared about them. You can look forward to them and anticipate the positive result that you will receive from each of them.