Welcome to Merri's Blog!

Thanks for being a reader and for sharing these posts with others!

Please leave comments.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Reaching Into the Great Beyond

About a month ago I had coffee with someone who, not surprisingly, expressed her fear of making phone calls. My coaching work often leads me to those in business development who feel anxiety when using the phone to call upon strangers while seeking business. Cold-calling is a drudgery for many in sales, yet it leads to the eventual result - an appointment.

In this case a month ago, my companion wasn't reaching out to make a sales call. She was instead attempting to discover information about herself. She experiences social anxiety - something many experience at varying degrees, yet we have often heard it called "shyness". According to Jonathon Berent, ACSW, when we call ourselves shy, we avoid control over our condition. Calling ourselves socially anxious, we "are on our way to a more relaxed, fulfilling life in which we are in control".

I was forewarned to expect a call from my socially anxious companion, and within a week, she called. Now that's amazing. I remember thinking I'd never hear from her, for after all, what was motivating her to reach out? Yet she did call.

While on the phone she mentioned her fear of phoning, allowing me to marvel at the followthrough. Beyond that was her fear of meeting in public. Yet her intent in making the call was two-fold: could my coaching help her address her anxiety in specific ways, and if I thought so, could we meet?

After I shared my willingness to learn more about her, we agreed to meet. I selected a comfortable coffee shop convenient to both of us, while also very "public". If our work together was to be effective, it would get demonstrated immediately by our public location. My new acquaintance agreed and 2 days later we sat down together with coffee.

Reaching out into the great beyond, this woman chose to conquer her problems and overcome the symptoms that get in her way. Like others, she has constantly held herself back from relationships, personal fulfillment and career moves simply because of her embarrassment, fear or loss of confidence when assuming others are judging her.

Odd as it seems, this is a common factor we all face, daily. Daily. Often hourly.
We retreat back into isolation when our mind - logic - informs us it is time to reach out. Yet our fears of the result - our emotion - blocks us from following through with our intentions.

The manager considers checking in with a direct report, yet struggles with being unable to answer endless questions, hearing negative talk or having to make a decision he/she doesn't want to make. The sales professional avoids the client who wants a return call, fearing their dissatisfaction, or they fear cold-calling which leads to lack of interest or feeling of no value.

In our personal relationships we simply want positive reinforcement. When we don't get it, we assume things beyond what's actually the case.

Initiating contact with people is not always, but sometimes, a huge risk. But as in the earlier woman's case, it leads to information we need. And from there, possible connections that are of major importance. In the meantime, we find we have a more relaxed, fulfilling life in which we are in control.

In what way can you reach out instead of retreating, today?