Fear of failure may drive you to work harder. And in so doing, you may succeed. But with success will come greater responsibilities, greater potential failure, greater drive to avoid failing. You may go far, but when fear is the foundation of your motivation, the inevitable failure in your future will tumble the whole tower of blocks.
If, on the other hand, you risk failure by measuring it and its companion, reward, there is joy and art in your motivation. You will work harder to push the envelope. When failure arrives you’ll recognize it, welcome it with a hardy “I knew I’d find you eventually,” then shrug and carry on.
What’s your motivation?*
If you find yourself in the fear-of-failure camp, here’s a helpful exercise. In Pre-Sales, as in Sales as in baseball as in life, great batting averages are barely above .300. Face it, you’ve failed. You’ve failed often. So go back to a few deals you’ve lost and spend fifteen minutes looking at your presentation, your differentiators, your themes, and the way in which you demonstrated your solution. If it’s had time to settle, to breathe, then the reasons for the failure will jump right out at you.
“How could I have been saying this when the customer obviously needed that?”
Learn from your failures.
*Failure can be risked and feared in darker, more dangerous ways. Risk without caution, without preparation, is foolhardy and invites catastrophic failure. Worse yet, fear of failure can drive you to avoidance, procrastination, safe decisions. Then there are no rewards; success becomes a failure.