Jeff was with me when I was deployed to Iraq. When the first shots were fired, Jeff was one of the first to fire back. When the bombs started falling and we took off into the desert approaching certain death, we knew it was us versus the fear. Would we make it out alive?
We never asked ourselves that. When you’re in a situation where there are no easy answers, you have to be careful what questions you ask — they can open the door to letting fear get the best of you. We never spoke of “what ifs.” We played the soldier role. We joked and laughed because laughing was our only defense against the fear. A slap on the shoulder meant, “I love you, brother.” And that was enough.
What I found on that battlefield with Jeff is identical visceral fact I am now paid to bring to boardrooms as a speaker and motivator. Emotional assist and connection is the important thing to overcoming fear and doubt. That grounding is essential to not just surviving, but in addition to thriving.
From conquering fear in a battle to conquering fear in the boardroom.
That mindset is precisely how 25 years after that battle with Jeff, I ended up working for Andrea Bocelli with zero experience and no business contacts. For anybody who’s studying who doesn’t know who Andrea Bocelli is, he is the most acclaimed opera singer within the world. He’s our generation’s version of Pavarotti.
So how did a former soldier find yourself working with this dwelling legend? It started with a haircut — the most profitable haircut I’ve ever had. I was in a barbershop in Dusseldorf, Germany, run by an Italian guy who just happened to know a guitarist for Andrea Bocelli, who happened to be getting a haircut right next to me. We obtained to talking and from that conversation, I managed to score a gathering with Andrea and his spouse in London the next week.
Once I showed up for the assembly, Andrea wasn’t there. His spouse Veronica Berti, who can also be his supervisor, was there and, I imply this as a compliment, she is a tiger. I immediately felt the acquainted worry creep in — the doubt and that feeling of being in over my head.
Fortunately, I had practiced utilizing fear, doubt and vulnerability as a technique to deeply connect with clients. It’s the art of being absolutely current within the second and having zero expectations of myself or those before me. Even though I didn’t know the music trade, I knew I understood business. And because I wasn’t wasting vitality fueling the worry and doubt, I was capable of make connections between my current information and the gaps of their business. I had performed my homework, so I was in a position rapidly to level out opportunities and present them how I may develop their enterprise in a matter of weeks.
At first, she was shocked that I even had this information. Then I informed her that I wanted a percentage of their take from the enterprise I brought in — plus a retainer. She laughed in my face. Nobody in the music business gets a retainer. But twenty minutes later, I walked out of there with a retainer agreement that I saved for the entire 1.5 years that I labored with them.
Use fear to fuel your meetings.
Inside two weeks, I was meetings with CEOs of the top record labels. And once again I confirmed up wholly and totally current with no expectations and used my vulnerability as my absolute strength. I didn’t discuss my schooling, my abilities — did not go in weapons blazing and chest out. If you’re uncovered the way in which I was, a frontal assault will get your goals killed. As an alternative, the people you’re pitching must see in you the answer, an opportunity, a solution, or they need to really feel the connection to something intangible that makes them really want to work with you.
You don’t create this connection by fighting concern, you make it by befriending fear. Basic enterprise training tells you to go in with a guidelines, energy factors or some kind of cookie-cutter solution after which start mirroring and matching and utilizing persona sorts to “close” the client. That may work for smaller, less skilled shoppers, but if that’s the toolkit you use in the big league, you’ll out your self as a novice who’s pretending to be an expert. You will not acquire anyone’s trust that way.
I’ve received big offers where I didn’t have half the credentials of my rivals as a result of I chose not to compete on that level. I build belief by staying open and vulnerable. Like in that battle I fought in alongside Jeff, I don’t ask myself questions that give concern a chance to win — I’ve used my potential to crush worry and doubt as my superpower.