This week’s conversation on SUCCESS Line was an important one, and I am so grateful to my guest for her honesty and vulnerability in sharing her story. I talk to Sharon, a successful real-estate appraiser with more than 25 years of experience. She is also someone who has seen, personally, the havoc depression can wreak on someone’s life. After walking through her pain and surviving it, she started a nonprofit to help other women battling depression and anxiety get the help they need.
She came on the show with a question about how to find funding for her nonprofit but it quickly became clear that her question went much deeper than that. She knows, practically, where to find funding. What she is dealing with is the emotional uncertainty all entrepreneurs face: the fear of rejection, apathy, and failure.
Regardless of whether you run a nonprofit, a personal brand or a company, you need to face your fears head on. Put your feet to the fire, get your business out there and make people care.
Wondering how? Read on for my top three tips.
1. Fight the fear of rejection.
The biggest way to overcome the fear of rejection is not logically but emotionally. Fear is an emotional experience. It is, as the acronym puts it, False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is a figment of our imagination—our creativity working in the wrong direction. Our minds can craft an elaborate story of this horrible rejection that might happen—a story that is frankly unlikely to happen—in order to keep us stuck and safe.
I’ll let you in on the biggest secret to overcoming your fear of rejection: Remind yourself of your purpose. Your purpose is to serve others; there are people out there you were designed to serve and who need your help. In order to fight the fear of rejection, you need to focus on them.
Although there may be some people who will not need you, you cannot let that group prevent you from finding the ones that so desperately do. Think of it like a giant Easter egg hunt. You have to wade through all the humans in the world who don’t need your help in order to find the ones who do.
Focusing on the people you serve will help you power through the setbacks, pain and rejection that inevitably come with a life lived boldly. There are people that need your help—you just need to get out there and find them.
2. Move people emotionally.
How do you actually get people to pay attention to and care about your business?
If you follow my work, you’ve seen me talk about personal development, sales, leadership and marketing. Why do I focus on those four things? These things all center on the art of moving people to action. That includes moving yourself, your team or the community to action. Influence is simply the art of moving people to action.
What I’ve found is that if you want to move people to action, you need to learn how to move them emotionally. The best and easiest way to do that is to tell stories.
One technique, taught by award-winning speaker and trainer Craig Valentine, is to tell an “I-focused” story with a “you-focused” message. This technique builds a bridge between your own life and the listener’s, creating a connectivity point that wasn’t there before. Another is to tell the real-life story of just one person. We connect viscerally when we can put ourselves in the shoes of another person. One person’s true story is much more powerful than a broad, general story with no details for the listener to grab onto. Specificity, not generality, leads to connection.
Practice your storytelling techniques on your friends, family and mentors. Were they moved? The more skilled you can become at moving people emotionally, including yourself, the more influential you will be.
3. Consider what breaks your heart.
When we’re working with entrepreneurs at Brand Builders Group, we start by asking them six specific questions, what we call the brand DNA helix. One of the most important is, “What are you passionate about?” But Sharon reminded me of another way to phrase that question: “What breaks your heart?”
We think of passion as simply what fires you up, but your passion also comes from what makes you angry. The thing that makes you so mad you can’t sleep at night is what you were designed to be connected to and solve. We believe that your purpose, where you find a never-ending spring of motivation, is directly connected to the thing that breaks your heart. And the more you tap into that, the more likely you are to persevere.
What breaks your heart? Take some time to sit with that question today.