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  • Writer's pictureLacy Starling

#95: Fear is the Mind-Killer

Frank Herbert's book Dune has gotten some serious press lately, since there is another film adaptation coming out....sometime when people are willing to be in movie theaters again. (It was supposed to be December, but *gestures broadly at everything*.)

In that book is a particularly famous quote about fear. I won't put the whole thing here, but the first two lines are pretty good:

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. - Dune

I thought of this quote last week when I was working with a client on her pitch for a particularly big deal she was working. She knew her stuff, she had a plan, her product was a perfect fit for the BigCo she was pitching to, and she was ready. But she couldn't quite pull the trigger. So of course, I asked her what was holding her back.

She immediately got that scrunchy face we all make when we're afraid to admit something, and said, "I just don't know?" Which told me, immediately, she was afraid. Afraid of screwing it up, afraid of rejection, afraid of losing her first big deal, etc.

And that's totally normal. We're all afraid of screwing up, of being embarrassed, of messing up a big deal that could be a game-changer for our business. But, at the end of the day, all fear does is hold us back. Being afraid of failure means we don't take chances, and if we don't take chances, we'll never win any deals, let alone the big ones.

In this case, fear truly is the mind-killer. And a deal-killer. And a self-confidence-killer. Fear does nothing in this situation besides hold us back. So we just have to embrace the scary, gather all our courage, and take the leap. Nothing good will come without some degree of risk, whether that's a risk of failure or of looking silly or even of rejection. It's gonna happen. You're going to blow deals and screw up and make mistakes. But you'll also get better, and win deals, and develop more confidence.

We ended our session by setting up an accountability for her that she'd send her product and do the follow-up calls within a week. No matter what happens, she'll have taken positive action and fear won't be holding her back.

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