Facing Your Fears

August 1, 2002

Anaïs Nin once wrote, “There were always in me two women at least, one woman desperate and bewildered, who felt she was drowning and another who would leap into a scene, as upon a stage, conceal her true emotions . . . and present to the world only a smile, an eagerness, curiosity, enthusiasm, interest.”

Nin’s words speak volumes about how I feel when I find myself outside my comfort zone. I could be trying to deal with a major, last-minute change in our editorial, make a presentation to a group of REALTORS®, or answer a call from an angry reader. My natural inclination is to not want to do it. Why, I lament, does life have to be so difficult? I’d be much happier sitting in my garden sipping iced tea!

When I find myself wishing to slip off into the rose bushes, I know that what I’m butting up against is my own fear. All I need to do is force myself to leap into the scene, and I can generally bring about a satisfying result.

And what if I can’t? That’s OK, too. Trying and failing is always—100 percent of the time—better than not trying at all, because not trying further erodes your self-confidence.

Real estate brokerage is rife with situations that would generate fear in the average person: You have to build rapport with strangers, sell yourself (not an inanimate product, but you) as a solution provider, and help people through a pivotal transaction in their lives. But, if industry experts are to be believed, only a sliver of practitioners (those 10 percent of the salespeople who reportedly do 90 percent of the business) confidently leap into the scene. Presumably, the rest make comfortable livings but know they could do better, regard their real estate career as a sideline, or struggle to get by on what income they can earn from walk-in customers and friends.

Why be one of the 90 percent when you can be one of the 10 percent? That’s the message of this month’s cover story, “Be Fearless” (page 30). It’s about identifying what’s holding you back and acting to change it. By putting forth your eager and enthusiastic self, you’ll eventually wonder what it was you feared so much in the first place.

What’s the harm in trying?

Stacey Moncrieff

Stacey is executive editor of publications for the National Association of REALTORS® and editor in chief of REALTOR® Magazine.

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