Embracing The Fear Monster

embrace fear

I remember asking myself a lot of questions before I was able to push “publish” and publicly launch the very first entry in Juan Great Leap.

What would they say?

What if they say, “Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?”

What if they laugh at me? 

What if they ignore me? 

It took me a couple of weeks in between finishing my first post and  actually publishing it.

You know how I did it?

After a long day at work, the thought of publishing it crossed my mind. Before giving myself any chance to over-analyze, I forced myself to just push publish. And that was that. After that, I then started wrestling with the fear of posting it on my social media sites. (“Bahala na” works wonders, by the way.)

You’d think that after over 200 posts, I’d be completely comfortable with pushing publish.

The truth is, is that it varies.

publishWhen I put up announcements, for example, there is no hesitation. Publish.

But when I share some personal things about myself, or when I want to explain something I feel truly passionate about, or when I have a very strong opinion on something – I still get those jitters. I hesitate. I begin to question myself, very frequently going through those italicized statements at the beginning of this post.

In other words, it is when I am posting something I have put my soul into that I feel fear.

I realize that this blogging experience of mine mirrors the entrepreneurial experience as well.

Startups, I find, are very personal affairs. It is someone’s original idea. Someone’s effort. Someone’s very personal work.

Then you throw them out into the world, where they are vulnerable, tender, and open to criticism.

What are some of the first things I feel when I’d launch a startup?

What would they say?

What if they say, “Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?”

What if they laugh at me? 

What if they ignore me? 

Conquering Vs Embracing

You know, before I always felt that the key to it all was conquering fear. It was a leap after all, and I thought that what I had to do was to eradicate the fear.  I figured, to succeed, I had to stop feeling this fear.

But this blogging experience of mine taught me something very interesting: it was when I felt fear that I knew that I was posting something worthwhile. When I don’t feel fear, then I might not be pushing the envelope as far as I could. When I don’t feel fear, then perhaps I didn’t put as much of my soul in it as I could. When I don’t feel fear, I realize I am being safe. 

Corollary: when I feel this fear – I realize I am closer to following the road I had wanted for myself. This is true when I write posts for this blog, and this is also true with the type of projects I choose to do.

For example, by early March, Matt and I will be arranging something for JGL that’s never been pulled off before. It’s a new thing, so I have no idea if it will end up being a totally awesome project or a complete bomb. Yes, this uncertainty leads to a certain fear:

What would they say? 

What if they say, “Sino ba itong feeling na ito!?”

What if they laugh at me? 

What if they ignore me? 

But I realize now that it is unwise to try to conquer this type of fear.

It is the same fear I felt when I professed my love to my eventual wife. The same fear I felt when I took my great startup leap. The same fear I feel when posting a truly meaningful blogpost. The same fear I feel when I share something I have poured my soul into.

If so, then I do not want it to go away. This fear will always be there whenever I do something truly worth my while. A signal of sorts, that I am onto something good.

Sales Tips: How to Overcome Your Fear of Rejection

I’m not a salesman, but I’ve sold many things.

At the age of 11, I sold cellphones at my uncle’s telecom store in Makati. When I worked for GK CSI, I sold everything from kamoteng kahoy, talong, and chicharon (no relation to Lapid’s 🙂 ).

Me purchasing kamoteng kahoy from Ate Maricel at GK Enchanted Farm
Me purchasing kamoteng kahoy from Ate Maricel at GK Enchanted Farm

For my first full-time job in the States, I sold consumer banking products. I was exposed to the world of cold calls and sales scripts. My personality wasn’t cut out for a “sales” job. Back then, pitching  for me was like pulling teeth.

However, a job in sales taught me many things. It taught me how to use assumptive language, and never to make assumptions about a person based on his/her appearance.

I also learned how to pitch the sale to ALL customers who met the basic criteria. In my banking stint, one of the most successful salesmen in the region was selling credit cards. He never failed to ask every customer that he encountered about applying for a credit card. He wasn’t scared to ask, and most importantly, he wasn’t scared to hear:


That fear of hearing no, the fear of rejection, is what cripples people. It’s that fear of rejection that bogged me down. That fear which made me tiptoe instead of pushing me to run. I cared so much about preserving my image that it hindered me from reaching my full potential as a salesman. Sure, there were days when I overcame this fear, but it wasn’t consistent. I lacked a strong sense of purpose in my work and it made it even harder for me to overcome my fear.

I’ve since learned that communicating with a sense of purpose in my work and life is a powerful tool. It enables  me to overcome my fears and move forward without dwelling on my past failures.

sales_trading_to_investment_bankingMy mission nowadays is clear – to contribute to national building in the Philippines by starting up a Philippine enterprise  to help myself while helping others. My sense of purpose gives me peace, and it can drive me to achieve highly improbable things, if I let it. While I still carry that fear and anxiety at times, my greater mission trumps the fear.

What are my sales tips, after all of these sales experiences and life realizations?

  • Embrace the power and significance of sales in your business. Without generating any sales, you’re not a business. As a result, it is very urgent that you sell.
  • Don’t feel guilty about selling. Selling is not a dirty thing. It’s a part of business. Remember, you are sharing value with your customer when you offer your product/service through a sale.
  • If you are confident in your mission, then continue to take that leap of faith everyday. In the end, we’re all flawed humans. If you compromise your mission and work because you’re trying to get everyone’s approval, it won’t happen.
  • If you possess a higher purpose that provokes you to think outside of yourself, then allow it to take over. You will speak with more confidence and move with conviction. The right people will gravitate towards that spirit that you exude.
  • Do not give in to the need to conform to the status quo. As an entrepreneur, you are a leader. As an innovator, you must distort the norm.