I have a belief that I don’t like cold calling and I envy people who have a knack for it, or at least I thought. This past Monday I was teaching my students at the college about emotional triggers and unproductive actions we take to deal with these feelings and associated thoughts. Well, in redoing my to-do list yesterday I realized that a Director of a large non-profit in my area was on my list to cold call. I have been doing a lot of work in non-profits lately and think my skill-set would potentially be helpful to their organizational culture. This particular name kept on getting onto my to-do list over and over again. I had a realization that there was procrastination alive and well in this facet of my life. So it became a great way to leverage this self-learning with the learning of my students.
So, in a stroke of self-proclaimed genius I decided to hold myself accountable in front of the class for the very thing I have been teaching them about. When class started yesterday I began by telling them of my personal find and went on to explore some reasons why procrastination happens. What could happen if I cold call? I could get rejected. What could it mean to me if I get rejected? It could mean that I am seen as less than, nothing special, worthless in the eyes of others. This is certainly a possibility I conceded but what is the big deal if people think of me in this way? Answer? Sometimes I think of myself in this way. Sometimes there is a belief that shows up that I am less than, incompetent, dumb, etc., and who wants that belief confirmed by others? See there is a deeper psychology to why we take the actions that we take in life and I was able to identify one of mine, in the presence of my class. And no wonder procrastination is present. It is doing its perfect job to keep us emotionally safe.
After we dialogued about the above root cause I asked them if they wanted me to call this Director in front of them, in essence to cold call and face my procrastination right before their eyes. They all said a gleeful yes! and many reported being nervous for me. I modeled for them that I was breathing deeply to remain calm and focused on my desire to do my best on the call and let go of nervousness and attachment to any outcome. By being in a calm, yet excited state of mind I gave myself a good leg up. I then told them to be as quiet as to hear a pin drop and then I dialed the digits and put the phone on speaker. When I actually got the Director on the line, I found that after I introduced myself he actually remembered me from a brief chance meeting a year or so ago. He also remembered that I have a daughter. This put us on a human level right off the bat. The call ended up going extremely well and I was invited to send him an email regarding my services by the end of the week, which I will do and then follow up.
When I hung up the phone everyone burst into applause, the room was electric. I did a little victory dance and we all shared some glee. We then debriefed about the experience; that is what people learned from the exchange. This led to really amazing comments about how others felt more empowered to face their own fears, excitement that I received a favorable outcome and uncertainty if some of them could pull it off themselves. It was great, and it was extremely good cross-over, conquering my own fear in that moment and having them learn how to do it themselves.
The best part about this story though is the postscript. After I left the college I went to a local coffee shop and who was there? Lo and behold the same Director! I shook his hand and thanked him for the call, we exchanged pleasantries and I told him that I would have an email to him by Friday. It’s almost as if my alignment with my goals and desires to build my business and spread the love in organizations was answered by the universe. Whether or not I get a ‘job’ at this agency is beside the point. It will be nice if it happens, but I am not attached to an outcome.
And the moral of the story? Cold calling doesn’t seem so cold after all.