"I have learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear." -- Nelson Mandela
I waited in the music room for the next parent/student to arrive. I had been teaching piano at this certain Music Academy for a couple of years, and was pleased at my roster of students. I had a pretty good group of students, a mixture of littles, teenagers, and adults that I saw over the course of three days. I was used to gleaning students through word-of-mouth, and parents calling to see if they could "get in" with me.
But this next client was a bit different. The mom was a high powered professional, and could afford the "best teacher", but wasn't sure that was me. She made it very clear that she and her daughter were coming to check me out, to see if I was good enough to be their teacher.
You see, if they didn't like me, not only would I not get the client, but I was pretty sure the Director of the Music Academy would hear about it and, yeah, that would be embarrassing. My track record was one of satisfied customers, so to speak, and to have someone reject me as a teacher? I definitely did not want that.
So, yes, I was a bit stressed. Looking back, I feel slightly foolish. I mean, it was just one client, and so what if she didn't like me?
But, at the time? Yeah, I was stressed. Actually, I was scared.
The night before the lesson, I was thinking constantly about all of the various details. What would I wear -- should I go for uber professional, or casual and approachable? What would I start with -- my philosophy of teaching or their philosophy of learning? Should I ask them what they were looking for in a teacher, or would that sound weak?
The questions, the concerns. Goodness, I was a wreck.
So, the next day, the lesson came, and about five minutes before they were to arrive, something shifted in me, and I suddenly had this picture in my mind of me just going for it. You know, acting like I was super confident. Approaching the client with the assumption that, of course, they would want me as their teacher.
Not being haughty, but being sure of myself. Or at least acting like it.
And, you know what? The moment I made that decision? Yep, you guessed it.
I was still scared. But, I did it anyway.
Oh, and I got the client.
You see, this client really responded well to my straightforward approach. The client liked the way that I acted confident in my philosophy of teaching. I don't think she necessarily even agreed with everything I said, but I believed in my skills as a teacher, and so she did too.
So, the next time you are afraid - whether it is trying to get that new client, or it is implementing that new policy, or it is attempting a different way of marketing -- do it anyway.
I'm guessing that you will do really, really well. Afraid or not, you've got this, my friend.