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Inner Self Confidence

by
Maureen Sharib
Mar 23, 2007

Most people hate the idea of rejection. It causes the phone to slip in their clammy hands as they break a cold sweat, a lump to appear in their throats that makes it hard to breathe yet alone speak, and a knot in their stomach appears that feels like it could come up at any second.

You know the feeling?

Nervous and confused, they make up any excuse in the kingdom to not do what it is they know they should do:

“It’s illegal.”

“It’s immoral.”

“It’s unethical.”

“It’s fattening.”

Though I would concur with the last statement (those long hours at a desk can be a real killer!), I absolutely explode when I hear the first three. These excuses have absolutely no relevance to our business. These excuses are just that, excuses why someone allows their own lack of inner confidence to block their path to success.

A little rough? Get over it. This is where the wheat gets separated out from the chaff. This is where the grown-ups take over from the namby-pambies, where all the difference in the world is made. This is where the value gets expressed over the relatively valueless.

Right here, right now, the winnowing begins.

Most people find the experience of phone sourcing so harrowing that they decide to “forget about it” just to end the discomfort. The heart rate descends, the breathing slows and the wild, darting eyes focus as they hang up the phone and lean back in their chairs, “happy” to have quit the race. To be blunt, most people give up before they even start. How “happy” can they be about quitting, really?

I’ve been there and know the feelings. All the scary scenarios have raced through my mind as I focused on what could go wrong. The suffering was so intense that sometimes I’d delay, or avoid altogether, calling into a company just to lessen my anxiety. I regret those lost moments and can still recall many of them, exquisitely painful as they are.

Then I started thinking about what could go right: they could give me the names, for which I would receive payment.

By focusing on the positive, I was able to overcome my initial fears and move through them. So approach it with the right attitude, and you will know within the first few seconds of the call.

In all the thousands and thousands of times I’ve called into companies for information, I have never, and I repeat never, been told, “Never call back in here again, you loser! You have no right to ask for the information you’re asking for, thief, and if you do, I’ll ….”

It just hasn’t happened and I don’t think it will, though I am reluctant to use the word “never.” (If it does, I’ll be sure to regale you with the delightful details, I promise!)

Take Control Over Your Own Mind

Don’t anticipate failure. Stop worrying. If you do get rejected, fine, think, “Next!” Go on to the next target, and the next, and the next. At some of these, you’re going to experience success. Think of it as a game of dominos; the better you get at it the more confidence you’ll gain and the thing feeds on itself.

Can’t you see this?

“An intense anticipation itself transforms possibility into reality; our desires being often but precursors of the things which we are capable of performing.” – Samuel Smiles

Look what we transform rejection into here in our discussions everyday; it’s laughable. It makes for great stories; it makes us interesting cocktail-party guests; and it drives the value of our stock up!

Give me some more of it! It’s what drives my creativity, and it’s part of why you’re reading this right now!

The real question is, “How do I deal with my fear?” Fear is the real culprit here, as fear is what hijacks our success. Fear is imaginary and if you can overcome it, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a great telephone sourcer. Some of the reasons that rejection occurs includes:

  1. You’re not paying attention to what you’re doing. Your delivery is scattered or long-winded; and/or you sound like you’re “up to something”.
  2. You’re being presumptuous. Avoid starting with, “Hiya, how ya feelin’ today?” like she’s some long-lost friend.
  3. You push too hard. You don’t stop when you should; you ignore her rising concern; and/or you’re just generally unpleasant to deal with. (At this, the gatekeeper disconnects and laughs. It’s the ultimate in mortification. Or it should be.)

When you first start talking to that gatekeeper, she’s either going to talk to you in an open, comfortable way or she’s not. She’s either going to act cool or she’s not. She may be nervous too, since she may not know the answer to your question! Ever think of that? Help her when this happens. You won’t know when she’s nervous if you’re not paying attention. Paying attention means being focused in the moment. Do you know how to do that?

If you avoid the few major mistakes above and learn how to become aware in the space around you, you’ll avoid rejection. It’s really very simple, but let’s go back to the real burglar in the night here: our fear.

How do we remove this thieving monster from our psyches? Here are a few ideas for overcoming your own fear of rejection:

  1. Pick up the phone and make that call. The more you make, the more success you’re going to encounter. It’s a process, not an event. Take it from me, if you avoid those three tragic mistakes above, you’ll do just fine.
  2. Start small. Talk to people who are paid to talk to you. Customer service reps are paid to help. If you want to avoid that ungainly gatekeeper, ask for customer service. You’ll usually be whisked to some happy-to-help friendly individual who is paid to accommodate you.
  3. Have your ducks in a row when you make that first call. Have a few “names in” when that gatekeeper lies to you and tells you, “You need a name.” They’re all over the place these days, so there’s no excuse not to be prepared.

Learn to recognize when a gatekeeper isn’t going to play ball with you. Forget it. It doesn’t matter, so move on. There are plenty others who will.

“Next!”

This article is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to offer specific legal advice. You should consult your legal counsel regarding any threatened or pending litigation.

  1. Robert Dromgoole

    When you believe in something that passionately, it’s nice to see you come out swingin’. I’m sure that article will generate hundreds of responses. You’re like the Ann Coulter of Sourcing, your book can be titled, ‘Shut Up and Source!’

  2. Barb Ling

    WARNING! The following is my opinions and my opinions only. I have great respect for both Maureen and Karen in their respective niches within the industry.

    That being said:

    Maureen writes:

    ——-
    Most people hate the idea of rejection. It causes the phone to slip in their clammy hands as they break a cold sweat, a lump to appear in their throats that makes it hard to breathe yet alone speak, and a knot in their stomach appears that feels like it could come up at any second.

    >>> NOTE – the topic being dealt with is ‘rejection.’ The cause of this rejection is not the focus. The topic is, rejection.< <<<

    Nervous and confused, they make up any excuse in the kingdom to not do what it is they know they should do:

    'It's illegal.'
    'It's immoral.'
    'It's unethical.'
    'It's fattening.'
    ....

    NOTE. She doesn't say, sourcing is unethical or recruiting is unethical or calling into companies is unethical or chatting with the gatekeeper is unethical or .....

    She's talking about excuses for rejection.
    -------------------

    Karen then responds,

    It appears that you are saying because people who PREFER to believe in Ethics and abiding with the law are using it as an Excuse instead of recruiting because of a fear or rejection?
    Or are you saying that because a person HAS a fear or rejection that they USE Not behaving in an illegal, immoral or unethical as an Excuse?
    ---------------

    My response: Where on earth did that statement, people who prefer to believe in ethics, arise, within what Maureen wrote? Where? Point it out to me, I am curious. I have been searching and cannot find it.

    NOTE! This is the one thing guaranteed to frost my petunias - putting interpretations upon words that were never meant in the first place. I mean I really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really
    hate that. My gosh, I hate that. Oh how I hate that. You see, I'm lousy at corporate politics, and that's a standard trick of the trade and no, I'm not saying that either person is engaging in corporate politics right now! But! I just cannot whatsoever stand insinuations.

    Please peoples - deal with what is written.

    Next, Karen writes:

    Then you mention that Ethics and Law 'have absolutely no relevance to OUR business.' and are Excuses...

    Pardon me, but Maureen wrote,

    --------------
    'It's illegal.'
    'It's immoral.'
    'It's unethical.'
    'It's fattening.'

    Though I would concur with the last statement (those long hours at a desk can be a real killer!), I absolutely explode when I hear the first three. These excuses have absolutely no relevance to our business. These excuses are just that, excuses why someone allows their own lack of inner confidence to block their path to success.
    -----------------

    Maureen is talking about *excuses*. The whole focus of her article was 'getting over the fear of rejection.'

    Get that? Fear of REJECTION.

    Certainly, Karen could have said, it appears to me, Maureen, that you are saying that concerns regarding illegal, immoral, unethical or fattening issues are not important in this industry. Is that what you mean? If so, allow me to disagree by.....

    But saying

    '...Then you mention that Ethics and Law 'have absolutely no relevance to OUR business.' and are Excuses..'

    is again, insinuation. Read what Maureen wrote. She didn't say that. And it's extremely unprofessional to join someone's words together and then put own's own interpretation on them.

    As a 3rd party observer, I see a very disturbing trend happening in the phone sourcing realm. 'Ethics', by its very definition, is subjective. What might be ethical to me might be abhorrant to you. But who am I to force my beliefs upon you?

    Not only that, however....by saying that Maureen 'mentions that Ethics and Law 'have absolutely no relevance to our business.' and are Excuses..', it's basically being said that Maureen's training is unethical (because, of course, she teaches what is relevant to being a successful phone sourcer). How's that for an interpretation that's 100% incorrect?

    Good Lord. How on *earth* can someone, a fellow professional in the recruiting industry, imply that? That's is utterly astounding. Beyond belief. Extremely petunia-frosting!

    Now, legal things, of course, have the letter of the law to which you can refer. That's a weeeee bit different. That can be researched and etched into concrete until someone with enough money pays enough lawyers to demolish said concrete and chisel out a new slab (yes, I'm quite pessimistic regarding how some of our legal happenings, well, happen, but hey, that's me).

    We are all judged by what we write. We're also judged by how we respond. Our patterns of logic are followed by our readers...and if we choose to insinuate and change our colleagues' words just to make our own points.... don't think it's ignored by those who value our training abilities.

    'Nuff said,

    Barbara Ling
    Become The Recruiter Of Choice!
    http://www.risetrends.com

  3. Rob McIntosh

    Maybe I am just a dumb Australian and can’t see the obvious here with the long draw out responses people seem obligated to make whenever the subject of telephone research/sourcing comes up.

    I think we all understand that every profession (even Priests) in the world are subject to a group of individuals that cross the legal, ethical and moral boundaries.

    So if we all agree on that point, why is it that I constantly see Telephone Research/sourcing articles, forums and blog posts riddled with and personal jibes, rants and posts making this profession guilty on all counts?

    People, people, people….This is a forum where everyone should feel comfortable having an opinion and discussing openly without fear of retribution and prosecution every time the word ‘phone sourcer’ is used in a sentence.

    Either go away some place else or be constructive please.

    A very disappointed long time ERE member :-(

  4. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    Okay, Barbara and Rob,

    But with respect to you as well? when those words are implemented in the first part of a paragraph, and then ? Nervous and confused, they make up any excuse in the kingdom to not do what it is they know they should do: ‘It’s illegal.’ ‘It’s immoral.’ ‘It’s unethical.’ ‘It’s fattening.’?

    Then continues to say ?These excuses have absolutely no relevance to our business. These excuses are just that, excuses why someone allows their own lack of inner confidence to block their path to success? and later states This is where the value gets expressed over the relatively valueless.

    So, It is easy to understand how one will quickly jump to a conclusion ? valid or not, that the author may perceive that a person who uses these Particular ?excuses? to Not recruit.. and to also make the Connection that since the Words It?s illegal, It?s immoral, ? are considered not to have relevance in our business that the two are tied together.

    Just like you jumped to the conclusion that Maureen?s teaching was/is unethical, especially since the word Teaching/training was never mentioned, so no, I don?t think that was 100 Percent correct either as an interpretation of my own comments

    Now, I mentioned it Appears that you are saying.. and asked with a question mark, which therefore is a question, not an accusation, which allows someone to clarify the Conception or misconception.

    Rob, my comments were not about sourcing.. which is part of this job, but about the perception that I gained from the comments above..

    What I have concern with is that when the word ethics is ever mentioned it becomes party to OMG there we go with ethics again..

    There may be a bit of misunderstanding, but based upon what I read, and how I interpreted it, especially since THOSE particular terms were used and Suggested to be considered as Excuses for not doing ones job..

    So, maybe or maybe not, there seems to be quite a bit of misinterpretation going on here.. don?t you think?

    No, I don?t or didn?t say that Maureen was unethical, nor her training was unethical, but what I responded to was an article, and what I Personally perceived from that Particular article.

    Karen

  5. Barb Ling

  6. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    On this part you are correct, and I should have been more clearer in my response.. ‘it’s basically being said that Maureen’s training is unethical (because, of course, she teaches what is relevant to being a successful phone sourcer). ‘

    So, when you wrote that, then are you not assuming that I was suggesting that Maureen’s training was unethical? as I didn’t mention anything about Maureen’s training, anywhere..

    Again, I will say, that my view that was posted was about this Article. Not about Maureen, Not about Sourcing, but what I personally perceived as the meaning of this article.

    This is and was not meant to be a personal attack on anyone. So, why was/is it being taken as such?

    Now, after discussing this with Maureen, she has assured me that the article was not written in the context as it was taken. Granted, but again, let’s stress something here..

    This was an interpretation of an article.. Not once was anything personal said against anyone and I feel as though my comments are also taken out of context, and assumptions are also being made.

    So, in retrospect.. let’s move on.

  7. Amybeth Hale

    Maureen, I like what you have to write. Dealing with fear is something we all face, whether it be picking up the phone, asking someone out, speaking in front of a group, or just reaching out in kindness to another human being. Your article title ‘Inner Self Confidence’ I think sums it up; whatever your fear is, know that you are human just like everyone else, and that you have something inside of you to offer that is good. Whether or not the other person/people choose to accept what you have to offer is not in your hands, but making that first move is. Not anticipating failure, knowing even if the resulting situation is not the one you wanted that it is still a learning experience, will shrink any fear. The human mind is an amazing thing; if you think success, you will have it! Recognizing that, for me at least, helped me get over my fear of what other think about me.
    Thanks for posting this!

    Amybeth (with a pie in the sky)

  8. Karen Mattonen C.A.C., C.S.P

    It appears that you are saying because people who PREFER to believe in Ethics and abiding with the law are using it as an Excuse instead of recruiting because of a fear or rejection?
    Or are you saying that because a person HAS a fear or rejection that they USE Not behaving in an illegal, immoral or unethical as an Excuse?

    Wow!!! Which ever way one looks at this, it seems quite a stretch? Considering that many of the people who have concerns about DOING this job, within ethical and legal boundaries, have been DOING this job, and doing it well for Decades.. As Bill Vick will tell you, the Majority of Big Billers (if not all) are strong believers for abiding to these practices.

    Then you mention that Ethics and Law ‘have absolutely no relevance to OUR business.’ and are Excuses..
    WOW !!! What makes us so special! — Must remember this if ever I get in front of a Judge.. ?You see, I read on this article that ethics and Laws have no relevance in my business, that we were immune to it.. see, I just was doing what everyone else was doing?
    That is as funny as when the guy said, but why was I busted, everyone else was speeding..

    Can you imagine if the Food industry the guys who prepared your food had that attitude, or the next time you got on a plane if the airline industry, or the mechanic who you sent your car to, to get your breaks fixed all had that attitude.. or even the Architect and General contractor were to say — Heck with the laws man, who cares if the office building caves in, it?s not my problem.. it is all business, and I was just trying to save money for the Share holders.. it was worth my ROI ? laws don?t have a place in my business..

    Somehow it appears that individuals feel Threatened when the Words Ethics and Law come to play. Some say that these words create fears, challenge people, intimidate.. even though they make up quite a bit of what we do every day– IT IS H.R Folks –

    But so is abiding to the laws of the road. We all learned the rules (laws of the Road) but yet drive everyday to and from work.

    Discussing, abiding and working within the premises of the Ethics and Laws isn?t about Fear.. It is about RESPECT, and not ONLY for oneself. It is common sense, it is

    What makes this industry so arrogant that we think that we are All above the law.. Geez, this industry reminds me of the wild, wild west.. And dang if there aren?t a couple of Jesse James amongst us.

    I will close with – One Can do this job Well, no, not just Well, but extremely well (just like the big billers who do) and I will even go out on a limb here and say even BETTER by being aware of the Ethics and Laws every time you make your call..

    Think of awareness like the headlights on your car ? they just help you see better!

    Sorry, I didn?t get too much into the article, as this really got me from the start.. it is a pity you started with those words..

    Regarding recruiting for candidates, just pick up the 10 thousand pound phone and ask to speak to the people you want to speak to.. it really is that easy, after you do it a couple of times.. it is just getting through the first couple of calls that is the hardest..

    One suggestion.. start with the easiest calls first, the ones you don?t really care as much about and then work your way up.. after a while you will find it gets better.

    Then you mention that Ethics and Law ‘have absolutely no relevance to our business.’ and are Excuses..

    WOW !!! What makes us so special!

    Maureen, our industry was created on the foundation to help others.. to be a benefit to people.. It is and should be an upstanding profession..

    Somehow it appears that individuals feel Threatened when the Words Ethics and Law come to play (even though they make up quite a bit of what we do — IT IS H>R Folks

    Discussing, abiding and working within the premises of the Ethics and Laws isnt about Fear.. It is about RESPECT, and not ONLY for oneself.

    I will close with – One Can do this job Well, no, not just Well, but extremely well (know many big billers who do) and I will even go out on a limb here and say even BETTER by being aware of the Ethics and Laws every time you make your call..

    Karen Mattonen, an Ethical Recruiter and Proud of it..

  9. Bill Wager

    There are some other posts. posts that do not deal with ethics and rusing, that are actually interesting and, have some relevance to what it is we do.
    So, I suggest that we start a thread called ‘What really killed Anna Nicole?’ to provide an outlet for all this energy.

  10. Ted Moore

    ‘If you’re explaining, you’re losing.’

    -Congressman JC Watts

    Careful reflection on all the conversations I have had with the clients I have served since 1984 (a relatively small and scientifically invalid sample, admittedly) reveals that 0% (zero percent) ever asked how I found the candidates they interviewed and hired.

    If I’m ever caught running from a bank with a loaded pistol and a bag of ink-marked $100′s, there’s a lawyer I can call who’d convince the jury the real thief had shoved both into my hands while frantically exiting the bank after the alarm went off and that I had been chasing him when the officer tackled me.

    You get the point, right?

    From a previous post, I know others have clients that think differently about this. One forum member, for example, said that he had been asked how he sourced candidates to assure his firm was not placing ads because, the client pointed out, ‘We can do that ourselves’. Fine. You should care about what matters to your customers.

    And not, I would argue, about what doesn’t.

  11. Dawn Mular

    I like your no nonsense value! Sort of a ‘feel the fear and do it anyway’ message that I know is more than just casual advise, that you are a person who has lived that value!

    You rock, Maureen!
    Dawn
    http://linkedin.com/in/dmular

  12. Cancel Cancel

    Maureen, I couldn’t agree more – fear often holds all of us back from achieving what we’re truly capable of. To take it one step further, it’s actually the mind that works against us in many cases.

    For example, if you talk to someone that comes from very humble beginnings, they don’t immediately believe that going to Harvard is a legitimate possibility for them. Or, more practically speaking, they don’t believe they’ll ever *afford* a Mercedes Benz. Sociologically speaking, it’s extremely improbable to jump more than one social class in one generation (or a given lifetime). This is as much due to the mind as it is to being socio-economically depressed (meaning relative to average household income, etc.) You have to believe you can ‘win’ (or, in your article’s case, ‘overcome’) in your heart.

    In the Marine infantry, Army Rangers, Navy SEALS, etc., you often hear the expression, ‘Pain is nothing but weakness leaving the body.’ This is absolutely true, but to take it one step further, pain (or, in your article’s case, fear/apprehension) is nothing but weakness leaving the mind. The trick is that you have to confront your fears and actually pick up the phone. You have to jump in the pool and try to swim if you’re afraid of water.

    Likewise, if you’re afraid of heights, I’d recommend skydiving with a pro-wrestler on board to throw you off the plane when you reach the desired altitude. Ok, maybe I wouldn’t go that far but you get the point!

    Great article. Keep up the good work.

  13. David Rees

    One of the most interesting parts of the book ‘First Break All the Rules’ is where author Marcus Buckingham discusses Sales people and success.

    His point in that part of the book is that, contrary to popular belief, success is not the opposite of failure (at least not in execution).

    The Gallup Organization found that both highly successful and highly unsuccessful sales people shared one trait – fear of the phone. The fear came from the belief that they would put their best foot forward, present ‘themselves’ and then be rejected and take it very personally. The difference was that the successful people found a way to work through the fear and make the calls anyway.

    Even more interesting – the average sales people did not have fear of the phone as they did not pour themselves into their sales calls so if they were rejected, it was impersonal to them. They continued on, making less personal calls, finding some level of success, but seemingly lacking that quality that allowed the great people to really connect with thier customers.

    For myself, I developed a belief at a younger age that no matter how afraid I was of something, I was going to be much more afraid of living in fear and letting it keep me from doing what I wanted to do in life. So when I got into recruiting, I gravitated towards a job that was more focused on cold calling and direct sourcing because I figured – thats a little scary and if I can do that, I can do anything in the business.

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