As I reach the mid-point of my second week at Projectus, one mantra sits clearly in my mind as the most pertinent piece of advice I am likely to receive in my professional career: “Good things happen when you speak to people.”
To some, or indeed many, picking up the phone to call someone is a frightening thought in this modern world of instant messaging and 24/7 connectivity. And that is just to call their mates. Now reframe this in a professional view, often calling complete strangers, and the task becomes infinitely more daunting.
However, like with most things that seem impossibly frightening upon first inspection, such as jumping out of a plane or getting up on stage to deliver a speech a deathly silent auditorium, the excitement of shattering your fears and the immense satisfaction of achievement completely washes away all the emotions you might have held so tightly just moments before.
It’s only scary once. You make the phone call, then sit back in your chair and think to yourself “why was that so terrifying?” and then you realise it wasn’t at all – you just made yourself believe it was. Once you’ve shed the fear of picking up the phone to a stranger, in a professional capacity or otherwise, you quickly see how liberating it is to imbue yourself with confidence, as opposed to finding it elsewhere.
You will then see just how much you can really get done. As I sit at my desk I look around and see not just my team, but a whole company of people willing to put embarrassment and fear aside for the willing of achieving their goals – and my word do they make things happen. No one gets anything done by waiting for the world to come to them, because the world won’t come to you.
Having spent the large part of my professional career in a tight-knit industry where familiarity is king, this approach to business has been by the far the biggest overhaul of my professional mindset. Now that I’ve started making calls and speaking to people who don’t know me, and often claim they don’t want to hear from a recruiter, it’s clear that what I thought would be my biggest hurdle was all in my head.
It takes courage to put yourself on the spot, trying to convince someone, who can’t see your face, of your trustworthiness and understanding of their business. Sincerity is, I believe, as much in the eyes as it is in the voice, so abandoning half your armoury in the search of rewards certainly requires bravery.
As I’ve been so often reminded, both by my team and by myself, it won’t come right away. Practise, of course, makes perfect – but we all start somewhere. In the short time that I’ve been let off the leash and made my first calls to professionals far more experienced than myself, I’ve fumbled and mumbled, crossed wires and made mistakes. This will definitely happen to you.
Another thing I have learned in all of this, is that confidence grows faster than bamboo, and after only a few calls, it all feels very natural. As I write this, sat alone in the office nearing 9 p.m. on a cold Tuesday night, I’m warmed by the thought that my last job before I pack up and leave will be to call a complete stranger on the other side of the world to let them what an incredible service Projectus can provide for their business.
Get on the phone and call someone, make something good happen. The only thing holding you back from it is yourself.