Fear and Learning on the Recruiting Trail

Redfish Team Thought Leadership, Stimulating Ideas, and Innovation Discussions


We recently watched and discussed Tim Ferriss’ 10 minute video on TED “Smash Fear, Learn Anything”. Quite an accomplished person, Ferriss started out life with a fear of water, was ‘terrible’ at learning languages, and at one point walked like the close cousin of an orangutan. So how did he become an excellent long-distance swimmer, a world-class language learner, and a tango champion?


As Ferriss puts it, he analyzes the material (or challenge) and deconstructs it. And importantly he asks himself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?”

Whether you apply this to a childhood fear, a professional block, a personal nemesis, a skill or situational challenge, this is good practice.


Another point made in this video is that fear is your friend, it can show you what you should be focusing on. Recruiting offers ample examples. Rob Reeves recounted that “When Leah started this job, she was nervous about everything, cold calling, overcoming objections, and negotiations.” These are precisely the challenges that needed to be addressed head on. “She’d be trembling but she never shied away from it. When things didn’t go well, she didn’t let it overcome her. She identified and analyzed the problem, and then took another, smarter shot at it. And now Leah is the team manager,” continued Reeves.


Fear is such a huge part of our lives, and many people navigate through life by avoiding those things they fear instead of envisioning the end goal. If we can analytically look at fear we can walk through it, instead of being unconsciously and emotionally steered by it.


Tory Thomas offers this advice for approaching challenges: “Take a step back, address the obstacle, and figure out how you can overcome it. Ask yourself what the worst things that can happen are. Typically these are outcomes that I haven’t thought about yet – so I think about as many possible scenarios and plan in advance.”

When Tory took this job she was nervous but she asked herself what was the worst that can happen? She declared “I can get back in my car and go home.” We are happy to report that all is well and Tory isn’t going anywhere!


Applying this type of approach has worked for Mike Curry both in his previous career as a professional hockey player for the East Coast Hockey League, and as a professional tech recruiter. “Limitations come from unproven assumptions. You must overcome fear and decide to go for it or you can create a self-fulfilling prophesy. I choose to go with the intention that I’m going to kick butt, and it generally works.”


Call us today! “What’s the worst that could happen?”


What do you think?
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Let us know your thoughts on these ideas, or suggest a topic for our next discussion!


About this post:

The recruiting team gathers weekly to consider and discuss various ideas that merit attention in business strategy, organizational behavior, and psychology. From thought leaders to innovative disruptors, these discussion stimulate new ideas that can be applied professionally and personally. We’d like to share what we are thinking about with you.

You can read related posts under the category stimulating ideas.


Discussion: Tim Ferriss’ Smash Fear, Learn Anything



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