Yesterday I judged a speech contest at the Tennyson Center for Children, a treatment center for abused and neglected children. Thirteen kids, ages 8 to 14, delivered speeches on topics ranging from how to interpret dreams to the dangers of alcohol to the importance of volunteering. To say the experience was moving is like saying the Sears Tower is tall.

After the kids all finished, I congratulated them on their research, their preparation and most importantly, their courage. From their voices and body language, it was obvious that—standing up there and speaking to a room full of adults—they were scared. But they did it anyway.

It reminded me how important courage is in sales as well. Prospecting, delivering presentations, closing, asking for referrals all can be scary. We fear rejection, failure and being perceived negatively. But the salespeople and professionals who succeed do those things anyway.

How do you overcome those fears? By learning all you can about sales. By figuring out where those fears stem from. And by doing what scares you, again and again.

Hey, if a kid with a history of abuse that would break your heart can do it, what’s our excuse?

To learn more about the Tennyson Center for Children and support the amazing work they do, click either link to visit their web site.