What’s the Worst Thing that Could Happen?

The Toaster – still going strong since 2004

The remote lock for the driver’s side door on my trusty 2004 Scion (aka “the Toaster”) stopped working last week. This was the 3rd lock to fail on me. Both locks for the rear doors had already stopped working last year.

Until my driver’s door lock failed, I applied the following Ainslie auto repair logic:

“Nobody rides in the back except for Snickers, so I can lock & unlock the doors manually.” 

“The Toaster is worth just a few thousand bucks. I’m not paying $300 per door to fix the locks”.

But when my driver’s side door wouldn’t lock & unlock, I knew I had to do something. 


Googling revealed that lock failure in old Scion’s is common. Fortunately, my googling also uncovered a 5 minute video on how to repair this using a “third-party” part. The video said doing it yourself would be much cheaper than having an auto shop do it.

How much cheaper? …. $14 plus my labor for all 3 doors.

That was a savings of $886 vs. paying a mechanic to fix them. So despite having never attempted an auto repair in my life, I decided to give it a shot.

Mid-repair shot. I am proud I was able to reassemble it.

$14 bucks and 3 hours later I had successfully repaired all three locks.

I’m not telling you this story just to brag about how proud I am of myself.*

I’m telling this story because it got me thinking about the limitations that we put on ourselves as sales reps and managers. We tell ourselves:

  • I’ll never be #1 in sales.
  • I hate public speaking.
  • I suck at prospecting (or closing).
  • I don’t know how to coach my reps (or fire them, or mentor them).
  • I’m not good with technology (or people, or Enterprise, or SMB)

When at the heart of it, most of us are just afraid:

  • I’ve never done this before.
  • I’ll make a mistake.
  • I’ll be embarrassed.
  • I’ll screw it up.
  • I’ll lose everything I worked for. 

How to Escape this Trap.

Ask yourself one question: What’s the worst thing that could happen?

Then, come up with a contingency plan for dealing with it.

Then take action.

If you are still hesitant to take action,

Ask yourself a 2nd question: What’s the best thing that could happen?

Now take action.


Real-life examples.


When I decided to attempt fixing my locks, I said to my wife,

“If I really screw this up, I’m out $14 and I’ll have to pay a mechanic to do it. I’m willing to give it a shot since the video looks so easy. Plus, the worst that happens is I end up with locks that don;t work – which is what I have today.”*


When I launched my blog:

“The worst thing that happens is a write a bunch of posts that nobody reads. But even if that happens, I’ll at least have learned how to blog and maybe will improve my writing skills”


When I decided to turn Inside Sales Dude into a full-time consulting business:

“If I end up not being able to make a living because I cannot find enough business, I can always shut it down and get a job.”


When I left a good job in Florida to relocate to Raleigh for a better opportunity:

“If it doesn’t work out, I’ll be in Raleigh, which is a hot startup market. I can always find another position there.”  


Not all of my “worst thing” and “best thing” predictions turned out to be correct.

Neither will yours.

But it doesn’t really matter.

What matters is that you made a decision, moved forward and will have learned something in the process.

Even more, you will have developed resilience and confidence in you ability to take on new challenges.

And that my friends, is the real point of the story.


*Having been down this road of DIY home improvements before, I also told Ellen, “… if I am able to fix these locks myself, I’ll be so proud of myself, it will have been worth the effort.”  I was right.


Need help building sales? Contact me here.  


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