Intimidation is why most people avoid pursuing others they want to meet. In the quest for sales this would mean C-levels and top decision makers. Sure there are those that storm the C-Suite only to be thrown back like undersized fish. These rouges are not intimidated, but they’re not too smart either. Senior executives are a well protected and scary bunch. To win them over, one must have a confident resolve and a strategy to sail into their waters. Intimidation is an anchor.

Intimidation stems from the self doubt one feels about his or her ability or worthiness to interact with someone powerful. For example; you’re intimidated by the bully because you doubt your ability to protect yourself or defeat him. Now if someone is big or has a weapon, then you have good reason to be intimidated. However, the intimidation felt when thinking of networking to a high level decision maker is a conditioned response you learned early in life.

Self-doubt is negative baggage packed for us in childhood. We were taught in one way or another to fear powerful people - authority figures, teachers, police, etc. because they had the power to punish us. Unfortunately this anxiety endured into adulthood and unless one makes a conscious effort to change the conditioning, s/he will always be intimidated with the thought of approaching senior executives, government officials or others that could have the power to say no to what you want. But unless you get to these top people, you are leaving your selling in the hands of someone else – very risky.

To free ourselves or recondition ourselves from intimidation we must catch it, then check it, and if appropriate change it as a well known psychologist teaches. Catch the fear or feel of intimidation. Check whether it’s appropriate. If he’s got a gun, it’s appropriate. If he’s a high level executive, it’s not. Finally, if it’s not appropriate, you need to change how you react. Unfortunately, changing reactions programmed into you for decades is not easy. So let me give you some insights of how you developed them, and how you unconsciously carry them, and some tips on how to recondition your responses.

There are three elements within that control us – our child, our parent and our spirit. I call this our trinity. (No, this is not “I’m OK, You’re OK” stuff for the baby boomers.) Our inner child controls feelings – fear or intimidation in this case. There is no judgment or thinking. It’s pure reaction just like any child. Our inner parent controls our thoughts and actions. It’s our director. It tells us what we should do, how we should react, how we ‘should’ feel. It can be abusive or nurturing. For example, our child is saying, “I want to play and be happy,” yet our inner parent is saying, “You should be working.” If you’re a workaholic, your inner parent is abusive. If you have a good balance it’s nurturing. You’re child will let you know if there is balance. Anger, depression, sadness means the inner child is acting-out because the inner parent is being harsh and not loving. How your parent directs you has been programmed into your being from your real parents and other influencing people that raised you – teachers, coaches, etc. This program controls you forever, or until you, as an adult, take actions to modify it.

Your spirit is the enabler. It coordinates your thoughts, muscles and other bodily functions to accomplish the task directed by your inner parent. Using our intimidation example, the need to get-to and set-up a meeting with a CEO is presented. The inner child reacts with anxiety - fear. The inner parent is saying, “This can’t be good, stay away, you’re not worthy, there is harm in this.” The spirit is causing an adrenalin surge. Your arm pits start sweating. You start coming up with rationalizations why meeting this CEO is not a good idea, and you pursue other diversionary actions. Your spirit is arming you with survival ideas and maneuvers.

Now to change this intimidation or self-doubt, we must catch it, “I’m not feeling good about this meeting.” Then check it, “How come?” Recognize this feeling as the negative talk you heard from your parents during your upbringing. It has become the burnt-in program our inner parent is using to direct us. As an adult, you know there is no reason for fear. The CEO may be busy or hard to see, but this is nothing to fear. You can handle these realities. Finally, you appeal to your spirit, “Help me overcome this unjustified intimidation.” Use you spirit to positively visualize, “This CEO really wants to see me. How can I fit into his schedule?” Then wait and listen. Your spirit (or whatever you want to call it) will send answers and ideas. But I repeat. You have to wait and listen. Your spirit is an idea generator. If you let it work it will provide the guidance you ask for. However, if you don’t ask, it will only work your existing program.

Therefore, to overcome the self-doubt and feelings that stymie your self worth, you must re-direct your inner parent. The spirit within you will give the ideas, energy and direction to change your program, but you have to ask and you have to listen. You don’t deserve to carry the negative messages from childhood that hold you back. On the positive side, realize and appreciate and reinforce the good programming that got you where you are. However, if you want more or feel discontent, you have to rally your spirit for the inspiration and motivation to make the changes you want to happen. If you do, you will quickly get the feedback on how to understand the sources of discontent, i.e. intimidation and/or self-doubt, and the guidance to change them.

Do this and you’ll always feel you belong with senior executives, powerful people,, or anyone you’d like to be with. You’ll feel confident you can hold your own with everyone.

Common Situation

Reluctant to Network Up to Key Decision Makers

You’re asked to meet with others in your clients’ or prospects’ organizations. You really don’t want to. You feel it doesn’t matter - the bosses are not involved with the decision. You feel it’s not your job, or you feel intimidated, or you feel they only want to interface with your bosses. You rationalize to your boss and others why you can’t get higher. Bottom line, you’re just not comfortable and you just don’t want to do it.

Resulting Problem

You Lose Control or the Sale

Self-doubt will block you from getting to the right people, which will impede getting the critical decision criteria about the sale and winning over the ultimate decision maker. You stay stuck with your main contact. You’re reticent to ask the questions that need to be asked and see the people that need to be seen.

Check Yourself

Score: 4=Always; 3=Most Times; 2=Usually; 1=Sometimes; 0=Never.
1. You take care of yourself, eat healthy, exercise, recreate with family? ____
2. You work hard, but still have time for yourself? ____
3. You feel you’ve gone as far as you can, or you put yourself down? ____
4. You hear negative voices spouting limitations and fears about your capabilities, status or future. ____
Scoring: 1 + 2 – 3 – 4 = ?

Positive is good; Negative means you’re limiting your happiness and success.

And now I invite you to learn more.

Discover 7 more strategies for building self esteem and conquering intimidation plus actions for you to be comfortable Tak’n them to Streets in this Problem Solving E-Book: Conquer Executive Intimidation . Learn what to do, how to do it and how to feel comfortable doing it.

BONUS TIP: Grab your < a href =>FREE BONUS E-Book – “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”

Discover 7 more strategies for building self esteem and conquering intimidation plus actions for you to be comfortable Tak’n them to Streets in this Problem Solving E-Book: Conquer Executive Intimidation . Learn what to do, how to do it and how to feel comfortable doing it.

BONUS TIP: Grab your FREE BONUS E-Book – “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers” at

Author's Bio: 

Sam has put together his unique “Take’n It to the Streets” actions for you to feel you belong with any level or executive. Just click this link Elevate Yourself to the C-Level NOW 10 Strategies, Tactics and Techniques plus narratives and an example to show you how.