Fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of being wrong – these are just a few of the fears we face as leaders. It starts with acknowledging the fear. Once you know your default fear setting you can work with it. In other words, when faced with a major decision consider asking ‘what am I afraid of?’ This helps name the undesired outcome. Even better, consider writing down the fear. This process allows you to analyze the fear and begin to move forward.
When leaders share their worries with me it is often a sign that they are afraid. The goal is to not remove the fear, but rather to move forward in the midst of the fear. This is called courage. Courage comes in many flavors and attributes. Encourage means to ‘fill up with courage or make strong.’ Encouragement comes from the outside. Courage comes from the inside. Both are great remedies against the symptoms of fear.
Fear will show up uninvited and unexpected. The goal is to not remove the fear. Consider fear a companion. Your relationship with fear will need to be examined throughout your career. For me, anxiety is what permeates, and it is a sign that my fear of failure is emerging. As I evaluate the frequency of failure, I have realized that very seldom does something as catastrophic as failure actually occur. We can recover from the majority of the mistakes we make.
What is your relationship with fear like? Where do you find courage? Who are the people that encourage you as a leader?