The REAL 4-Letter F-Word…
(Originally Posted October 24, 2013)
FEAR – Four little letters that have the power to…well… keep us from…everything!
Sure fear is sometimes useful, especially when our system kicks into Fight or Flight mode, when we perceive physical danger. But it also has the power to stop us in our tracks from achieving what we truly desire.
Fear can be so sneaky. It often disguises itself as practicality so we don’t even realize it’s there! For instance…
You may choose to not share an innovative idea with your boss. You might be new to the company and you tell yourself you don’t know the bigger picture, so it’s just common sense not to speak up. Rationalize all you want, but you’re not speaking up because of fear. Fear of having your boss tell you that you don’t have enough information to make these suggestions; that it’s a stupid idea; or that you’re too new to the company to have the ‘right’ perspective.
I must add, not allowing fear to stop you is very different from being ill-prepared or misinformed. But, if you have what YOU think is a fresh idea, and you’ve done your due-diligence and can back up the idea with why you think it would work and perhaps a strategic plan of implementation, then don’t let fear hold you back. And if you are not taking what you think is a ‘risk’ in your professional or personal life because you are afraid of looking stupid…well…it’s valid…but it’s the fear talking.
Fear can also be a positive catalyst for some of us. You may push yourself at work for fear of being called out on your accountability…or lack thereof. Many of us struggle with the fear of not being good enough so we work that much harder. Which is great…until it becomes detrimental to you, your work and your personal life.
So, how do we tame the ugly beast? How would it feel to take the power back? How can we give fear a new role? Would this help us to become fear-less? And what does being fearless even mean?
Fears can be big and small…you might be fearful that you’ll be late to work and your boss will catch you. However, you have control over this situation…leave earlier for work! Say you’re fearful that you’re going to lose your job? Well…let’s better understand the fear. Are you really fearful because you know you aren’t doing your job well? (not just your belief…has HR or your boss told you you were not measuring up?) Are you too fearful to ask for help? Are you fearful that asking for help is a sign of weakness and incompetence? Perhaps you fear you’re in a job you don’t deserve or can’t handle. So many fears, so many questions, so! See how this can get out of control? It’s exhausting!!
One way to take the power back is to see fear from a new perspective. What if FEAR meant:
F – Forward Movement and Fun
E – Engaged, Energized and Excited
A – Action Oriented
R – Real Rewarding Results
Just writing this down has taken some of the scary out of my own fears. But how do we apply this? When there is something you want, and you’re not moving forward for whatever reasons, go through these 4 FEAR FactorTM steps: Ask yourself…
1) F – What can I do today to move forward. And how can I make it fun?
2) E – How can I fully engage myself and others and get energized about my idea, job, life?
3) A – What action can I take today? Doesn’t have to be huge. Just do something!
4) R – How will I measure the results?
Don’t over-complicate this. It might be as simple as speaking up in a meeting with your idea. The result is that you pushed through the fear to share the idea. It doesn’t have to be bringing the idea to fruition. In truth, once you have people on board thinking it’s a good idea, the implementation itself isn’t usually wrapped in fear.
The BONUS ROUND of the FEAR Factor game is…ask yourself, ‘What’s the worst that can happen?‘ And answer truthfully. If I bring my idea to the meeting, I will be laughed at. Truthfully, how likely is that? On a scale of 1-10? When we begin to break it down, we realize that fear is running the show and oftentimes with no true merit.
You can apply this FEAR Factor to anything. It’s especially powerful when we are fearful of change. (And really…it’s usually all about change!!) What is it about the change that we are truly fearful? It could be the fear of the unknown, the fear of having to learn something new, the fear of failure. Shining a light on the fear is truly the first step to removing its power.
With Halloween approaching, we are afraid of the scary costumes, creepy movies, monsters in the dark, and ghastly ghouls and goblins, which can be a lot of fun. But if your fears are getting in the way of the (insert your word here…life, job, team, relationship) you want, then it’s time to face that darn F-Word and give it a swift kick in the M&M’s!
So…what are you afraid of?
Here’s to FEARLESSLY discovering your bliss!
Lesley Picchietti, CPC, ACC, ELI-MP
© Inspire Bliss Coaching and Consulting 2013
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Inspire Bliss Coaching and Consulting with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.