How is it that some people seem to glide through life fearlessly, while others are possessed by a relentless cloud of fear nagging at them throughout all of life?
I’ll let you in on a secret.
No one is fearless.
We’re all afraid at some point or another; we can’t get through life totally unafraid.
In fact, even those “fearless” people who look like they have no fear, have fear too.
Whether we coast through it or let it paralyze us, is determined by what we do with the fear we have.
In the workplace, fear can sneak up on us every day. Fear of speaking up in a meeting, fear of talking with a boss, fear of failing at a project, fear of a difficult customer, fear of hitting a goal, fear of presenting an idea, fear of not knowing something.
Handling fear is not easy, but it is simple.
It takes only two things: Massive Action + Positive Expectation
As soon as fear creeps in, which we’ve established will happen, the only way out is through. Action is really the only cure for fear. It is the brutal reality that most people avoid. If we can avoid confronting fear, most of us will. This is where most people go wrong. We cannot think our way out of fear. And no matter how much we want to go around it, we must go immediately and directly through it. We must take massive action in the direction of our fear.
Fear is simply our mind predicting the worst case scenario. Fear isn’t real, but our mind convinces us otherwise. We can’t believe everything our mind tells us. Our minds can even convince our body that fear is real in the form of physical symptoms such as sweating or shaking. So while the fearful thoughts and feelings are very real, the truth is that most of what we fear, never actually happens.
So the only way to diminish fear is to squash it with reality, as quickly as we can. Stop sitting around thinking about it, because it will just make that fear grow.
- If you are afraid of sounding stupid in a meeting, be the first one to speak that day.
- If you are due for a review with your boss and are nervous, get it on the calendar and take the earliest meeting appointment.
- If you are intimidated by a big goal, stop thinking about it, and submerge yourself in working intensely towards it.
- If you are scared of a follow up call with a tough customer, pick up the phone and make it the first call of the day.
ACTION CURES FEAR.
It is really that simple.
And as you take action, visualize the opposite of what your fear is telling you. Expect the best, visualize the most positive outcome possible, and choose a better feeling thought to guide your action.
The truth about fear is that it is not all bad. Fear is a sign of life and growth. How do we evolve? By doing things we’ve never done. By stretching ourselves to learn things we never knew. How do we level up at work and in life? By committing not to fearlessness, but to leaning into our fears. Because those super successful, fearless looking people are no different than any of us. They’re just moving into their fear too fast for it to be noticed. The more you grow, the more you experience fear. So when fear kicks in, smile, and know that you are rising up to the next level. And then jump.
About the Author — Brandi McGoldrick has been in leadership for two decades, with a focus primarily on women as they build their careers and grow into leaders. She started her career in sales and then expanded into training, sales management, sales support, new product development, and developed several multi-million dollar sales and customer fulfillment teams. She’s hired, trained, managed and mentored countless women into award winning leaders throughout her career. She is currently a freelance consultant, writer, and mentor to women in leadership. She lives in Kane County, IL with her husband and two children.