We have been working with an extraordinary executive who is powerful, thoughtful, effective, focused and afraid.
“What?” . . . you may ask, “how do those five words end up in the same sentence?”
Fear is a central part of the survival mechanism the brain has used to keep us safe since the dawn of time. We feel fear quickly and intensely because from the perspective of evolution, it is what kept us alive.
Like the rest of us, most powerful, thoughtful, effective and focused executives don’t like it that they get afraid so their tendency is to push the fear away and pretend it’s not there. And, for a while that works. But the box-it-up approach to fear has a problematic element to it. If we don’t know that we are afraid, then we don’t have the awareness of how that fear can get in our way. It is important to become aware of fear and how it can get in your way so that you can take action that honors the fear and still let’s you move forward with purpose.
In understanding how fear influences the way you move in the world, you can ask yourself a series of questions that we teach people in our Inspired Leadership Blueprint©, Leader in You© Training seminars. We have found that people are more powerful in their work and their lives if they know what is going on inside of them, understand how it influences their behavior, and then choose how to act.
The next time you are in, or going into, a situation that makes you fearful – such as a discussion with your boss, giving performance feedback to your staff, challenging a pattern in your relationship, setting limits on your child’s behavior – ask yourself these questions:
What am I afraid of in this situation?
What do I do when I feel that?
What would I do if I felt safe?
It changes the game when you know what is shaking you, when you are ready for your reaction and you choose to behave the ways that you would behave if you felt safe and confident.