Fear is a deep-seated and natural human emotion. Indeed rational fear helps us make sound decisions and even helps keep us alive. But less primal/survival fears are learned as we grow and experience life. It’s these less rational fears that can stall or even derail our professional growth and career trajectory. Fear of failure, of being wrong, of not being good enough, of being taken advantage of and even fear of success can all diminish our capacity for growth, success and happiness.
Fear in the professional arena is a debilitating force, and often the very thing that prevents us from realizing our Full Potential. Fear within us at work can be well disguised in our subconscious. Hidden fears manifest themselves in our work in subtle ways like playing it safe, procrastinating, avoiding difficult conversations and even in unwarranted perfectionism.
So how can you keep fear from derailing your career? Courage is not the absence of fear; it is instead, acknowledging the fear and acting anyway. If you feel yourself freezing up, procrastinating, angry or worried, ask yourself, “What am I afraid of?” Acknowledge the fear, bring it out into the light and take a good rational look at it.
Your next step is to interrogate the fear. “Where are you coming from?” “Is the risk really great?” “So what if I do fail?” “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Marie Curie once said, “Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood.”
Next, align a specific action plan to overcome it and get you where you want to be. You have to decide you want the desired result more than you fear not obtaining it. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks said late in her life, “Knowing what has to be done does away with fear.” And finally, as the Nike brand implores—just do it. Greatness awaits.
- Acknowledge the fear.
- Interrogate the fear.
- Align an action plan.
- Go for it!
What would you do, if you knew you could not fail?
About the Author
Dr. Joe Paul serves as the Full Potential Coach at HORNE LLP where he helps team members navigate through various stages of career and personal development to reach their full potential.