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Don't Let Your Inner Fears Limit Your Career

https://hbr.org/2017/10/dont-let-your-inner-fears-limit-your-career

hbr.org

Don't Let Your Inner Fears Limit Your Career
Fear is a natural and universal human phenomenon, affecting top executives as much as anyone else. The majority of management literature is focused on helping leaders conquer their fears. The problem is that stifling fear doesn't make it go away. In fact, failing to address it can lead to highly unproductive and dysfunctional behaviors.

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Fear is natural

Fear is natural

Unrecognized or unacknowledged core fears are almost always a root cause of professional distress and unattained potential.

The fears are not necessarily bad. A willingness to take a hard look at your fears can help you turn them into fuel for performance.

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Most common fears

  • Fear of being wrong. People with this fear are extremely focused on rules, ethics, standards, and “right vs wrong.”
  • Fear of not being good enough. Those with this fear tend to be insecure, intensely focused on their image, and desperate to prove their worth. 
  • Fear of missing out. This drives leaders to constantly seek new opportunities and experiences and to pursue multiple interests at once.
  • Fear of being victimized or taken advantage of. Those suffering from this fear feel the need to win every battle and can be defensive and controlling.

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Admit your fear

In the first phase, take a close look at your history. Examine the choices you've made and the reasons behind those choices.

For instance, not putting effort into pursuing your own interests but instead, activities in which you can excel could point to the fear of not being good enough.

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Interrogate the fear

Critically assess your current fear to understand it better.

What would it mean if you fail at something? What if you took on a project that didn't play into your strengths? Other people make mistakes and move on. Are your fears unfounded?

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A different course of action

Decide what you will do next and make commitments.

  • If I objectively evaluate my actions and behavior right now, what would the evidence say that I’m committed to?
  • How does this differ from what I say I want?
  • Practically speaking, if my desires and actions are not fully aligned, what does that indicate?

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Act on that choice

Deliver on your commitments.

For instance, take on projects that will challenge you from a place of uncertainty. Or find out what you really like, rather than choosing things other people admire.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Fear Is Real

Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

Accept your fear relative to you.

Get Some Perspective

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?
  • Could that really happen?

  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through its wily evil ways and move forward.

Hold a Hand

Think of someone you can always rely on, be it your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say: “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.” 

They, in turn, will feel valued, loved and respected.

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Judy Blume

"Each of us must confront our own fears, must come face to face with them. How we handle our fears will determine ..."

Judy Blume

Dale Carnegie

Dale Carnegie

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy."

Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt

"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.' You must do the thing you think you cannot do."

Resolutions Don't Work

Resolutions feel huge, requiring a lot of mental bandwidth and loads of constant motivation to keep up. Resolutions are easy to decide on but tough to maintain daily.

Habits, on the other h...

Habits: Start Small

Start small with something you already desire or like to do, to ease out the entire process for you right at the start.

For example, if you plan to write more, why not buy a journal and a pen that you want to use, and keep them handy, facilitating the writing habit naturally.

Trigger New Action

Choose a 'trigger' action you already do to initiate the new habit you want to form.