Ride the 'Wave of Fear' Instead of Letting it Drown You!
By Pam Nochlin
At a recent Driven Professionals event (formerly known as the Women’s Advancement Compact), Cara Power, of Cara Power Coaching and the Paradox of Leadership, addressed Fear in the Workplace (it turns out we have many!).
When we think of fear, it’s tangible; fear of getting hit by a car, fear of getting sick or something happening to a loved one. However, fear takes on intangible forms too and while we don’t typically associate fear in the workplace, many of the emotions we feel at work are based on fear.
There’s fear of:
Failure and it’s cousin - success
Not being qualified
Getting layed off
Having a difficult conversation
Not having your voice heard
Asking for a raise
Not being liked
Asking for feedback
Being overlooked for a promotion
Even though these fears are in your mind, they hold you back as if they are real. As Deborah Goldstein, Founder: Driven Professionals noted, “Fear can be a major barrier to life satisfaction, yet it only exists in one’s own mind.”
So, what would it look like, what could you do and who would you be if you didn’t have those fears? Ok, maybe that’s not realistic, but what if you had those fears and forged ahead anyway? As Cara stated it, “What if you got your surfboard out and rode the wave of fear instead of letting it drown you?”
"Even though these fears are in your mind, they hold you back as if they are real."
Cara provided useful tips to help mitigate your fear:
Take action - the more action the more confident you will become
Commit to an action RIGHT NOW, (schedule that meeting you’ve been putting off!)
Name your fear
For example, Cara named hers “Harold” and described him as a short, pudgy red-haired, freckle-faced kid and noted whenever fear appears, she says, “It’s ok Harold, I got this!”
State your fear out loud
Saying your fear out loud helps dissipate it
Reframe your thoughts
The thoughts you choose can directly impact your results
Remember this acronym
FEAR = Fear Easily Alters Reality and therefore FEAR = Fear Easily Alters Results
Answer "How" with "Yes"
For example, if you want to be heard at work, say ‘YES’ to leading a team meeting!
Practice with different audiences
Start with a moderately easy situation and gradually work your way up to more difficult ones
After the presentation, attendees broke into small groups to brainstorm actions to take back to work. A volunteer from each group shared some of the actions and ideas that were generated. As the most common fear for most people is public speaking, this was the perfect opportunity and setting to address that fear. It was interesting to note that as each person stated how uncomfortable they were, once that was acknowledged and out of the way, they were able to move forward, proving that taking action propels you towards riding the wave and not being overcome by it!