Stop Fear From Holding You Back
In my coaching, fear is the number one thing that holds people and businesses back. People are afraid to take chances, afraid to fail, afraid to succeed, or just afraid. It makes them afraid to try. Business leaders sometimes fear taking changes – staying with the status quo – because it’s been working so far. Even the boldest business leader can be held back by members of the team being afraid to take necessary risks. Fear leads to failure to take chances, and without taking risks, your career and business cannot grow.
I have heard that some surveys show that the number one fear people have is “glossophobia,” the fear of public speaking. So that would mean that some people would rather die than give a public speech? I don’t really believe that. I think if someone was put into a life or death situation where they had to give a public speech or actually die, they’d step up and give the speech.
I was thinking about this specific thing the other day, and I wondered why people were afraid to speak in public. What people are actually afraid of is looking like a fool in front of a large crowd. People are afraid that they will sound stupid, or spill coffee on their shirt, or tripping on the way to the podium. There is probably a whole host of rational and irrational reasons people are afraid that speaking in public will make them look foolish in the eyes of others.
Now the fear of looking foolish is a real fear, there is no doubt about it. I will not sing in public, or near a recording device, because I cannot sing. I am a terrible singer, and I am afraid if I sing I’ll look (or sound) foolish.
When we are little kids, we are often taught to conform with others. When my kids aren’t paying attention is school, my wife and I have given them the advice to look at what the others are doing, and if they are doing their work, maybe you should as well. Growing up is always awkward, so we’d try to conform to other kids so we didn’t stand out. We all wore similar clothes, had similar hair styles, listened to the same music. And when there was a kid or a group of kids that didn’t conform, then they were labeled as weird and weren’t invited to the party. Wow, was it tough being a kid? It still is.
Then we get older and move into the work force. It doesn’t change much there. We still have people that do their own things. There is always that guy that sits quietly in his cubicle or office and doesn’t interact with anyone. Or the person that has too many pictures of her cat on her desk (no offense to cat people) that doesn’t leave room to do any work. Even here there is a desire to conform or feel like you won’t be invited to an after work happy hour.
Most of us have some fear of looking foolish. We want to be part of the crowd. We want to get invited to happy hours. We want people to like us. I have to watch Game of Thrones on Sunday night so I can be part of the conversation on Monday. This desire to conform runs deep.
I call this fear of rejection, an emotional fear. There is no physical harm that will come to you if you give a bad speech, or if I recorded Game of Thrones and watch it later in the week. I am not going to die if I don’t fit in with the crowd. However, this emotional fear will drive people to make certain decisions. People will make a decision based on what other people will think of them. If I do this, what will my family think? What will my spouse think? What will they say about me at work?
Honestly, it is none of your business what they think. And, by the way, it is none of their business what you think, right?
This Week’s Challenge
This week’s challenge is to get a team together and decide to take an emotional risk. Do something where you might risk embarrassment. It could be making a proposal to the boss, or doing a team building exercise with your team (which are almost always humiliating in some fashion). You will see that no harm will come from emotional fear, and as an added benefit you will grow!
Are you Serious About Keeping Fear From Holding You Back?
Shaffer Ingenuity can help you find what really drives you and provide you the tools to achieve those goals!
Quote of the Week
“Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear.”
– George Addair