How To Fight Your Fear: Fighting Fear, Part 2
Fighting fear is one of the most important things a leader, executive, manager, practitioner, or any business person for that matter, can do.
In part one of this series on fighting fear, I discussed why it’s so critically important to do so. In this post, I’ll share some tips on how to do so.
1. Ask yourself “What’s the very worst that can happen?” Quite often, we say words like “Oh, I could never ask that (of my client, my team, my boss, whomever) and we accept that on face value. But that’s quite simply not true. You can. You just choose not to, for any myriad of reasons. A great way to overcome this is to say “What’s the very worst that can happen if I ask for that?” Will your client fire you for asking to be compensated fairly? I’m guessing they won’t. (And if they do, you really don’t need that client!)
2. Imagine “What could happen if I asked that?” If you asked your team to stay late to work on a new account they really want, that you’ve explained will help your agency reach a new level, they just might embrace your excitement and do so. If you ask your boss for that raise, you may get it. Or at least you may find out what you need to achieve to get that raise. And you’ll learn how great it feels to ask for what you believe you deserve. If you ask that aforementioned client to compensate you fairly, you may just get that money. Or half of it. Or at least you’ve put more forthright monetary discussions on the table, and made it easier for both of you to discuss the financial aspect of your relationship.
3. Visualize The Outcome You Want. Visualizations are powerful influencers on what will actually happen. Athletes, in particular, are adept at visualizing themselves achieving their goals, and report powerful changes when they start doing so. Quite often, however, the only visual we have in our head is the other person reacting negatively to our asking for what we need or want. Only we can replace that visual with one of that person being open to our point-of-view and giving us what we ask for–or at least listening in an open-minded way. As Lynn Ahrens so perceptively wrote in the lyrics to one of her songs in “Ragtime, The Musical,” “Imagine you’re fearless. Imagine you’re fearless. And soon, you won’t fear!” (As a Broadway Baby, I love the idea of the getting tips on fighting fear via a musical!)
4. Fake It Till You Make It! Although it’s counter-intuitive, sometimes we must change our behavior and allow our related attitudes to catch up. So now’s the time to take that high school or community theater acting experience and put it to use. Imagine how a truly confident person would handle this situation. What words would they use? What would their body language convey? Then take on the role of that courageous person. This role-play will help free you from your fear, and enable you to ask for what you want, explore a new role, or take an important action.
5. Do Just One, Low-Risk Brave Thing. For people for whom fighting fear is an issue, having a small success can be a game-changer. If that’s you, make a list of all the situations where fear is getting in the way of the success you want. Identify the one that causes the least fear, that you perceive as having the lowest “risk.” Then apply the four steps mentioned above, and take the action you’ve been avoiding. Trust me, the outcome will be better than you think it will be, and you’ll likely say to yourself some variation of “That wasn’t so bad,” “That felt pretty damn good” and/or “I did it!” Now take that upbeat feeling, and do something else on your “fear list.” It’s likely you’ll experience a repeat of what happened the first time. Then go onto the next issue on your list. Pretty soon, you’ll have your fear list down to size, and you’ll have learned a critical lesson that will pay enormous benefits.
What have you done in your career or your life to fight your fear? I welcome your comments!
Photo Credit: mplonsky via Compfight cc