Nancy Fredericks pens Women Lead Change's "Mindful Mondays" column, appearing the second Monday of every month. Fredericks is a preeminent Business Executive Strategist, Author and Thought Leader. Corporations like Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, Adobe, Allergan and Transamerica have retained her to optimize individual and organizational performance. You can find her at www.CareerStretchZone.com. The views of Nancy Frederick's blogs represent her own and not necessarily the views of Women Lead Change.
We all appreciate that fear is a powerful tool designed to pre-warn you in imminent danger. It is part of your primitive survival system. You know the fight, flight, or freeze reaction to a menacing Saber Tooth Tiger that can rip you apart from stem to stern with little effort.
Saber Tooth Tigers are not roaming the corridors of our business hallways. The reality is it is you generating them in your career as you allow fear to rule your day.
Today, fear, in most cases, is a passive response. One that holds you hostage impeding you from accomplishing all you’re intended to be. When you allow fear to thrive within, you rob yourself of the external opportunities designed to fulfill your dreams.
Before we address methods for overcoming fear, let’s take time to explore how it attacks us in the first place. All of them begin with a lie, you believe.
Scarcity: This environment has you accepting you're playing in a zero-sum game forever suspended, running for dear life stuck inside your very own hamster's wheel of success. I advocate for an entirely different game called trust in who you are and believing you are more than qualified to face every circumstance. It is the truth. That is unless you give into the fear. Scarcity has you buying into a failed system when you know it was never designed to bring out the best in you or anyone else. There is no one like you in your company. Yes, there are others with similar expertise, but who has all your gifts, attributes, talents, and attitudes. You are unique. So, rattling inside your head is the thought: “You don’t understand business. You haven’t had your future snatched away by an aggressive peer stepping all over you.” Let me challenge you right back. Review your work history. Haven’t you gone through dark times? And afterward—haven’t you said: “But for what happened to me, I wouldn’t be where I am today!” Remember, you’re always moving toward your future as long as you don’t stay stuck in fear.
Self-Doubt: This one issue alone, women of all levels in the organization tackles regularly. It’s you accepting the view of others even when it doesn't have the ring of authenticity. Just because someone charges you with something, it doesn't mean you have to own it. You alone have the power to consistently, steadily, and confidently draw yourself closer to your dream. Generating a satisfying, fulfilling career occurs as you become comfortable with yourself and revealing it from the inside out. This sure-knowledge is called for each moment by moment because what is at stake is your future. Success demands you stand confidently in your place without self-doubt holding you back.
Comparison: If you judge your value comes only from checking off "to-dos" as your boss pats you on the back, you face replacement by AI's. Tomorrow's ever-evolving business world requires innovative, exceptional, out-of-the-box executives. Why would you ever compare yourself to someone else? You inhibit your growth with this mental frame of reference. You're extraordinary. There isn't another person like you anywhere in the business world. No one else has your exceptional view of a problem, or offers the same insights as you do, or demonstrates the same talent. Your bright future rests on your giftedness. Are you getting the picture? Stop holding yourself small by comparing yourself.
You have to appreciate what you fear and give credence to in your career you draw to you. So, what’s a woman to do?
It begins by trusting all of you, and in all your giftedness. And trust is never consenting to anyone creating doubt about who you’re meant to be in this world. It’s you refusing to give in to smallness.
I know this is easy to write, not so easy to live. Only you can knock down every fear notion taking root as it emerges from your mind.