What To Do With Fear

What To Do With Fear

If you are going to be successful you will have to learn how to manage fear. Stepping out and stepping up absolutely requires it.

If you are handling your current role well, you are very likely to be asked to take on a bigger role, which is exactly what you are hoping for, right? But oftentimes, that next role has a steep learning curve and the distinct possibility of failure. It’s easy to give in to your fears, stay safe and say no. Succumbing to those fears can throw up a roadblock in your career path and stall your progress. In the worst cases it can stop your progress altogether.

If you struggle with facing down fear, you are not alone. I have read that most performers have some version of Imposter Syndrome. Even the greatest singers and actors say that they do battle with feeling that they are not enough, or that even though they have done it successfully a thousand times that this time will end in embarrassment or failure.

They perform anyway. They say they have learned how to channel their fears into their performance. For them, fear becomes a catalyst instead of a roadblock. And every single time they don’t allow fear to stop them, they win.

You can win, too. You have arrived at your station in life because you have a unique set of talents and strengths and you work hard. Nobody has given it to you. You’ve earned it. And, you’ve earned what’s next, no matter how daunting or challenging it seems. People who know you and trust you and have been watching your performance are going to call you into their office sometime and tell you to take a bigger stage and be amazing there.

When they do, don’t say no. Say yes, and get busy quieting those voices that say you are not good enough.

You are.

I like this acronym for fear: False Evidence Appearing Real. That’s perfect, isn’t it? It reminds me that we need to manage the stories we tell ourselves on a daily and hourly basis. So much of the information we take in all day every day is completely false. Have you ever had any phobias? Heights? Elevators? Public speaking? Have any of the things you feared ever come to pass?

Probably not. We waste a lot of time and energy on what could befall us, only to find that it was never there in the first place. That saps our much-needed energy for what is true. It might even affect our ability to do our best work. Don’t let that happen.

Be careful what you listen to and where you get your information. Surround yourself with a personal board of directors who will help you sift through the incoming data and choose what is right and true for you. Make sure they have your best interest at heart and listen when they tell you how great you are and how good you’ll be in that bigger role.

Keep in mind that the only people who don’t experience any fear are people who are never challenging themselves or striving for a role that stretches them, whatever that role may be.

Take some time during this holiday season to think about where you are today and how you got here. Count your blessings. Recount your victories. Spend just a few minutes on your failures and take away what you need from them to get better going forward, but don’t stay there.

Think about the people who have cared enough through the years to help you succeed and be your advocates. See their faces. Those are very important people.

Set your stretch goals for 2020 and strategize about how best to reach them.

Then, go for it! There’s a bright future ahead, and an adventure that will unfold as you take each step forward. The world needs you to succeed and to bring what only you can bring to the issues we face.

I wish you all the best.

Forbes.com Contributor

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