Fears. We all have them, and whether you have fear of failure, fear of commitment, fear of success, fear of rejection, fear of loss, fear of some combination of the aforementioned items, or a fear of something else entirely – the unavoidable fact, is that every one of us wrestle with feelings of fear and insecurities.
The Root of Fear
Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional dangers that has deep evolutionary roots in the human experience. It’s adaptive because it protects us. Think back on our ancient ancestors and their nomadic cave-dwelling existence…Who stayed alive? People who didn’t get bitten by poisonous snakes, fall off of cliffs, drown in high waters, or engage in other dangerous activities!
Modern Day Fears
In today’s modern world, the fears we face most frequently don’t involve immediate dangers like hungry predators, but although the stakes are much lower, our brain still treats our fear as lethal.
Fear in the workplace today is more concerned with image and the effect of other people’s judgment on our feelings of self-worth, than tigers. Still, it evokes the same high-stress fight-or-flight reactions that our ancestors experienced tens of thousands of years ago.
F.E.A.R. (False Expectations Appearing Real)
If you took a poll of your co-workers right now, none of them would list “getting eaten by a tiger” as one of their top fears and anxieties, but they might list: looking stupid in front of my boss, failing at a new job, letting down my family or co-workers, being a social outcast, or making a bad impression on an important client. The problem begins when we let these types of silly illogical fears hold us back from reaching our full potential.
At Team Sylvester, time after time we hear clients say things like, “My real dream is to do (fill in blank here) but I’m scared that I’ll fail.” Or, “I thought about saying something in that meeting, but I was afraid it would sound dumb.”
So how can you overcome the fears and self-doubt that hold you back in the workplace? We suggest using a popular acronym that’s been around for years (but is worth committing to memory): FEAR is simply False Expectations Appearing Real.
When you limit yourself out of fear, you are allowing the false expectations that you’ve built up in your head to appear real enough to your brain that you modify your behavior in order to avoid the risk. You may find yourself avoiding a potentially positive risk because you’re too afraid or holding back in social situations out of anxiety. When you allow fear to be in control, it limits the breadth and scope of your potential and opportunities.
Executive Coaching for Growth
For fifteen years Team Sylvester has been helping executive coaching clients break free of their FEARs, add new tools to their toolbox, and reach their biggest, hairiest, and most audacious goals. Click here to learn more about our coaching and leadership development programs.