Monday, May 29, 2023
HomeUncategorizedFacing the fears that hold you back from work

Facing the fears that hold you back from work

Common fears that hold people back include the fear of failure, of letting others down, of looking bad or losing the respect of others, but also more primitive fears such as being marginalized, rejected, or not being able to support oneself. Often, these fears are not rational, but visceral. While they often operate beneath the surface, they are a positive force driving unproductive behavior. In this article, the authors provide strategies for how to unravel and challenge these fears and limiting beliefs so that you can remove self-imposed barriers and achieve greater success.

Fear makes us human—and we all feel it to some degree. As adult development experts Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey write in their bookImmunity to Change, “We have learned something that may be successful, It’s hard for the competent to believe: more than we understand, most people are constantly dealing with fear.” The problem is when our fears (whether conscious or unconscious) lure us into inefficiency even when we want to move forward and operate in new ways so that we can progress in our careers and achieve our goals. The kind of fear we speak of does not come from the level of psychological safety set by the leaders of the organization. To be sure, the lack of psychological safety on the team is a significant factor in performance and certainly fuels fears in individuals. The kind of fear we are referring to is our own subjective sense of security, which is fundamentally about how we see the world and how safe we ​​feel in it. This subjective sense of security often comes from early life experiences that add color to the lens through which we observe everyday life. Wherever we go, we carry with us the underlying fears that create this sense of security (or insecurity). They stay with us after we get promoted, change departments, or start a new job—unless we take proactive steps to surface them, get to know them, and challenge them. In applying the teachings of Kegan and Lahey to our work mentoring senior leaders (Rebecca) and studying high achievers such as Olympians, astronauts and Nobel Laureates (Ruth), we understand See how these underlying fears can affect individuals (and teams) back, and how to transcend them in lasting ways. Facing and overcoming fear at work requires a lot of reflection, vulnerability, and honesty with yourself. It requires the following steps. You can complete these steps on your own, or better yet with a trained coach or trusted colleague who can ask probing questions, challenge you, and ultimately help you see and adopt new perspectives.

Notice where you are stuck and express your core fears. First, determine where you feel stuck. This is an area that you want to improve but haven’t been able to improve in a meaningful or consistent way. Maybe you are hesitant to have difficult conversations and hold others accountable, be more decisive, get out of trouble to be more strategic, or set better boundaries and stop talking as often. Now, talk about the fears (usually at least a few) that are holding you back from doing these things, don’t whitewash them. They may be embarrassed to admit or say it out loud, but they are usually normal and we all have. If you hold your coworkers accountable, you may fear ruining a relationship, if you make bad decisions it will damage your reputation, if you delegate, you may fear losing control, or if you say no to your coworkers, you may Fear of being seen as uncommitted. While the types of specific anxiety are limitless, common ones we see include fear of failing or damaging one’s own career, letting others down, looking bad, or losing control. We also see more primal fears, such as being helpless, marginalized, rejected or unable to support oneself financially. While these fears often operate beneath the surface, they are positive forces that drive unproductive behavior. These behaviors may have served you early in your life or career, but now they only get in the way of your goals. By expressing these concerns, you can begin to examine them more closely to understand how you might be breaking your core at work. Moniqueis a partner in a professional services firm who is often stressed at work and often has emotional reactions. She was desperate to create a life for herself outside of work to gain more balance. However, she doesn’t say no to work travel, she lets work prevent her from making (and maintaining) a personal plan, she puts work ahead of health and physical fitness, and doesn’t set any meaningful work-life boundaries. When she thought about setting some work boundaries, a few fears arose: she would lose clients, she wouldn’t make enough money, and there were other people who would be better at their jobs. Nonprofit leader Jasonreceived feedback that he was not good at cooperating. He needs to slow down, let others follow his mind, solicit and be more open to others’ ideas, and let go of control. The fundamental fear that drives his behavior is that if he does these things, he will look stupid and lose control. Those fears made him move so quickly that others couldn’t keep up, he would be seen as “the smartest guy in the room” and there would be no room for anyone to question his ideas or share his own.

Imagine if your worst fears came true.

Let’s assume these fears have been realized. and then? What dire consequences do you think failure will have for you—is it losing a client, losing a job, letting someone down, looking stupid, or something else? If your fears come true, these limiting beliefs about the horrific outcomes you think might happen often feel very real or certain, even if they are often far from reality. Monique’s fear of failure (i.e. losing clients, not making enough money, being eliminated, etc.) is not the most powerful factor holding her back – she believes she will never To be able to recover from these things if they happen . If she loses clients, she won’t be able to find new clients; if she’s having a bad day, she won’t be able to bounce back next year; if she loses her job, she won’t be able to find new ones. Ultimately, she believed that “if I didn’t work hard, I wouldn’t be successful.” For Jason, a closer look at his anxiety about looking bad or losing control revealed a limiting belief , i.e. if someone else shares a good idea, it means his idea is bad (zero-sum thinking, actually). He worries that people will think he’s incompetent and don’t want to work with him — in fact, he’ll be sidelined. These visceral fears and associated limiting beliefs fuel his need to constantly control himself and act as if he is the smartest person in the room.

Reflect on the origin story.

Where do these fears and limiting beliefs come from in your life? This may show up right away, or you may need to sit down a bit to deal with it. Awareness of when and where this limited or incomplete worldview was formed can help you get out of it and shed light on how different the circumstances or circumstances of your life were at the time, independent of your current circumstances. For example, Monique worries that working less intensely and setting work-life boundaries jeopardizes her family’s financial security. As we delved into this, she realized that her insecurities stemmed from her father who lost her job when she was young and the family’s financial difficulties. As a young girl, it was terrifying for her, knowing that a possible eviction was only a month away. Feelings of helplessness and vulnerability hung over her like a dark cloud and stayed with her as an adult. Jason realized that his fears and limiting beliefs (and resulting behaviors) were only triggered when he was with peers, not with people more senior than him or younger colleagues together. This small but important detail helps reveal the origin story of his underlying fear, which stemmed from the sibling rivalry his parents created between him and his brother. Therefore, he sees his colleagues at work as automatic competitors or competitors, not other colleagues.

Act Safely Experiment.

Because limiting beliefs are formed by prior direct experience, new, different experiences and/or Seeing the different or broader perspectives of others you trust and respect frees you from the shackles. To do this, you need to conduct a series of safety experiments to test your limiting beliefs and gradually loosen the grip on your core fears. A safe experiment doesn’t risk strengthening your big hypothesis, nor does it have substantial negative consequences if it fails – that is, you don’t want to get yourself fired, see if you can recover from it. In contrast, safe experiments or tests are small, low-risk, and easy to perform. The goal is to gather information about the validity of your limiting beliefs to begin debunking them. Doing this will begin to loosen their grip on you and your behavior, giving you more freedom in how you operate. Over time, this will allow you to break away from old patterns and develop new, more productive behaviors, and reduce the risk of regressing to old ways. A safe experiment might involve talking to someone you know, reading messages from other leaders, or making very small behavioral changes. For Monique, she wondered if it was possible to have a life and be successful. So she talked to people she respected in her industry and asked them a series of questions, including “What boundaries can you set and maintain?” and “How does having a life (instead of working all the time) help you be more successful?” Her second test of fear reduction was a meeting with a financial planner who helped her see that she had more financial buffers than she thought. She also spoke with one of the many executive recruiters who often contacted her about her marketability as a job seeker. This conversation helped her see that in case she lost her job, her employment opportunities elsewhere were high. In taking these tests of her limiting beliefs, she realized that the underlying fears she had since childhood were no longer an accurate reflection of her current reality. Seeing this clearly for the first time made her let go of most of the fear and vulnerability she felt and gave her a greater sense of agency. This allowed her to write a new story. Again, Jason ran some experiments that helped him start to drop the limiting assumptions. First, he has a brainstorming session for a project where he acts as a facilitator and focuses on getting others to contribute their ideas to see if it is possible to have a good idea instead of one idea getting all the others worthless. The second part of the test was to see if other people sharing their thoughts actually made him feel like he was less competent and – to his surprise – didn’t. He also asked a colleague to teach him about an area of ​​the organization that he didn’t know much about (finance), to see how he felt as he learned, and in doing so, realized that there was no need to let someone know there was a threat Sense more about a topic than he does. These experiments allowed Jason to slowly let go of his residual fears and engage in more collaborative behaviors. It’s normal to feel fear and anxiety in your life and work, but by using the strategies above, you can “turn down the volume” on some of the fears and beliefs that are currently holding you back, allowing you to move forward more productively and move forward more successfully. The version of the truth you told yourself in the past may not reflect your current reality. Unraveling and challenging these fears and limiting beliefs will allow you to remove self-imposed barriers and achieve greater success. Real name changed.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Featured NEWS