You know fear can be powerful, controlling, limiting, and immobilizing. But did you know that when you accept your fear and tune in to your confidence voice, you can regain control and reap immeasurable rewards? Let author, a full-time professional speaker, share how some thoughtful and constructive risk-taking can lead to higher job performance and greater personal satisfaction.
How do we keep fear from controlling us? Trust me: I didn't develop skill in this field solely by earning a skydiving World Record or jumping out of a jet over North Pole--but it helped. Let's start with some background, then weave in a couple adventure stories that illustrate how to face fear and heed your confidence voice.
We know fear is going to be there, and that it will be intensely powerful. It can control us, limit us, and make our decision for us. If we don't deal with it effectively, it can immobilize us.
There are two responses to fear: constructive and destructive. The destructive response goes something like this: We're confronted with a situation that clearly and appropriately justifies fear, but instead we respond with, -I'm not afraid. That doesn't bother me.” Another sign we've invoked destructive response is that we put a barrier between us and fear source. We waste precious time and energy shielding ourselves from fear source. We could instead put this energy toward seeking solutions and resolutions to problem if we could only acknowledge that we are experiencing fear.
The constructive response to fear requires a simple, but often difficult, step. And step is difficult for a perfectly legitimate reason, because it attacks something that is important to all of us – our pride. The constructive response to fear requires us to admit we're afraid. When we admit that we're afraid, even if only to ourselves, when we accept our fear, something very powerful happens. We regain control. We're back making decisions for ourselves. The fear doesn't disappear, but its power over us wanes.
Early in space program, National Aeronautics and Space Administration did a study. They had observed that a certain number of their pilots and astronauts were completing their missions successfully without suffering motion and stress sickness. Another group was consistently having problem. Based on empirical research, NASA found that there was one factor, and one factor alone, that made difference between two groups. The ones who were going through mission without a physical problem were ones who had acknowledged in advance that they were going to be afraid. They had a constructive response to fear.
For all of us, but particularly for people who are achievement oriented, idea of a feeling like fear exerting so much control over them can be hard to accept. The thought that a mere emotion--something that did not spring from their imposing intellect or determined will--could have a significant impact on them is extremely bothersome. To get comfortable with fact that fear doesn't necessarily make sense, yet has tremendous power over us, can be one of most consequential events of our lives.
The process of identifying fear starts with a "feelings inventory.” To get started, sit where there are no distractions. Answer honestly: Are you angry, happy, sad, or afraid? You may feel more than one of emotions, or all of them. Identify source of each of these feelings-the real source. This may sound simplistic, but if you do it with commitment, you will quickly grasp value.
To understand more completely how a feelings inventory can help you understand interplay between emotions, think of a spacecraft in weightless environment of space. It has retro-rockets that propel spacecraft when they fire. They are there to enable spacecraft to maneuver in all directions.