How to take action in the face of fear

I help leaders develop ‘Fearless Leadership’ and yet on one level Fearless Leadership doesn’t exist!

One of the most powerful qualities any leader can acquire is the ability to take action in the face of fear.

So how can we harness fear and use its energising qualities for
good, rather than allow fear’s paralyzing qualities persist with evil?

1. Choose your words carefully

In her fabulous book Feel the fear and do it anyway, Susan Jeffers introduces ‘pain-to-power vocabulary’ to help understand the impact of language in choosing a powerful relationship with fear. ‘ I can’t…’ becomes ‘I won’t…’ or ‘I choose not to…’ . ‘I should …’ is more powerfully restated as ‘I could…’. Shifting from ‘It’s a problem…’ to ‘It’s an opportunity…’ moves you to a more creative thought space.

2. Reframe the challenge

Recently I was down to the final three providers being considered for a big project. As soon I took the call inviting me in for an interview, I became nervous as I began to place more and more importance on ‘winning’. The next day I woke up feeling tense and completely lacking in creativity – not a suitable mindset for winning!

Reframing my thinking from ‘I have to win this’ to ‘this is a process to see if they are ready to work with me’ instantly freed me from debilitating expectations and released my energy and imagination. I was able to make immediate connections and sparkle in the interview.

3. Adopt an approach of Mindfulness

The March Harvard Business Review has a great interview with Ellen Langer – ‘Mindfulness in the age of complexity’. Langer’s research in mindfulness has demonstrated how paying attention to what’s going on around us reduces stress and increases performance. The article reminds us that stress is not a function of events – it is a function of the meaning we make of these events.

Imagining what might happen is trading in illusion, so give yourself five reasons why that feared thing won’t happen, and then five reasons why if it did happen, it would be an advantage. This ‘Mindful Management’ process shifts your thinking from the feared thing being a certainty, to it becoming a ‘maybe’ and one you might even benefit from if it happens.

Fear blocks our thinking, taking valuable resources away from generating a creative response. Shake it up! Which of these three strategies could you employ today to take action in the face of fear?

Share your fear busting strategies by leaving a comment below.

 

Have an Extraordinary day

Corrinne Armour