Face Your Fears, Improve Your Career

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Fears in the workplaceMany people have career fears–fear of failing on the job, fear of not being able to do a good job. While these fears can hinder your career growth, so can your fears in general. If you have a fear of meeting new people, that could affect your networking skills. Fear of public speaking could hold you back from being a corporate leader. So the goal is not only to not only defeat your career fears, but your personal ones as well.

“When you face your fears you no longer feel hostage to your situation. Being fearless sends a message of power to your boss. Although your boss may not like your assertive stance, he or she will recognize you as a leader. The alternative is to hurt your career, and appear weak when you don’t stand up for what you think is in the best interest of you and the company,” explains Los Angeles-based psychologist, Dr. Judy Rosenberg, CEO of Psychological Healing Center. “Fear can be debilitating. Fear is usually based on negative core beliefs we carry about ourselves such as “I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I’m not important enough to be number one.These core beliefs we inherit from our childhood wounds oftentimes play out at work.”

Fears can stop you from achieving your goals. “Oftentimes, the feeling of fear arises out of a sense that we need to take action on something we feel is important. When we view something as important, it seems like a higher risk situation–we want to get it right. If we let our fear paralyze us to the point where we don’t take action, we miss opportunities to get the results and create the impact that we want to. That’s why it’s important to face our fears at work,” leadership and performance coach Aenslee Tanner of Accuren Limited points out.

But finally, taking control of your fears will not let you grow personally but career wise as well. “Facing your fear is proactive and gives you the chance to influence the outcome that you seek. It’s a surefire path to personal growth, which will enable you to tackle bigger challenges in the future,” notes Tanner.

If you don’t, how can it harm your career?  “If you don’t face your fear, you risk missing opportunities, which can limit your growth and result in the stagnation of your career. You also risk having issues pile up over time and what could have been a molehill if addressed in a timely fashion can end up turning into a mountain,” says Tanner.

Ready to get started? There are steps you can take to control your fears. “The first step is to identify what it is that you are actually afraid of. Often times it’s not what we think it is at first glance. For example, it probably not that you’re simply afraid of having a conversation with your colleague, as you likely have conversations with him or her all the time. Rather it could be that you fear the relationship might be damaged if you provide that person with feedback,” says Tanner.

Then, take a different perspective. “The second step is to reframe the fear so that rather than being a feeling to be avoided, you view it as a signal alerting you to the importance of the situation at hand and your desire to get it right,” advises Tanner.

Get ready for when the fears may again arise. “Third, use that recognition of the importance and your desire to handle the situation well to drive you to prepare, prepare, prepare. If this situation has sparked a feeling of fear, your approach is probably worthy of some extra time and forethought. Take some time to get clear on the outcome you want and plan out what you want to say or do. Consider getting advice from a friend or mentor or working through the scenario in advance with a coach,” explains Tanner.