TheĀ Growth Leadership Chronicle

Venture into a narrative of facing fears head-on, celebrating growth, and evolving leadership acumen to navigate the nuanced pathways of personal and professional ascendancy.

Overcoming Fear: A Guide for Growth-Focused Leaders

decision-making fear growth leadership overcoming fear self coaching self leadership Oct 02, 2023

As a leader, fear can be your biggest obstacle or your greatest teacher. How can you act despite fear, especially when leadership decisions are on the line? Let's delve into understanding fear first.

What is Fear in a Leadership Context?
Fear is an unpleasant emotion that arises when you're frightened or worried by something dangerous, painful, or bad that is happening or might happen. In a leadership context, this could manifest as:

  1. Fear of Failure: Missing a project deadline or not meeting performance metrics.
  2. Fear of Success: The added responsibilities that come with a successful project.
  3. Fear of Rejection: Not getting buy-in from your team or higher-ups.
  4. Fear of Uncertainty: Navigating unknowns in a volatile market.

All four of these fears have played out in my life, both personally and professionally. I used to avoid them at all costs, only to realize that avoiding fear also meant avoiding growth.

The Symbiosis of Success and Failure
Consider the great Babe Ruth. He held the record for the most home runs, but he also held the record for the most strikeouts. What does this teach us? Human beings progress by acting, making mistakes, learning from them, and trying again.

The Recipe for Progress

  1. Learn
  2. Unlearn
  3. Relearn

As William E Gladstone wisely said, "No man ever became great or good except through many and great mistakes." Similarly, Samuel Smiles points out, "We learn wisdom from failure much more than from success."

Facing Fear as a Leader
Fear is the greatest obstacle that holds us back from reaching our full potential. Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it succinctly, "Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world."

So, how can you respond when fear shows up in your leadership journey? One of the best strategies I employ with my coaching clients is to confront fear with curiosity by asking, "What if...?"

  • What if I don't succeed in getting the job?
  • What if I'm turned down for the promotion?
  • What if people judge me?
  • What if I fail?

By facing fear with curiosity, you confront it head-on, allowing you to move past it.

Challenge Yourself with These Questions

  • What is fear holding you back from?
  • What scares you most about this?
  • What is at stake if you continue to focus on this fear?
  • What will help you act, despite it?

In leadership and in life, the best way to conquer your fears is to face them head-on. So, what leadership decision is fear holding you back from making today?

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