• Appearing Weak
• Imposter Syndrome
• Not Doing Enough
• Not Being Ready
What do all these have in common?
The root of so many of these fears usually has to do with how we think others see us and what we think about us. We then allow that to cloud our potential. To cloud our actions and progress. And ultimately our results and sense of accomplishment. Once we recognize what fear we’re giving our attention to, we can start to work on it, so it doesn’t hold us back from our best selves and living our best note.
Let’s look at each one a bit more closely, and learn how to start turning fears into improvement and confidence.
Is it taboo to talk about failure? I don’t think so. When we, as leaders, share moments of failure with others in appropriate ways, it’s also a chance to share what we learned from it or what we’ve overcome since then. Failure is as big a fear as you make it. Shake it off next time the thought of failure gives you doubt.
Any kind of artist, musician, and leader has experienced a fear of criticism. Some develop a “thicker skin” in preparation for future criticism. However, when we really look, any fear of criticism stems from taking it personally. Maybe it was even about us, our character. Do you know what your inner, actual truth is? When we learn to differentiate between criticism that can help and improve us, and that which we could simply say “Thanks for the input,” we will see criticism does not have to tear us apart.
A cousin to criticism perhaps is plain old rejection. And the fear of rejection (as with any of these) can apply to us professionally and personally. This fear is that an outside entity, team, person doesn’t accept anything that we offer. And that might sting for a moment, but as any good salesperson knows, we’re after the Yes anyway. So keep your head up and move on.
Do you fear appearing weak, arrogant, bitchy (whatever so-called inferior trait you want to place there)? It’s most likely a fear of not being fully understood or seen as capable. In general, we tend to want to appear or not appear a certain way to gain approval and fit in. When you approve of yourself first and of course are congenial in general, you’ll experience less of a need to gain approval or fit in.
A fear that again not everyone is quick to open up about, imposter syndrome is something many have experienced. It’s a fear that we don’t know and that we’re frauds, faking any or all of our skills. To step out of that fear, we’ll have to build inner confidence and a strong support system around us that builds us up in case imposter syndrome sneaks up.
Not Doing Enough
In this “I’m so busy” humble-brag society, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough and perhaps fear that others think that of you, too. First, if they’re not part of your team it’s most likely none of their business what enough from you looks like. Then, this fear could also show up in taking on so many tasks to feel like you’re busy. Either way, determine clear standards and expectations with your team and know it’s not always about how much you’re doing that counts.
Not Being Ready
This fear can hold back even the best of us sometimes. We’re either not actually ready at all and can fail or miss an opportunity, or we live out the fear by over preparing, and still fail to launch. Experience will teach you that sometimes you take the leap and it works out, or you send out the product and get feedback that improves the next version. And sometimes that isn’t what happens, then we learn and grow.
So you tend to get stuck in your ways. It can be difficult and downright terrifying to try a different way, whether it’s adding structure to your fly-by-the-pant seat style or being asked to loosen up. A lot. Fearing new ways, what you see as limitations or the path to chaos can lead you to live from a narrow view, and limit your ability to adapt. Next time some part of your routine or lack of one is tested to adapt, just try it. You can always go back to the way it was, but you can always welcome a new, even better experience, too.
Remember, it’s a big step to become aware and then an equally important one to start working to diminish the fears we experience wherever we are in our journey. Many of the fears covered have to do with what we think others think about us and we know that doesn’t matter in the end. The success and fearlessness you see around you is the front end of a lot of work. Work on you, work towards living your best note. I believe in you.
Recommended: About Every Note Matters