Fear is Not a Good Leader
Many years ago I attended a women’s meeting. The main speaker made this comment that caused roaring a applaud from the room: Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. That statement sounds so romantic. It is likely that I clapped right along with the rest of the room. However, today, I would ban this proclamation from my resources of good affirmations. You see…fear is not a good leader.
When we are led by our fear, we go forward in smallness. Fear makes us feel less than, instead of as strong as we really are. It makes our dreams small and it can never lead to the abundance of what you want to achieve. You may be waving your arms in the air right now or ready to give me a “piece of your mind”. That’s understandable. However, my intention is to focus on courage and life instead of fear as a motivator. There is a sacred passage that says, “Perfect love cast out fear”. I’ve come to understand that this is not just love for a person, it is love for our work, our life and love for the gifts and talents that are on the inside of us.
Let’s say you are trying to step out and start a new business. Perhaps you are not doing this because you want to provide a helpful and wonderful service, or that you want to use your gifts and talents to bring joy to others. Maybe your reason for doing this is that you are afraid that you will not be able to pay the bills at the end of the month, you are desperate. You want to make money more than you want to provide a good service. You are afraid of not having enough and that fear is leading you to take action. You let fear lead you toward something, anything that promises to bring in the cash. You are being led by fear.
Sally is a recently divorced mother of two girls. She gets some financial assistance from her ex-husband, but it’s not enough; she’s afraid of what will happen when the assistance stops. In a moment of fear and panic she decides to join one of the home party companies where she can sell home décor to make extra money, and if all works well she will even have time to spend with her daughters. Sally was afraid of not having enough money. Afraid of not having time with her girls, afraid of what would happen when she was on her own.
After the first party she realized that the home décor company was great, but she did not have passion for selling the products. She only joined because she was afraid of the future.
Sally completely over-looked her real dream to become a personal organizer. She loves to put things in order in her home, and she has often helped her family and friends organize. However, she was too afraid to step out in her own dream to do what she loved. Her fear told her “you can sell those products and that will at least get you extra money. You don’t have what it takes to live your real dream”. The fear of doing what she loved kept Sally limited and small. It did not lead her to the joy and fulfillment that she could experience by doing what she loved to do.
The same is true for your business. If you are afraid of your competitors and only advance forward because you fear that they will have something that you don’t, then you will always be trapped by that fear. If you have a desire to provide the best service or product that you can, there is no limit to where you can go.
Fear is not a good leader because it can never take you where you want to go. Fear can only take you as far as the stress and panic that it causes.
Ways to overcome being led by fear:
1. Take a fear inventory: how is fear holding you back or even driving you forward?
2. Are you or your key leaders being led by fear? Identify the fear and replace it with vision, direction or a workable strategy. Often times we fear because we don’t understand what to do next or how to do something. Sometimes we fear because we don’t have the right tools.
3. Make sure you are doing what is real and authentic for you. When you have confidence that you are going in the right direction, you are led by that confidence instead of by fear.
4. Realize that fear is something that everyone struggles with.
5. Replace fear with a good action plan.
6. Give yourself permission to get off of the rollercoaster of fear. Sometimes we fear because we are doing something that we hate instead of something that we love.
7. Remember that perfect love cast out fear. Do you love what your company has to offer? Do you love your customers, suppliers, and partners?
8. Fear is a passive way of living.
9. Realize that fear will limit you and keep you small.
10. Fear wants others around it to be afraid too. Don’t surround yourself with fearful people, or remain in fearful environments.
When you recognize that fear is not a good leader, you can replace the fear with useful tools and strategies.