overcoming fear

 

It Takes a Little Fear
by Nan S. Russell

Opening this week on Broadway, Julia Roberts makes her debut in "Three Days of Rain." The Oscar-winning actress expressed her fear about her upcoming theater début this way, "By the time I get there," Roberts told The New York Times, "I'll be entirely apoplectic. But the terror is part of the excitement."

That's not the case for most of us. The terror isn't the excitement that pushes us on but the barrier that holds us back. Too often we default to our fears, letting them reign over life's opportunities. It's the fear that decides if we're interested in going for a new position, moving to a new city, changing careers, speaking to groups or learning new skills. It's the fear that hijacks our potential, stifles our growth and constrains us from winning at working.

Maybe you're afraid of failure or afraid of success, so you decide it's better to stay with what you know. Maybe you're afraid you'll be disappointed in your results so you cocoon yourself into comfort zone confinement. Maybe you're afraid you'll look foolish so you opt out of competing, or you're concerned you'll be found out as an imposter or disliked if you pursue your passions or step up to more responsibility.

It doesn't matter what our fears are or why we give them control. What matters is if we let them limit us; if we trade our comfort for our relevance and if we compromise our life's potential to eliminate that pit in our stomach. And if we do, it's no wonder we're not living our dreams.

You see, people who are winning at working push past their fears, following the advice of a popular book to: "feel the fear and do it anyway." They don't let their fears stop them. They seize their nervous apprehensions and self-limiting concerns, recognizing it takes a little fear to sharpen their skills, push them to the next level, enhance their talents and maximize their growth. It takes a little fear to dare to become who they are capable of becoming. And it takes a little fear to offer their uniqueness to the world in spite of insecurities, naysayers and comfort zones.

Of course there are risks to pushing past our fears. Julia Roberts may bomb on Broadway, and we may find our level of incompetence or fail at a new endeavor. But management guru, Peter Drucker puts it this way, "There is the risk you cannot afford to take and there is the risk you cannot afford not to take." This is the latter.

I like Brooks Atkinson's words, "Our nation was built by pioneers who were not afraid of failure, scientists who were not afraid of the truth, thinkers who were not afraid of progress, and dreamers who were not afraid of action." People who were winning at working are like those people. They don't allow today's fears to control tomorrow's future. Want to be winning at working? It takes a little fear.

(c) 2006 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.

Sign up to receive Nan's complimentary biweekly eColumn or Podcast at http://www.winningatworking.com. Nan Russell has spent over twenty years in management, most recently with QVC as a Vice President. She has held leadership positions in Human Resource Development, Communication, Marketing and line Management. Nan has a B.A. from Stanford and M.A. from the University of Michigan. Currently working on her first book, Winning at Working: 10 Lessons Shared, Nan is a columnist, writer and speaker. Visit http://www.nanrussell.com or contact Nan at info@nanrussell.com

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overcoming fear

 

overcoming fear