As high performers we get satisfaction from pushing and stretching our capabilities and by taking risks. This means that we will often encounter that uncomfortable place where we experience fear of failure, rejection, feeling not good enough and fears of change.
When fear shows up there are some classic ways that we hide and talk ourselves out of the steps that would allow us to have a positive impact.
1. We decide we need more training. We look for the next degree or book or research. We get hooked into thinking that the value we bring comes from the information we have mastered and we overlook the importance of our personal strengths.
2. This Before That. We have assumptions about the order in which things need to happen. I need a website before I can teach this class. I need to publish a paper before I can go after a promotion. These beliefs allow us to stay in our comfort zone.
3. Designing at the Whiteboard. This is where we might spend weeks thinking about branding for our small business without ever talking to our ideal customer to see if what we’re doing resonates. It allows us to feel productive but we can still stay safe.
4. Endless Polishing. We get stuck improving some element of our idea or offering. There is a difference between ensuring our work is high quality and veering into that area where this becomes a cover for our fear.
I’ve gotten stuck in all of these traps and still do but it’s helpful to know how avoidance tends to show up. That allows us to recognize what we’re doing and take steps to manage fear with the mindset that no matter what the outcome, the experience is about learning. The growth and feedback is valuable to our mission. That allows us to take action because the only way to feel better about the fear is to go out and do it.