Your career, no fear
Over the years I've heard many people express frustration in the self-imposed limitations in their careers (and life). These limitations are often due to fears of:
- the unknown
- saying “no”
- reputation damage
- what others might think
- speaking up in meetings
- being caught as an imposter
- changing careers
- not meeting expectations
- missing opportunities
- making bad career choices
- public speaking
- fear itself
and the list goes on.
Fear is a normal part of life. It’s a primal instinct and serves a purpose to warn us of danger to survival (the good old ‘fight or flight’ response). In today’s world however, when the response is often unreasonable to the fear, is it limiting your confidence and ultimately your success?
“The fears we don’t face become our limits.” – Robin Sharma
I’ve seen career fears becoming fundamental assumptions of people’s being as they go unquestioned over the years, most often with people not knowing why this fear has been kept ‘alive’.
By not taking action and tackling assumptions around your fears, are you placing limitations on yourself and your career?
The good news is, fear is a feeling and you can get over it. That is, as long as you are “ready to be uncomfortable, apprehensive, excited and surprised”. – Nicola Phillips
Tackling one of my big fears the hard way!
A few years ago my husband asked me to join him in the novice triathlon race on the Central Coast of NSW. Talk about big fears – I had never competed in any race except for “fun runs”. The thought of a triathlon made me sick to my stomach. My stepson asked me “what is the worst that could happen?” He certainly hit the nail on the head with that question in more ways than one…
Trust me, I didn’t break any records and if I’m totally honest the race was a disaster.
When I registered I was told that I could wear flippers in the swim leg. As dorky as I felt, that is what I decided to do to help me get through. On the exit from the water I got pulled up by a marshal who ripped into me saying I was “disqualified” and “breaking the rules” as “I wasn’t allowed to swim with flippers”. I cannot describe how incredibly humiliating this was. It was as if “what is the worst that could happen” was actually unfolding, right in front of my eyes. A few spectators took him on, which after a while he told me to “carry on and we would sort it out at the end”.
I wanted to pull out, I really did. But I remember the self-talk, something along the lines of:
“I have two options – continue or pull out. If I continue, what’s the worst that will happen? I might come last. Coming last isn’t bad. Someone has to come last. Why shouldn’t it be me? At least I would finish. I know I didn’t break the rules. Why am I letting someone else impact my happiness? It surely can’t get worse than this. I can do this. I will do this.”
With that I hopped on the bike, sobbed for most of the ride and was overtaken by everyone. However that cycle in the countryside was enough to get my motivation back and with that, I smashed the run and very proudly finished the race.
This race set me on a new direction which I could never have anticipated - 3 novice triathlons, 3 half marathons, and (drum roll...) being awarded the 1st Australian to complete the Amalfi Coast ‘Lost World’ Path of the Gods incredibly challenging trail run in the gorgeous Italy!
You and your biggest fear
Fear is a feeling and you can get over it. “Feelings aren’t positive or negative; it’s what we do with them that render them constructive or destructive. It’s the same with fear.” – Nicola Phillips
So over to you:
1.What is your biggest career (or other) fear?
2.Why have you kept this fear kept ‘alive’ over the years? What are the assumptions you continue to apply?
3.If your fear was realised, so what? What is the worst that could happen? What would you do? Would you survive?
4.What would you need to believe to stop your fear impacting your ability to do something?
5.How are you going to be courageous, take action, tackle your fear and remove those self-imposed limitations?
Since that race I have had the confidence and self-belief to tackle career and other fears, which has been a very empowering experience and truly pushed me past some self-imposed limitations I had placed on myself.
You can easily do the same.
“A year from now, you will wish you had started today.” – Karen Lamb
Vanessa’s encouraging and enthusiastic, yet downright honest and flexible approach will ensure that you get a competitive edge and put your best foot forward. She delivers ‘real world’ practical career coaching, empowering people of all ages and stages to be the boss of their career.
Vanessa is a member of the FlexCoach panel of career and executive coaches. You can see her FlexCoach profile here