“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”2 Timothy 1:7
The first quarter of the year has started off with a bang! A real mixed bag of emotions. The excitement of giving birth to a new women empowerment, professional development and networking movement coupled with the fear of actually executing the vision, all while running a company amidst a lingering pandemic. These emotions continue to waver back and forth with every decision, every action and even with every successful milestone reached.
This really set me thinking about the role fear plays in our life and how many of us react and respond to fear. How it can control our progress if we give in to the fear. How crippling fear can be for some people while a natural motivator for others.
Maybe my approach to managing fear is tied to my determination to become the best version of myself but I personally am one who always fights to push past the fear and “do things afraid”. This I appreciate does not come easy, definitely not for me anyways. My own experience with pushing through fear is living through the trauma and turmoil that comes from overthinking, anxiety, self-doubt, procrastination and delayed gratification that comes from taking action.
The Price of Fear
Progress! It’s that simple! If fear is allowed to overpower our thoughts and our actions it hampers our progress, both personally and professionally. Fear slows down and can even cancel our growth and future vision; resulting in missed opportunities. When fear is allowed to take root to the point of inaction this causes us to live in a place of regret and low self worth. We become regressive as opposed to progressive. We become stagnant therefore start to question our purpose. Never a good place to be yet we have all experienced it at some stage in our lives. Where we are too afraid to take action yet desperately want to leap forward.
Truthfully, when backed in this corner we have two options. We can activate our faith by putting some trust in the unknown and deciding to do it anyway or we can stay put and be crippled by the fear and feel sorry for ourselves. Pass up on the dreams and the vision we have for our lives.
Opportunities Masked In Fear
I recall while in my last role in banking, my Managing Director (now Mentor) had way too much faith in me; faith quite frankly that I lacked in myself. This lack of faith produced a degree of fear that could have easily derailed my career progress if I was not prepared to activate my own faith and take action. One of my strengths was always the ability to critically analyze and use data to drive strategy. Funny thing is that I was always keen to share my insights from behind the scenes; be the wisdom in the background. I was actually quite contented with this position, holding the view that once my boss looks good then my work is done!
Well my MD at the time saw way beyond that and practically threw me under the bus for my first Senior Leaders Conference. After completing like six or seven presentations that year and feeling pretty darn smug with myself that my work was done, I got the shock of my life when my name got assigned as presenter for not one but three of the presentations. I immediately went into a trance because not only did I hate presenting, it was going to be my first presentation before our regional team of senior executives and country leaders. With the thought alone I became frantic! My MD knew I was sweating my pants off but also knew I was never one to say “no”. With less than a week to prepare came the cold sweats, panic attacks and sleepless nights. Did I say I hated presenting?
“We must never allow ourselves to pass up great opportunities because we think we are not good enough!”~ ABE
So what are some of the strategies we can apply to push through and overcome fear? I have learnt that the most effective way to overcome fear is with the 3 Ps – Pray, Prepare and Press On. Upping your pray game is crucial to overcoming fear. We must believe that whatever is before us is not bigger than us, and definitely not bigger than God.
Secondly, we must be willing to put in the work needed. Our preparation game must be strong. Whether it be research, practicing in the mirror, soliciting the help of friends or learning from experts. We must focus on the objectives, the vision and press on. We must be prepared to take action. We must never allow ourselves to pass up great opportunities because we think we are not good enough. We must always Pray, Prepare and Press On – we get great along the way.
Fear has a way of playing tricks with our minds that is why it is so important to maintain an “overcomer” mindset. You must convince yourself through self talk that “this” whatever “this” is is not bigger than you. Believing that if others can do it, you can do it too and then start applying yourself.
Our greatest failure at times comes in the application. How well do you prepare? Are you half way in or half way out? This is the real test! I can guarantee you that if you want it bad enough you will take a chance on yourself. You will bet on you and do it afraid. I have done everything in my life afraid! I mean everything! Apply for the job, turn up for the job, put forward new ideas to the board, publish my book and even the dreaded presentations.
Untamed fear breeds procrastination which can lead to stagnation and this must never be allowed to take root because it is detrimental to growth, to your progress. Get in the habit of asking yourself these questions:
- How badly do I want this?
- Does this take me closer to my vision?
- What is the worst that will happen if I fail?
- What will I learn?
- Who is out there that can help me?
With these questions answered then my advice to you is to get on with it! Pray, Prepare and Press on….