Tuesday, August 16, 2011

It Takes Courage to Examine Fear

Everybody is afraid of something.  Most leaders find ways to hide their doubts and fears from others.  But to evolve, leaders must face themselves - they must face their fears.  Here a couple of conversations with leaders I've had in the last couple of days that show the power of facing your fears.

Leader One:  "Some of the things that have worked for me in the past aren't working anymore - I know I'm going to have to change."

Me:  Ok.

Leader One:  "But I know the change is going to take me out of my comfort zone; I know I need to do it but it's still ..."

Me:  "Scary?"

Leader One:  "Yes - scary.  I know I have to grow but I don't know what that means or what I'll have to do to get there."

Me:  "It means a lot of hard work and a lot of long looks in the mirror."

Leader One:  "I know and I know once I change - I won't be the same - I won't be in my comfort zone anymore.

Me:  "You're right - you will be a different leader with new expectations."

Leader One:  "I think I'm afraid of the unknown."

The Second Conversation:

Leader Two:  "I want our company to grow."

Me:  "But?"

Leader Two:  "It would mean I would have to take a different role.  I would have to be out of the office most of the time - other people would have to step up."

Me:  "Is that bad?"

Leader Two:  "Not when I say it like that."

Me:  "Then the problem is?"

Leader Two:  "I think I'm afraid of leaving my comfort zone; what if I fail?  I think I'm really worried about failing."

Me:  "Let's start there."

Everyone is afraid of the unknown and everyone is afraid to fail.  But leaders must be willing to leave their comfort zones in order for others to do the same.  My advice to all leaders is to put the time and energy into personal evolution before your team needs you to be a different leader.  Knowledge and experience breed confidence; the more you know - the less you will fear.  No one conquers fear but great leaders strive to  master their emotions.

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