At some point in our lives, we will feel and come face-to-face with fear. There’s no running and hiding from it, fear is a normal human emotion that you need to face head on. We shouldn’t be afraid or even embarrassed to talk about the emotion, stress and anxiety that comes with fear. When it comes to fear, the conflict of so many emotions at one time can make it tough to figure out how to cope with these types of feelings and what to do.
All leaders, yes even world leaders, feel fear at the best and worst of times such as Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Ernest Shackleton. Many leaders feel like the weight of the world is on their shoulders, especially when there are so many people who depend on them in their personal and professional lives. If you’re the one leading a team, you may be fearful of failure, the loss of jobs or coping with the chaos of a natural disaster or pandemic. There are so many different types of fears, but there are many ways of using fear to your benefit or learning how to overcome the fear that you are facing in your leadership role.
Once you acknowledge that what you are feeling is fear, the next step is to figure out how you can be resilient as a courageous leader and handle these emotional struggles at work. This way you can show your team members that they have nothing to fear and you can show yourself that you CAN overcome your fears.
Fear is one of the most studied emotions from a neuroscience perspective and for decades researchers have been trying to understand the network of brain regions which are involved not only in the feeling of fear, but in the process of learning what should be feared, and what shouldn’t be feared.
For example, studies have shown the neurobiological mechanisms which take place when you learn, either slowly over time, or suddenly, what is fearful. Similarly, researchers have also revealed the neurobiological processes necessary for “extinguishing” this fear – in other words re-learning that what you think is scary, isn’t scary anymore.
Because courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the mastery of fear....
Let’s get to work! Download your Fear Mastery Worksheet here.
F - Name the FEAR and FEELING around it
Grab a piece of paper or download our Fear Mastery Worksheet and make a list. Write down your fears with bullet points in front of each fear. Next to them write down what sort of feelings you have when you experience these fears. List as many as you need.
· I am going to fail as a new leader and manager.
· I feel like I am not good enough
· I feel alone
Once you have done this, make three more lists and put the below headings on each list.
· Define — What are the worst things could happen?
· Prevent — How do I prevent each from happening?
· Repair — If the worst happens, how can I fix it?
E - What EVIDENCE do you have that is it real and EXPERIENCES of that FEAR
Make a list of the times when you’ve experienced those fears and what happened when those fears came to pass. Be honest with yourself, don’t feel afraid to write down your fears.
A - What ACTIONS can you take to overcome it and ATTITUDE you can reframe around it
Make another list with each fear listed (with bullet points) and write down 2 – 4 actions you can take to overcome this particular fear. Then next to each of these, write down what sort of attitude you would like to have when experiencing these fears.
R - What RESULTS would you love to see in 1-, 3- or 5-years' time?
Then for your last list, separate the page into sections with 1, 3 and 5 years as headings. Then list 2- 4 results under each heading. These points are what you would like to see as a result of the actions you are taking to overcome your fears. Where do you see yourself in the future after overcoming or learning how to cope with a fear. Do you see yourself getting less stressed or anxious? Or do you hope it will make you a more empathetic and courageous leader?
By Sonia McDonald – CEO of LeadershipHQ And McDonald Inc. Leadership Coach, Global Keynote Speaker, Entrepreneur, CEO And Award Winning Author.
Sonia McDonald is changing the face of leadership across the globe. She believes we should lead with kindness and courage, from the heart, and is known for her mantra ‘Just Lead’. She leads by example in all these areas and through her transformational coaching, leadership training programs and cultural transformation for organisations and encourages others to do the same. Sonia has helped thousands of people on their leadership journey to become the best version of themselves and in turn, inspire and bring out the best in others.
Sonia is a founder and CEO of McDonald Inc., LeadershipHQ and Global Outstanding Leadership Awards and 2022 Courage Conference. For more than 25 years, Sonia has been on the front lines of leadership and she is beyond committed to her mission around building a world of great leaders.
She has held leadership positions worldwide and through experience, research and study come to realise what it takes to be a truly great leader. She has been recognised by Richtopia as One of the Top 250 Influential Women across the Globe and Top 100 Australian Entrepreneurs.
Sonia has an ability to speak bravely and authentically about her own development as a leader, personal and career challenges in a way which resonates with her audience. She is a leading coach, an award-winning published author of newly released First Comes Courage, Leadership Attitude and Just Rock It! and has become an in-demand motivational keynote speaker and facilitator on leadership, kindness and courage.
Sonia has become recognised for her commentary around the topic of leadership, kindness, empathy and courage as well as building outstanding leadership across the Globe.