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A topic that comes up in business often is the fear of failing. It is a topic that is shared at all levels of employees, across women and men, and no matter how successful or senior they may be in their current positions. The irony is that because most people fear the unknown, they start to create the worst case scenario in their head. The perceived fear stops them in their tracks; creating a moment of paralysis that distracts them from what they can truly accomplish.
Get out of your head
If you are willing to clear your mind, you may find that the situation or task at hand may be simpler than you were actually creating in your head. You can use your breath to bring your focus beyond the perceived fear. The following breathing exercise is a quick way to provide clarity, bring fresh oxygen into your body, lungs, and brain while also slowing down your heart rate.
Tool: Sit down, or in a standing position, take a breath from under your feet and bring the breath up to your head; then slowly release the breath back to your toes. Repeat this process two more times.
Ask more questions
Is your ‘fear’ based on a conclusion that you have made about the situation? Conclusions are limiting and they have a ‘stop’ energy about them. Instead of jumping into conclusions, ask questions in every situation. Keep in mind that, rather than looking for an answer, a question is designed to bring you more information and put you into the mindset of what else may be possible.
Tool: Below are some examples of questions that can take you from conclusion to possibility.Just ask the questions and allow the ideas, the energy of the information to really truly come into your awareness.
- What is really being asked of me?
- Do I have the information I require to get started?
- Do I have the skills to complete it the way it is required?
If no, who or what can I add to my team/project to complete it the way it is required?
- What choices and options are available that I may have not considered yet?
- By choosing to move forward with this, what will it create for me, the company, and the world in 5 years?
Turn your “fear” upside down
What if Fear was not real? Fear distracts us from our natural abilities and power. Have you ever noticed the feeling in your body when you fear something is actually very similar to when you are excited? So what if you are actually misidentifying excitement as fear? No matter what is going on in your business, in your life, or in whatever it is that you are feeling fearful about, consider flipping the situation upside down.
Tool: Whenever you are feeling fearful, ask “What else is possible here? Is it possible that I am excited about this?” and imagine flipping the situation 180 degrees. For example, if you are feeling ‘fearful’ about presenting in a meeting, think about the confidence and strength you would express in that presentation if you had no ‘fear’, and embrace that. What information, awareness and ideas come to mind when it is not considered fearful?
Acknowledge that it might not be yours
All of us are so aware. You can walk into a room and immediately know what just occurred and if there is tension in the room. So, when it comes to fear, what else are you aware of? Is it that you are fearful or are you picking up on what others may also be feeling and immediately be thinking it’s yours? What else could be possible for you if you knew that feeling of fear wasn’t even yours?
Tool: For every feeling, including fear, ask, “Who does this belong to? Truth, is it mine? Truth, is it someone else’s? Or truth is it something else?”
Is more information required?
What would it create if the words ‘fear of failing’ were replaced with ‘more information is required’? If you really think about it, would you ever really fail or allow anything you touch to fail? Or are you the type of person that would ask lots of questions, be resourceful, and develop a solution that would ensure the project or program is successful? Perhaps what you are really feeling is an awareness that more information is required for success to occur.
Tool: Ask, “Is more information required here?” “who can I add here to provide the information I require?” and notice what shows up.