Fear is an emotion which we all experience daily. Fear has also increased among people, especially since Covid, the shaky economy and the latest unrests in South Africa. Fear is described as a common feeling where one has doubts, feels afraid or is worried about an outcome. Fear typically has a negative connotation but, to the contrary, is a very necessary built-in survival skill. Yet, fear holds us back. It prevents us from asking and doing things. As Elmarie Pretorius said in her power minute on The Mindspa Institute’s Facebook page, “sometimes fear remains a vague feeling of unsureness.” This might be why we are always on edge.
Whether you are the CEO of a business, a manager or leader of a team or even an entrepreneur, chances are you felt terrified numerous times while running the business or leading your team. Especially now during this pandemic and this volatile economic state South Africa is in. Several fears arise during these times and whether you have a fear of change, fear of failure, fear of rejection, fear of job safety, fear of the future or even fear of succeeding, if fear is something you struggle with at the office, in particular, this article explains how you can use it to your advantage.
5 Steps to take in using fear to your advantage at the office
Yoko Ono from Ed and Deb Shapiro’s book, The Way Ahead, said: “Bless you for your fear for it is a sign of wisdom. Do not hold yourself in fear. Transform the energy to flexibility and you will be free from what you fear.” Because fear is such a powerful emotion when used wisely and in a positive way, while becoming flexible in facing your fear, it can be a potent driving force. Try following these steps:
1. Realise you are afraid. Determine the origin. Accept the fear.
Ask yourself what are you afraid of at the office? If you don’t know what you are afraid of, or where your fear is coming from, you cannot conquer it. Or if you are in denial and your thoughts of your fears are distorted, you cannot defeat it. If you admit to yourself that you are afraid and you dig deep to pinpoint the exact origin of your fears, you will be able to better work out how to accept it and how to overcome it because then you know exactly what you are dealing with. Furthermore, admitting and accepting your fear creates awareness and helps you to progress. It makes you vigilant and guides you to take well calculated and safer risks. In many cases, if you simply admit to yourself that you are scared and you accept the feeling, you neutralise it and then fear has little power over your thoughts. If you avoid the “feeling of being afraid”, you simply prolong the feeling anyway. Rather deal with it.
2. Rationalise your fears.
F.E.A.R in its acronym can stand for False Evidence Appearing Real. Sit down by yourself and think about your fears. If you can rationalise your fears, you will soon realise that you are simply speculating scary false evidence that might appear real but is unlikely to take a real form. In other words, what you are afraid of today, might not even happen. How sure are you that what you are afraid of happening will in fact happen? You don’t need more problems at the office. So why duplicate them when you don’t have to. If you rationalise with yourself, you can think calmly and compose your mindset which will isolate the specific fear. Hence you will not create even more “problems” with your run-away-mind pondering over a single fear. This will open you up to new opportunities and you will be able to take chances with a more open mind.
3. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen?
Once you know what the absolute worst is that can happen should the fear become a reality, you can understand the fear better and how to prepare for a possible outcome. In many cases your mind exaggerates your fears. If you are, for example, too afraid to ask your boss for a raise because you fear the answer will be no, is that really the worst that can happen? He or she will say no, and you are left with options like accept it or either look for a new job or take on an extra job, for example. But if you don’t even ask, the answer is no because you didn’t even try. And if you really think about it, the exact thing happened that you were afraid of, which is the answer being no.
4. Use fear as an inspiration
“Behind your greatest fear lies your greatest success.” – Soha Ilakal.
Use fear to empower yourself and discover the strengths you didn’t know existed within you. They say that fear usually mirrors our needs and wants. It is important to know that you will always have a fear of something or another. So, get used to it and learn as much from fear as possible. If you fear something at the office, channel your fear towards innovating or thinking creatively. Let’s use a real work life example. If you are afraid of public speaking like doing a presentation at work, use that fear to think creatively and innovatively, for example, making a pre-recording of the presentation. Our fears must drive us to think out of the box, rather than run away or not even try. Many of us want things at work to change, yet we don’t want to be the change.
5. Practice being fearless
Eleanor Roosevelt coined a famous quote, “Do one thing every day that scares you.” Real great advice to not only overcome fear, but to discover your strengths through fear. Tackle your fears by challenging yourself daily at work. Practice being fearless and soon fear will become your friend and not your enemy.
“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. – H. P. Lovecraft
If you acknowledge, accept, rationalise, confront and choose to do something about your fear, it helps you discover yourself, makes you more empathic, assists with self-care and gives you the courage to challenge your fear. Don’t give-in to fear but use it to your advantage.
*The Mindspa Institute proudly presents Do it Afraid!
“If you can understand fear and how it operates, you can be free from it.” – Joyce Meyer
Do it afraid! Conquer your fears and anxiety head on by doing it afraid. Let The Mindspa help you overcome your negative emotions with these life changing Workshops!
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major effect on our lives. Many of us are facing challenges that can be stressful, overwhelming, and cause strong emotions. During these uncertain times our teams need assistance to cope with the additional pressure at work and home.
These workshops are designed as powerful, quick interventions to help your team to understand their emotional state and provide them with practical information and skills to help them cope.
Our team of highly experienced facilitators are ready to present this to your team online (via MS Teams or Zoom) as well as in-person. Call us now to book!
Duration of workshops: 2 Hours
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