The FEAR Monster
Welcome to Halloween week. Halloween is such an interesting holiday and is becoming almost as popular as the other major holidays. The stores, boutique shops, and online businesses sell everything to decorate your home, prepare for parties, and offer all kinds of paraphernalia.
For decades October has been the month of scary movies and costumes. People love to decorate their yard like graveyards and display spooky creatures and goblins. Do you remember when you were a kid how these things scared you at Halloween? Well, maybe not you—but they certainly scared me.
Then when we get older, we look back and laugh at the things that scared us. If Halloween didn’t scare you, maybe other things did like going to the dentist or doctor. Or fear of interviewing for a new job or starting a new job.
We have been talking about fear in our Office Dynamics Pillar Huddles. We have shared strategies on how to not let fear overtake us, fear of failure and much more. (You can listen to our team’s huddle on fear). In my Star Achievement Series curriculum for administrative and executive assistants, I share the following.
Recognizing, Clarifying and Facing Fear
Fear can prevent you from progressing in your career and in your personal life. It prevents you from opening up to experiences which could be rewarding. It hampers your receptivity as an individual. It has a way of becoming a “monster” if you let it fester because the more you think about the thing you fear doing, the worse it seems. When fear stands in the way of you becoming all you can be, learn to make it work for you, not against you.
There are times when F-E-A-R is nothing more than – False Evidence Appearing Real! We all have experienced it. Fear comes in different sizes and shapes, and has different faces. Recognize too that the things one person fears, you may not fear and vice versa. Be tolerant of others’ fears, because to them, the fear might be overwhelming.
The big difference between people is that for some, fear paralyzes and for others fear becomes a personal challenge. It gets their adrenalin pumping. Every time you confront your fears, you become a stronger person. You prepare yourself for bigger and greater things to come. This isn’t to say that once you conquer a fear you will never again be afraid. It’s just that when you learn to deal with a fear and experience some success in taking it on, you will be more inclined to take on the next worrisome challenge and come out on top!
Steps to Conquering Fear and an Example of a Fear
Identify your fears.
What are you afraid to do? Is there a position you are afraid to strive for? Are you afraid to travel? Do you get nervous speaking in front of others?
Public Speaking or speaking in front of a group.
Identify the real reasons behind #1. List as many as possible.
What is the real reason you aren’t doing the above?
I will forget my material or information.
I will be asked questions I can’t answer.
There will be an equipment failure.
All eyes are on me.
My timing will be off—either too short or too long.
Ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen if I try what I fear?”
Things usually seem worse than they are. You grow through learning and doing what you fear. Identify the worst possible outcome, and think of a fallback plan should that occur.
I faint and I am never asked to speak again.
List steps you can take to overcome the fear.
Be specific. Many times the only
way to deal with fear is to do what you fear, provided it is not physically dangerous. Look at
your list for #2 and write action
you can take to counteract them should they occur.
I will study my material until I know it completely.
I will practice several times.
If I do not know an answer, I will say, “Thank you. That is a good question. I will have to find out the answer for you later and get back to you.”
I will examine the equipment beforehand and familiarize
myself with the components I’ll be using.
I will focus on “friendly eyes” in the audience.
I will keep track of the time and speed up or slow down as necessary.
I will prepare for the unexpected to happen and react calmly.
Put opportunity first.
What is the best thing that could happen if you conquered this fear? List the opportunities waiting for you when you conquer your fear.
“I have overcome other fears and I am still standing!”
I will be presented with greater opportunities at work.
I will be able to communicate the messages I really want to communicate.
I will be viewed as confident and professional.
Be confident in your ability to handle new situations.
Think about past events or situations that you handled successfully. You have the ability to handle new situations; you just have to properly prepare for them.
“Working through this fear will prepare me for future events
that may be even bigger and more challenging. I am building confidence in baby steps.”
Consider fear a challenge.
Imagine how good you will feel when you meet that challenge. Many times people don’t take on challenges because they don’t want to leave
their comfort zones. By challenging yourself and taking on your fears,
you reach new levels of excellence and professional growth.
YES, I did it and I feel terrific!
I am proud of my accomplishment.
I developed new skills by facing my fear head on.
Keep this in mind for not only this week but for always. Wishing you a Happy Halloween!