Fear – how to manage it

Fear in the workplace.  This fear keeps us from speaking up, using our voice, asking for the raise, asking for the promotion, offering our opinion, showing our value.

I think the best I’ve ever heard is a book called the Imposter Syndrome.  Where our fear makes us believe we’re frauds and if we speak up, it will be proven true.  There are multiple books out there.  I haven’t read many of them so I can’t provide a recommendation.  I would focus on a book where the reviews speak to you, where the book cover connects with you.

Another option is to prepare for your battle.  Let’s say this particular battle is your annual performance review.  You feel like you should get a raise but how do you go about this?  Start with documenting why you think you should get a raise – what actions did you take to improve the company (focus on what made your boss look good).  I’m not referring to actions that saved your company millions or revolutionized your industry – that’s not normal life.  Life is about the small moments – helping your customers on a regular basis, improving our team’s reputation by consistently delivering on what is being requested, etc.  Write it all down – be factual, be brief but be complete.  If you feel prepared, you feel confident.  Practice a few key paragraphs that put it all together – what differentiates you and why you are an asset to your team and to your company.  Know that they are true and say them with confidence.   What if your particular battle is speaking up in meetings?  Start with sending your comments to your manager after the meetings and see what response you get.  If they are positive responses, this will give you the confidence to speak up when the time is right.  If they are not positive, ask why – learn more about what matters to the company, so your ideas match their culture.

In all instances, fear is managed by confidence.  Think of it as a teeter-tooter.  If fear is up, then confidence is down and if confidence is up, then fear is down.  Fear is good in a lot of situations – don’t go into dark alley ways, stay away from serial killers in the elevators, if the food smells bad – it is.  But if it keeps you from using your voice, standing up for yourself, knowing what’s right, feeling strong about who you are – then you need to practice more.  Practice speaking up using a LOUD voice – in the shower is fine as that’s a great start.  Even if your practice is a made up scenario – practice gives us the confidence to carry it forward in real life.

You are ENOUGH.  Your voice MATTERS.  YOU MATTER.

Doubt – the real killer

When I take a moment and look at Office Politics, I see misguided expectations, missed communications, manipulations, I see who grows and who doesn’t, who is promoted and who isn’t, and a myriad of other things we as humans experience.  I see one true killer – DOUBT.

Doubt makes us hesitate, doubt makes us wait, doubt makes us quiet, doubt makes us put our eyes down, doubt makes us worry, doubt listens to fear.  Doubt creates bullies.

I remember when Taylor Swift was coming into stardom at the ripe age of 16 years old or something.  I think it was a speaking engagement at a college on the east coast where she mostly took questions from the audience.  Someone asked her if she had doubts.  She responded almost comically that she doubted herself hundreds of thousands of times – I think she implied that was every day.  But with every doubt, she decided to move forward anyway.

Doubt is a human condition.  Animals listen to their intuition and act accordingly – that smells funny – don’t eat it; that animal is mean – don’t introduce yourself; that animal is hungry – run.  If they doubt, they don’t live long enough to tell about it.  Humans don’t have that swift mechanism to keep doubt at bay.  Doubt has been allowed to grow and become a persistent bug in our psyche – a loud, noisy, irritating, hard to kill bug.  Like a beautiful hot summer day where you’re supposed to be enjoying the picnic, but the flies have found you and landed on everything.  They have poisoned the moment.  Now you’re swatting at them unsuccessfully, your head is down, you’re worrying about the food, you’re getting emotional and hot, now the sun is beating down on you…it’s a cycle we get into to when we listen to doubt.

When that fly starts buzzing in your ear, when the doubt starts creeping in – I shouldn’t say anything, what do I know, I’m sure I’m wrong, I’ll get in trouble…the list of shitty things we say to ourselves is never ending and gets meaner.  When it starts, simply ignore it.  Decide that you are worth it, and it is worth it to move forward.  Keep your head up, raise your hand, raise your voice, be honest, be open.

If it’s scary – start with something like ‘I don’t know if I have all the facts, but I believe the problem is …’; ‘I would like to take that assignment on – is there anyone who would like to help me?’

As we try things, we fail.  That’s ok – we learn a WHOLE LOT more when we fail than when we succeed.  As we try more things, we succeed.  That’s ok – it helps us try new things.

We get stronger by small actions on a regular basis.  It’s like strength training – you must grow slowly and surely. 

You got this! fffffffffff