Conquering Workplace Fear: How To Surf The Wave To Freedom
60+ participants joined us to witness DRIVEN Specialist and Leadership Coach Cara Power’s presentation Fear & The Workplace on May 7th at Dorsey & Whitney, and rode out on a wave. That wave was a “wave of fear”, and these folks were now equipped to mount it like experienced surfers, understanding its origins, its potential, and its purpose.
Cara often shares with the clients of Cara Power Coaching that the fears we harbor, which are likely holding us back in our careers, are disguised as procrastination and anger. Rooted in distrust, blame and arrogance in the workplace, these fears are categorically irrational, and therefore, are the fears we’re most in control of. Once we identify a particular fear as such, we can start to think of it as a wave to surf upon. And before that wave rolls ashore and dissolves, there’s some energy to be leveraged from it. It would be here that Cara might optimistically ask, “Is your surfboard ready?” As a highlight of her presentation, she offered us the following….a surprisingly realistic two-step process toward liberation.
The first step in obliterating your workplace fear is to lay it on the table. What is the nature of this unpleasant emotion you’re experiencing? Is it related to rejection, failure, embarrassment, or even success? Such fears are wrapped up in the future, and are rooted only in belief. Cara reminded us that beliefs are not actual; They are simply the noise of your internal critic, who likes to be protective of you by keeping you on a short leash in life. This critic feeds on the self-doubt you exhibit when you’ve wandered to the edge of your comfort zone, and deprives you of opportunity by keeping your mind away from the present. Even the highest achievers among us have internal critics stubbornly reinforcing the beliefs that we’re not good enough for a promotion, not smart enough to speak up in meetings, and most tragically, not even qualified to hold our current position, all without a stitch of evidence to back it up. How does one manage such an authoritative security guard? Cara offered us an approach that’s easy to remember.
Nothing puts a process into perspective quite like a clever acronym. If a wave of fear has sent you plunging into a sea of darkness, come up for A.I.R. (Awareness, Identification, and Release). Cara demonstrated that being Aware of your internal critic’s motives and patterns will reveal why your specific fears exist. If public speaking is your vulnerable spot, for instance, make note of your internal critic’s role each time you hit the podium. Once you’ve sized up your internal critic, attach some Identifiers to it. Give your internal critic a human name, like Betty, distinguishing her from you. Since public speaking is your fear, you can predict the types of disguises Betty likes to wear (perfectionism, impostor syndrome), and call her out. Now you can begin to Release yourself from Betty’s stranglehold and seize control over your own actions. Before you deliver your next presentation, you’ll be in a position to condescendingly thank Betty for her offer, and let her know, “I’ve got it from here”.
You can think about and talk about overcoming fear all you want. But the only real change resides in action. In addition to this two-stepper that Cara brilliantly and eloquently presented, she gave us several other profound outlooks on fear, backed up by tools to take action and achieve real progress. DRIVEN members can view the full HD video of Cara’s May 7th presentation, including some insightful audience interaction, by linking HERE. If you haven’t yet become a member, quarantine your internal critic and join our community today.