Author: Steve Deighton
Too often I hear of people who are held back because they feared the unknown; they did not want to leave their comfort zone. Fear is a natural defense mechanism that has saved our bacon on more than one occasion, but it also prevents us from moving in a more progressive direction. I found it funny that more people fear public speaking than they do dying, which means you have less fear of being in the coffin than being the person providing the eulogy.
A few points to consider….
1. Growth requires change. Many people fear change and live a very traditional stagnant life. Although they may be content with not changing, they will certainly be passed by others who are more open to new experiences.
2. Desire can trump fear. If this wasn’t the case, no one would get married or have children. Both are frightening experiences for many people, but the joys of both can be immeasurable.
3. Overcoming fear requires realizing what can and what cannot hurt you. As a child I had a strong fear of spiders after having been bitten. Although I did not develop “spidey senses”, as I grew older I realized spiders are relatively harmless and actually provide great value in controlling the population of other insects. Now, living in Texas, we have enormous spiders and yet I do not fear them.
4. Your employer expects you to grow. Personal development is a key competency in nearly every organization. It is much less expensive for an employer to develop employees internally than to continually bring in more developed people from outside the organization. Most employers realize this and provide incentives for their employees to improve their knowledge, skills and abilities.
History is full of examples of individuals who put their fears behind them and took on new challenges, crossing oceans, building great buildings, creating new technologies, defending our freedoms, and teaching the next generation to set their fears aside and grow.
At Profiles, we provide assessment tools which measure an individual’s openness to new experiences. Having this insight is important for self-awareness and more importantly for understanding what the employee will need to grow and what you should expect of the employee. If you find you have someone who is very traditional in their approach and more resistant to change, then your approach with them must acknowledge they have may fears. Take the time to understand if they have the desire to overcome their fear and help them put their fears aside.
How do you overcome your fears?