Last week, I had the honor to be a guest on Fearless Fridays with David Gonzalez. David is a live streamer for social good. We first met at Summit Live 2016 in San Francisco. We remained connected. When he invited me to his podcast, I gladly accepted.
We spoke a lot about my background – where I was born, how we came to the United States, how I went from corporate America to launching my own coaching business. The common thread in all of those topics was fearlessness. Or, better said, acting in spite of fear and not allowing ourselves to be frozen by it.
This is a topic that business leaders are intimately aware of. You see, as you grow your career or launch your own business, you will repeatedly come across the barrier of fear.
Questions such as:
Am I good enough?
Can I really manage a team?
Can I handle this project?
Will my clients respect me?
What if the business fails?
The one thing that great business leaders need to do time and time again is choose to ACT even when they are afraid. They need to step up as leaders, because other people depend on them to do so.
And this is where my past experiences have helped me learn to become fearless. Whether it was tackling a new language and culture, carving a niche as a leader in non-profit sector, becoming recognized as a high-performing employee in a Fortune 100 company, or launching my own business. I tapped into the lessons learned from my youth about being fearless.
So, what do you need to do to become a fearless leader? What have I learned and incorporated in my life?
1. Recognize the fear.
The first step is the simplest, but sometimes the hardest. Recognize that you are afraid. Identify the fear – call it out. Shine a light on it. Don’t let it go unnoticed. If you don’t recognize its existence, you are giving the fear more power. It will influence your decisions, whether you recognize it or not. Take me for example. I hated asking questions in class (or in business, for that matter). I would rather figure it out on my own. I wasn’t aware of this until I entered the corporate world. I remember one of the first projects I received as an intern. I didn’t fully understand the directions. When my manager came to check on my progress, he quickly realized that I had not fully understood the assignment. He reminded me that it is better to ask for clarification. That’s when I realized that I was afraid of asking questions. I had been influenced by this fear in all areas of my life, and because I never admitted it to myself, it had a far greater influence on me then it should have.
2. Identify WHY you are feeling the fear.
Where is this fear coming from? Why are you feeling it? What is the true motivation for it? Once you isolate the true motivation for the fear, you can address it head on. You can eliminate or reduce that fear. For me, I realized that my fear of asking questions came because I didn’t want to be viewed as stupid. I was always the smart person in my class. Things came so easily to me due to my high IQ, and I allowed my identity to be wrapped around being the “smart one”. I realized that my fear was that if I were to ask a question, it might be viewed as a “stupid question” and then people wouldn’t see me as the smart one.
3. Address the fear.
Once I isolated the WHY for the fear, I was able to address it. I reminded myself that the truly smart thing to do is to ask more questions. The more questions I asked, the more understanding I would have, and the better results I could produce. And now, the fear no longer had control over me. I could make better decisions and take better action! The result, in this situation, was that I quickly mastered my career and became the high-performing C-suite destined employee. That is, until I decided to quit and launch my own company.
What about you? Whether you’re seeking to grow your career, move into management, or launch your own company, are you truly being fearless? Or are you allowing fear to dominate your reason and actions? A little personal and professional development goes a long way. Take a pause, identify your fear, figure out WHERE it is coming from, and then address it.
If you’re ready to truly become FEARLESS and courageously step up as the business leader you know you are capable of being, join Be Fearless 2017!