If you played little league, you remember the scene well. Every once in a while there would be a kid, or should I say “man child” that invoked FEAR in opposing teams. Why? Simple. They flat out threw hard. The kid would warm up and the pop of his catcher’s mitt could be heard from blocks away. You could hear the ball “sing” on its flight to the plate. Watching a kid with a special arm warm up is an lesson in intimidation.
When a kid throws hard, sometimes they are also wild. When your wild AND throw hard, that means a painful hit by pitch is a distinct possibility.
Velocity matters in pitching. It matters MORE in business.
What happens to the ball player when he is “tense” at the plate? He tightens up. It is nearly impossible to perform in sports when you are tight. Same is true in business.
Fear of the downside is present in all humans. In business it can be found in a number of areas….
- Failure, and loosing face with your peers and bosses
- Letting team members down
- Deadlines, and the stress that accompanies them
- Not being up to the job at hand, for a new assignment, promotion or project (living up to expectations)
- Loss of security, up to and including your job (termination)
- Fear of bringing bad news, or sensitive information forward
All of these are real.
Keeping fear at bay is a basic principle for performing at your best. When you don’t confront fear, like in little league, you tighten up. The likely outcome in business when you tighten up is one of businesses most deadly behaviors: INERTIA. IN-Action. Doing NOTHING. Moving forward is impossible when you’re not moving at all.
How can you deal with fear in the workplace?
- Ask yourself: What is the worst case scenario with this situation?
- Termination is usually it, but also a rarity in most businesses. What is the precedent in your organization?
- If you were gambling, what would you “set the odds” at the worst case scenario coming to reality?
- Put a number to the scenario? It’s probably in the single digit % wise!
- WHO can you acknowledge your feelings with proactively to confront the emotion? How can they help you recognize it, and start to gain traction with the feeling?
- A trusted co-worker or friend? Your boss? Mentor? Find SOMEONE, but acknowledge your feelings up-front so the understand the sensitivity, recognize the need for confidence and guide you accordingly.
The important thing with Fear is to recognize it quickly, then begin the process of addressing it. The longer you put off the feeling of fear, the longer you will experience INERTIA.
A simple principle of HUSTLE is constant motion. Not dealing with Fear will be yet another example of ankle weights on your marathon. Ankle weights slow down runners even at their peak fitness levels.
Fear comes to all of us, even All-Stars. Enjoy the greatest surrender in Major League All-Star History.