"Named must your fear be before banish it you can " Yoda
Hidden fears hold us back in both life and leadership but actually can work for us if they are brought into the light and put under scrutiny - and the best way to do this is to share them. The more I coach others on courageous leadership, the more I see my own experiences echoed back to me, and I am struck by how much we hide from each other what we in fact share - our humanity. I am frequently asked "is it just me?" and see visible relief as the burden is shared and validated. It's one of the great privileges of coaching to hear the inner voice of another.
So here are three "truths" about fear that arise from both my personal and coaching experiences.
Fear is self-fulfilling
The more we try to protect ourselves from what we fear, the more we seem to create the conditions that create that which we fear. Common examples are:
I fear rejection & isolation and so I limit my contribution - ironically however this reduces my connection with others and increases my isolation
I fear failure and so I take fewer risks - ironically however this reduces my performance and thus I risk failing
I fear not being good enough and so I withdraw - ironically however this means I never know how good I could have been
Awareness unblocks us
The more we see the irony of our fears through the eyes of another, the more we see a positive way forward:
If I really want to connect & be valued, I need to build my contribution to others
If success in this is so important to me, its worth taking some risks to achieve it
My best is enough but it will still need preparation, planning and application
Sharing our fears grows mutual courage
We are not alone in our inner struggles. Sharing our fears with those we trust deepens our awareness and inspires others to grow their own courage - and in doing so strengthens our own.
What self-fulfilling fear is in your life today?
Who deserves to be en-courage-d by hearing your story?