Overcoming Fear: Discovering Your New Normal
J. Oswald Sanders in his book Spiritual Leadership writes, “The person who sees the difficulties so clearly that he does not discern the possibilities cannot inspire a vision in others.”
Do you see difficulties as possibilities? Most of the time I don’t! Fear is a powerful feeling, so I think it’s important to ask, “Why am I afraid?” Is it the fear of failure? Shame? Fear of not having control? Great leaders discover ways to push past fear, discover new possibilities, and inspire a vision in others!
I would lie if I told you I have found the secret to overcoming fear. I still get afraid. Taking risks is a major part of life and business, but we often fail taking the daring next step. There are a few ways that have helped me overcome my fear.
1. Faith. I am a Christian, and my faith gives me confidence and my identity. I believe faith plays a crucial role in our lives. I could not overcome my fears without the person and work of Jesus Christ in my life. You may not be a Christian or a person of faith, but in my experience, faith drives me to confidence in my decisions.
2. Mind Change. I had to (and still do) shift the way I see risks and challenges. I started to realize I was afraid of losing control (or the perception of control). I started to transform my thinking from failure to freedom. I created spaces in my environment to fail. I love what Michael Jordan said, “I don’t remember every win I had, but I do remember every loss.” I had to see my losses as opportunities to get better.
3. Accountability Team. This is so important. I have a team of people I do NOT work with that holds me accountable and motivates me. Fear is crippling, but when you have a small intentional community of people motivating you-you will move forward. This is why people hire coaches! They want someone who can directly invest in them, and motivate them to move forward.
4. Developing & Empowering Others. The greatest calling for the leader is to develop and empower others. One of the greatest ways to reduce fear in my life is to develop and empower others to lead. By developing and empowering others, I am naturally instilling trust to take new risks. Leadership is influence, and being a genuine leader means being vulnerable. It is okay to take risks, and moving past fear is often a team effort.
We all face fear in different ways, but it can leave us crippled. Don’t let fear control you. Find the root of your fear, and push forward! I continue to be stretched by my faith, creating mind change, having a strong accountability team, and developing and empowering others. Overcome your fear by seeing difficulties as possibilities. Give yourself space to fail, and grow from those challenges. Find your new normal by inspiring vision in others by leading past fear.
Written by Jonathan Rector
Executive Leadership Coach