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Fear at work.

May 29, 2012

Fear is at work at work.

One day, years ago now, I realized how much fear I had. It certainly spilled over into my work. Fear that I wouldn’t perform. Fear of what others thought of me. Fear that I wasn’t good enough. Fear fear fear.

So I spent the better part of a year studying fear. I sought to understand what different philosophies, including my own, had to say on the matter. I also sought to understand just what it was I was so afraid of.

No matter where I looked, what I uncovered was that we were not made to be afraid. Imagine my surprise.

As for my personal fear, when I played it out to the very end (i.e., asking myself, so if that happens, then what? Then what? Then what? Etc.)  it always ended up with me alone, hungry and dying under a bridge. Seriously – that’s where it ended up.

So then I began to experiment with living without fear. Just to play with it – what might happen if, just for today, I let go of fear based behavior and completely went for it (with “it” in this instance being reaching for my potential in that moment.) Imagine my surprise. It worked. It works.

What I fear more than anything these days is not reaching my potential on this planet while I am here. Which, ironically, requires fearless living. What I want is to look back on a life well lived. And to have some fun and be of service along the way.

I talk to a lot of people these days who work in the corporate world and there is a lot of fear at work. The double meaning here and it is intentional. There is a lot of fear in the workplace and fear has a grip on us. People are afraid that someone will outperform them. People are afraid of losing their jobs and not knowing how they will pay their bills. People are afraid to leave abusive work environments. People are afraid to leave big or steady paychecks even if their something in them is crying out for something else. People are afraid to change their zip code, even if keeping it requires sacrifices that just don’t quite feel right.

Our corporate work world will feed on fear. A ton of people wandering around driven out of this kind of fear will literally work themselves to death.

Learn to examine your fear. I do it all the time now – its helpful. When I am halted or find myself not doing something I need to do, I just examine it. Usually there is an irrational fear at work. Once I look, it loses its grip and on I go.

Living fearlessly is how we reach our potential on this planet. It is how we discover ourselves and our gifts. And it is how we contribute our potential at work. Ironically, this is exactly what will make all those things you are afraid of at work way less likely to happen. Imagine your surprise.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Ahmad Alqahtani permalink
    September 30, 2012 5:18 pm

    I have been living this fear for two years and i experienced the worst a couple of weeks ago. I am afraid of talking in meetings and propose ideas, even though the are innovative. I did not realize the irrationality of my fear until i started thinking about my boss stalking me on facebook and linkedin. I am glad that I stumbled upon your blog. It is uplifting.

    How can I communicate this situation to my boss?

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