Fear is a funny animal. It can make you think the worst and keep you small.
How does fear keep you small? It may whisper to you daily in little phrases that you've come so accustomed to saying that you don't even know it's your fear talking.
I want to shed light on these phrases and transform them into fearless thinking. This will allow you to openly share your ideas, learn, grow and may even help you realize it's time to find a new role.
What fear says: That's not my job
What you're really saying is, I don't know the answer and don't want this on my plate.
When dealing with any work problem think of the downstream effect. Nine times out of ten it's a customer-facing issue. Customers keep the lights on and the reason you get paid. So, everything is your job.
Becoming fearless: Change your inner dialogue to "It's my job to help with any problems whether it be through ownership of the work or helping direct the problem to the correct department or resource. I am the go-to in all things work crisis because I help where possible."
What fear says: I don't know this
This thought paralyzes most people. By asking a question we will be seen as incompetent. First, let's address the word incompetent. A Google search reveals the definition as, "not having or showing the necessary skills to do something." Nowhere in this definition does it say this is a permanent state.
We assume that because we don't know something we are permanently incompetent.
Becoming fearless: First, we must get comfortable with incompetence. The only way to grow is to learn and the only way to learn is to start with a question you can't answer.
Second, ask a question but frame it up with what you do know. This shows an understanding of the basic situation/idea/issue.
Make a list of the facts you understand. Reference your list while you talk as this also shows tenacity and a sincere investment in the issue.
Third, make a note of the answer. If you're afraid of looking incompetent you will if you repeatedly ask the same questions.
What fear says: I'll be criticized for my ideas
This thought usually leads to sitting silently so as not to be seen as an idiot.
But what if your new idea never occurred to anyone else? What if it was the one idea that solved the problem or drove the thought process of the project in a different direction, creating a better thought out product or service?
I want to shift gears for just a second here. What is the one thing we and all of our work colleagues crave yet never get enough of? Feedback.
Are we headed in the right direction?
Becoming fearless: The best way to receive feedback is, you guessed it, sharing your ideas. Whether they are right or wrong you will receive instant feedback, guiding you down the right path.
Afraid your idea will be criticized? Start your edgy idea with something someone else in the room holds true. "Bob I know you've said our customer hates the minutia of the new dropdown menu. Why not do away with the menu altogether and instead create a yes or no question in its place?"
What fear says: I'm going to get fired
Whether this is actually true or not doesn't matter. These are words of a victim and, last time I checked, we all have free will over our choices. Are you going to standby and watch this unfold or are you going to play an active role in your life?
Becoming fearless: Beat 'em to the punch. Change the sentence above to "I will find a job that values my talents and skills." This thinking puts you in the driver's seat. If you are constantly fearing the "F" word then the company you work for doesn't value you. You're better than that!
Update your resume, brush up on your interview skills. Do anything but rest on your laurels.