Lessons in Leadership – Confront Fear Head On

LeadershipIf you are anything like me, you are your own worst critic and probably downplay all of your accomplishments. You may even suffer from “faker syndrome”, and consider yourself an imposter. As a leader, I attempt to change this mindset every day. I’ve even come to a point where I try to turn this perceived “weakness” into a strength. Dave Kerpen first introduced me to this thinking process in one of his LinkedIn articles and presented the concepts again in his new book “Likeable Leadership“. My personal criticism is a sign that I will never settle for the status quo, and I will continue to evolve throughout my career.

Although progress every day, there are times where I still struggle with a negative mindset. There are many factors that contribute to this mindset, but fear is the primary cause of my self-defeating behavior. How often do we avert our eyes from a task or opportunity because we fear rejection or our ability to perform the task at hand? Why do we do this to ourselves? On Thursday, I was inspired by one of my students, Carlos, because he provided me with wisdom that was well beyond his years. His challenge: Why are we afraid of asking for things? We have a 50/50 chance of hearing the words YES! Those are pretty good odds, and I need to thank Carlos for giving me my dose of courage for the day and inspiring me to “poke the box” for the rest of the week. This idea fits various contexts and is not limited to situations that involve us to ask for help. In the moment, we either have it or we don’t!

Over the last six years, I have been the Director of the Summer College Achievement Program at Eastern Nazarene College, a task that has been both challenging and fulfilling. Not only am I the Director, I was the person who had the vision/drive to bring the program into existence. I am extremely proud of this accomplishment, but I usually sit on the sidelines when people are discussing student success programs.

Why do I do this?

FEAR!

What do I have to be afraid of?

NOTHING!

On Friday, I had the opportunity to put my bravery into action, thank you Carlos! People often call me to inquire about the Summer CAP, and I am happy to oblige. Typically these conversations only last for a few minutes, and the other person is satisfied with the information they received. My latest conversation was different, and it didn’t end after the traditional barrage of questions. I actively listened to my colleagues goals, and thought of ways I could assist in the development of their bridge program. The discussion was amazing, and I was able to schedule a formal consulting call for later in the month.

Would this opportunity occurred if I feared rejection? Probably not! What are you afraid of? What are you doing to reconcile these fears? I’d love to hear your strategies for success, please share!

Thanks for stopping by!

EC

@EA_Clark

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