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To identify blog topics I sometimes do a writing exercise where I set a timer for a defined period and write a list of whatever ideas come to mind.   It was surprising just how long my list was after just a few minutes.   To refine these ideas, I created a mind map to identify connections between these topics and visualize patterns.   At the end the map looked like a messy wiring diagram with lots of arrows connecting topics on different ends of the mind map.  

What was the theme that came up and had relevance to multiple topics?  It will probably not surprise anyone that it was that most pervasive and corrosive of emotions, Fear. It showed up on its own, connected to success and failure.   It showed up as a subtext to confidence and leadership presence, speaking up, and motivation just to name a few.

Regardless of where our fears come from, facing them is never easy.   A key action is to [cialis generic] name the fear.   It is not, however, as simple as to say that it is the action or activity we fear.   The real fear may lie beneath cialis generic, in something that is much more primal.  

Let’s look at an example.   For the sake of argument, we’ll look at Polly, who has been asked to present her project to a packed auditorium of her peers. As she prepares for the presentation she remembers every time she made comments at classes or meetings and these were met with icy silence or derision.   She began to keep her comments to herself or limit them to agreeing with her more vocal colleagues. At the core of her fear may be the sense that others do not value her contribution and think her less qualified or capable. Her presentation may just confirm their worst perceptions of her capabilities. In her mind, it is an invitation to show all her failings in the most public of ways. Her fear is not simply of making a presentation, but of being seen as an impostor who does not have the qualifications or skills to do her job. What can she do to overcome her fears?

Change the story – Understand that her perception is a product of her own fears

How much of this fear is based on “Truth”? Polly has interpreted every one of her colleagues’ rude interruptions or neutral reactions as evidence of her inadequacy.   In my experience, most of these interpretations are our own.   Her colleagues’ lack of positive response may have less to do with their perception of her skill than with their own desire for recognition, self-assurance and habit of speaking up over everyone else. Cialis generic   their behavior may have nothing to do with polly – rather it is a story she tells herself, her interpretation that validates the story she tells herself.

Stop taking things personally

Recognizing that others’ behavior reflects on them, not us, is a great place to start.   Taking herself out of the equation may allow her to see their comments objectively, and even participate cialis generic in the conversation without worrying about their perception of her. Not taking everything personally or herself so seriously will allow her to develop perspective, and in doing so remove the negative filters through which she has seen things.

Prepare, prepare, prepare, and prepare some more

Preparing for her presentation, including anticipating objection, questions and comments is invaluable.   TED talk presenters, who look so smooth and easygoing in their video talks, go through multiple rehearsals, critiques and reviews, as outlined in an HBR article a few months back ()

What is the worst that could happen? And what can she learn?

Having made the investment of time and energy to make the most of her opportunity, Polly can ask herself, “What’s the worst that can happen?” If she follows the first recommendation to change the story, stops taking everything personally, she can actually use the experience to learn and demonstrate this most valuable to qualities, the ability to learn and grow. Changing the story from one of expecting to fail to one of seeing potential and opportunity, no matter the immediate reaction, can radically transform the experience.   In doing so, it can transform one’s perception both by others and of self.

What other tactics have you used to work through your fears?

     


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