Leadership: How to Consciously Engage, Inspire, Connect, and Lead: Part 2 (Face your Fears)
Summary from Part 1
In How to Consciously Engage, Inspire, Connect, and Lead: Part 1, we discussed the following principles:
- When you’re happy and confident, you give others around you the opportunity to do the same.
- You can affect people with your communication skills in one-to-one situations, small groups, and large groups.
- Negative unconscious thoughts can damage our feelings and behavior.
- It’s empowering to bring to consciousness our negative fear-based thoughts.
When you’re out of touch with why you behave the way you do, you put yourself and those you lead at risk of missed opportunities. Those you mentor and lead are relying on you to act in the highest regards, and not to react. Identifying your anxiety-provoking thoughts can help you act out of authentic confidence.
Acting versus Reacting: Shifting Thoughts, Feelings, and Behaviors
Thoughts affect behavior and feelings. The reverse is also true. Your behaviors and feelings affect your thoughts as well. This is a critical concept to grasp thanks to behaviorist psychological theory and research. This means that by changing your behavior, you can change your thoughts. For example, perhaps you are fearful of making mistakes and you have a perfectionist tendency. You either avoid seeking out or turn down public speaking engagements where you can influence a large group of people. Your thought is “I’ll make a mistake and make a fool of myself in front of the audience. That will mean I’m no good at public speaking.”
Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
The way you change this thought is by preparing your speech and presenting it to the audience you fear. Chances are that with preparation, you will not make a fool of yourself. We’ll talk more about generalized thinking and mistakes in a different part of this series. “I’ll make a fool of myself” is a generalized thought that needs attention. “Mistake” needs to be further objectified to shift your thoughts to affect you more positively. Your action of speaking despite feeling fear combined with being successful creates the new thought “I did a good job with that speech. It’s no longer true that I’m “no good at public speaking”. “No good” is black and white thinking that distorts reality.
Choose Manageable Actions
To feel the fear and do it anyway, choose a manageable action that looks your fear in the face. It might be looking up contact information for local service organizations to schedule free future presentations about the services you offer. It might be something as manageable as walking/standing and speaking with more confidence in your body and voice even though it feels difficult. Perhaps you would like to address a sensitive topic with someone. You might start by writing down or voice recording what you’d like to say to that person. Either way, take action to empower yourself. Experience the achievement of facing your fear.
To your fear-facing success,