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:

  1. When you’re happy and confident, you give others around you the opportunity to do the same.
  2. You can affect people with your communication skills in one-to-one situations, small groups, and large groups.
  3. Negative unconscious thoughts can damage our feelings and behavior.
  4. It’s empowering to bring to consciousness our negative fear-based thoughts.

Missed Opportunities

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,



Tina GamesApril 16th, 2014 at 10:47 am

I’ve really enjoyed your tips series, Cher! ~ With this one, I love how you invite us to “feel the fear” – and to take action anyway. ~ It’s always smart to make “proactive” decisions – over “reactive” decisions. ~ Proactive decisions tend to yield to more positive results. 🙂

SangitaApril 16th, 2014 at 11:52 am

Hi Cher, Love all the information in part 1 and 2. Feel the fear and do it anyway caught my attention right away, as I was there once and doing that helped:) Thank you for sharing.

Marit GrendstadApril 16th, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Thanks Cher! I like the fear-facing success way:-) Time to get the trolls out in the sun!

Bonnie NussbaumApril 16th, 2014 at 4:44 pm

I love the manageable actions idea, Cher! Just break things down until it’s manageable…

Tammy CrawleyApril 16th, 2014 at 5:14 pm

Great advice share feel the fear and do it anyway! Everyone has fear and getting past it is a majoy accomplishment

Cher GundersonApril 16th, 2014 at 5:26 pm

Yes, Tammy-in and of itself, the action you take despite the fear is empowering.
To your daring actions,

Cher GundersonApril 16th, 2014 at 5:28 pm

That’s a biggie for how I’ve overcome my own fears. It also manages the overwhelm we many times feel when making big (or little) changes that threaten our security in the known.
To your action management,

Cher GundersonApril 16th, 2014 at 5:30 pm

Get those trolls out 🙂
To your fear-facing success Marit!

Cher GundersonApril 16th, 2014 at 5:32 pm

You have really faced major risks in the bold actions you’ve taken in writing, publishing and marketing your book and going to the Dr. Oz interview. You are the epitomy of these techniques!
To your continuous success,

Cher GundersonApril 16th, 2014 at 5:41 pm

Great point about proactive decisions. Part of fear management is also making decisions with ease and confidence without over-thinking them. There’s a whole process for delineating when a decision is being made out of fear and when it’s made out of confidence. There’s a different “energy” with each. I bring this up because some people think that if they make a decision quickly, it’s a confident decision; there are other components to make it healthy and as you put it “proactive”.
Thank you for your insight and for spurring further conversation Tina,

ChristineApril 16th, 2014 at 6:19 pm

Hi Cher,
Your post is filled with so much helpful and actionable information. We all face fears at some point, in one way or another. Everyone would benefit by keeping these tips handy and turning to them the next time the fear monster rears it’s ugly head up.

Teena EvertApril 17th, 2014 at 11:11 am

Cher – I find your posts so valuable as I navigate Toastmasters and face my fears to successfully be able to give speeches. You are so encouraging with your practical tips for success, Thank you!

Teena Evert

Cher GundersonApril 17th, 2014 at 2:53 pm

Yes, reminder notes are helpful:) I love how you describe the “fear monster”. I like to think of it as in the movie, Monsters Inc., where the monsters who are trying to induce fear actually are quite funny and at heart are sweet. We can treat the wounded fearing parts of ourselves that way.
To your taming of the fear monster,

Cher GundersonApril 17th, 2014 at 2:57 pm

This is so cool that you are out there in Toastmasters stepping into your potential. I’m so glad you find these tips valuable. Keep rockin’ your audience!

marthaApril 18th, 2014 at 7:54 am

I love this series and the timing is perfect since I’m preparing for my workshop next month. thank you!

Cher GundersonApril 26th, 2014 at 2:09 pm

Martha, so cool that this article was synchronized to help you at the necessary moment for your workshop (which by the way looks FABULOUS). And just think, you attracted it all with your mindset and choices to step into your potential 🙂

Cher 🙂

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