Feel the fear…and do it anyway

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More than 25 years ago a book with this title was written by Susan Jeffers.  It became a best seller and the phrase entered the everyday vernacular.

It’s a powerful phrase, and the need for these words of encouragement hasn’t changed.

In fact, they are more relevant than ever as we enter an era that the World Economic Forum has dubbed the fourth industrial revolution.

There is no doubt that we are living in times of unprecedented change. This can be liberating and exciting, or daunting and confusing.

The question is – do you want to thrive through this change, or struggle to survive it?

Part of how you respond to that question will be whether you let the fear of change propel you forward or hold you back.  The choice is in your hands.

Fear is one of those words that evokes negative images.  It doesn’t have to be like that.  In fact, a little bit of fear is a good thing. It’s like an energy boost that can make you feel more alert and feel the fearinspire action.

When you feel the discomfort arise, notice it and welcome the fact that your brain is telling you to be on alert. Ask yourself what has triggered the feeling.  It could be because you are trying something new or you are uncertain about what to do.

Rather than trying to ignore how you are feeling, recognise that a level of discomfort or uncertainty is natural during times of change.

This acceptance makes it easier to then make a wise decision as to how to best move through the fear and to take action.

Taking this approach helps to stop the fear from becoming overwhelming.  When fear is overwhelming it can paralyse you from making a decision and consequently stop you from taking action.

American singer and actress, Queen Latifah, said:
"Fear can be good when you're walking past an alley at night or when you need to check the locks on your doors before you go to bed, but it's not good when you have a goal and you're fearful of obstacles. We often get trapped by our fears, but anyone who has had success has failed before."

You can’t change the fact that the world around you is changing.  You can only change how you chose to respond to it.

Don’t let yourself be trapped by the past or a fear of change. Instead, step forward and embrace the uncertainty that lies ahead.  Be focused, fearless and forward looking – so you can take action in the best direction.

As I always say – change happens. Make it work for you.

michelle gibbingsMichelle Gibbings - Michelle Gibbings is a change and leadership expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress in complex environments. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.  For more information: www.michellegibbings.com

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