“Fear stifles our thinking and actions. It creates indecisiveness that results in stagnation. I have known talented people who procrastinate indefinitely rather than risk failure. Lost opportunities cause erosion of confidence, and the downward spiral begins.” – Charles Stanley
Earlier this week I wrote on the topic of confidence. It’s a powerful trait. Having confidence or not having it are both powerful conditions that can lead to defining, life-changing outcomes. Today, this quote caught my eye because fear is one of the biggest confidence busters. Fear can stifle our decisions and actions.
Fear causes us to become immobile.
We don’t adapt to the changing economy or market because we fear straying from what’s familiar. We don’t embrace new opportunities because we fear the uncertainty that they bring.
Fear causes us to delay or postpone how we grow and impact those around us.
We don’t promote employees because we fear their replacements won’t do the job as well. We don’t invest in our people because we’re afraid they’ll leave.
How can choosing to do nothing be safer than risking something? What are the results from our indecisions or simply deciding not to act? As Charles Stanley said, it’s stagnation, and that’s only the beginning. When a business stagnates, decline soon follows. Sales drop off. Customers go away. Performers find more promising job opportunities. We lose confidence in our own abilities, and our customers and employees follow suit.
How we can face our fears:
- The next time your fears keep you from acting, write those fears down. Think about every last one of those potentially awful results. Then, brainstorm and write down what could or will happen if you do nothing. I think you’ll find that the likely outcomes from your “do nothing” list are at least as bad as and likely worse than if you simply act.
- Seek advice. Confide in someone you trust and let them listen to your fears. Sometimes someone who is not neck deep in the fire can help you look at things differently.
- Borrow courage from someone who believes in you. We all go through seasons of doubt but it is very appropriate to borrow someone else’s courage. Surround yourself with positive and competent thinkers and plan through how you can make decisions and get moving.
- Crap is good! Don’t think that your decision has to be the final and perfect decision. Unlike non-existent decisions, crappy decisions can be changed and altered.
Leadership is a privilege and an opportunity, but easy it is not. Strive to be a leader who his faces fears with authority and courage. You and the people you lead will be glad you did.