It’s that scary time of year, Halloween, when fear is actually fun! But the rest of the time, the Hobgoblins of fear, regarding your career, are anything but fun. Overwhelming fear in your career can render you stuck, discontented, and even paralyzed. If you are expecting this article to tell you not to be afraid, stop reading now. That is lousy advice! If you are feeling fearful, that is a legitimate feeling that you deserve to have validated. Feeling your fear allows you to acknowledge and use tools to cope with that fear. There is no magic wand to make it go away but you do not have to let fear rule you. You will likely have to face fear throughout your career and life at each new stage.
This quote by Nancy Anderson, author of Work with Passion, is key: “Courage is not the absence of fear: rather, it is the ability to take action in the face of fear.” Keep in mind, the way you think about, and address fear is often a gender issue. Men are taught that fear is a signal to push through. They aren’t supposed to be afraid and certainly should not show it. And don’t cry! In sports, men and boys are taught to look their opponent in the eye and be fearless. The watch word men are taught is: Do Something! Women are more frequently taught that fear is a sign to stop. There is an ongoing message to women that “It’s dangerous out there!” There is some truth to that, especially for women. Sexual predators, domestic violence, and sexual harassment are just a few of the risks for women. I can remember, visiting my mother once in the hospital after her serious surgery, as I left her parting words were, “Be careful.” Throughout my entire life my parents admonished me to be careful! Is it any wonder that I have spent a lifetime having to manage my fear, especially in the workplace?
Here are some of the workplace fears that often come to light with my clients:
- Fear of being laid off or terminated.
- Fear of being harassed.
- Fear of making a major mistake.
- Fear of not getting a promotion.
- Fear of wage stagnation.
- Fear of asking for a raise.
- Fear of being left out of the circle of influence.
- Fear of going back to school.
- Fear of interviews.
- Fear of changing careers.
- Fear of business networking.
- Fear of giving presentations.
- Fear of retiring from the workforce.
Keep in mind there are two types of fears in this list, those things that happen TO US and those things that WE MUST INITIATE. Both fears have at their core one antidote — ACTION. Without action the risk is a fear spiral. Fear followed by inaction results in a sense of helplessness, hopelessness, depression, and paralysis.
You may be thinking, there is nothing I can do about my company deciding to lay employees off. True, you can’t control that corporate decision but there are several actions you CAN take. Always have your resume up to date and be adding new skills, certifications, and education. Plus, having a good Financial Planner or a Financial Coach will help you save money, create a cushion, and reduce debt should a layoff occur. Additionally, you always need to be networking and nurturing your network. I have two family members who had career doors open for them because of my networking contacts.
Maybe, you are terrified by interviewing! Develop a strong list of expected questions and have answers, stories, and examples for each. Do multiple mock interviews. This is a step I frequently take with clients, even those individuals that are not freaked out by interviews.
Right now, go through the list in this article and circle a couple of career fears you have. Identify one action you can take for each one. This will show you that there IS something you can do. With every action you take, fear diminishes.
Perhaps your career Hobgoblins are keeping you from the success you strive for in your career and you need more in-depth information and assistance. Don’t let those fear Hobgoblins win! I have guided terrified and stuck women to a point where they are in charge of fear, not the other way around. Do we need to talk? High-Heeled Success offers a 45-minute complimentary telephone consultation. Email Kay@highheeledsuccess.com or call (513) 561-4288 to set a time to determine our game plan for locking up those career fear Hobgoblins.