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Do it scared: How to have courage over confidence

Courage isn’t the absence of fear – it’s taking that step forward in spite of it. Learn how embracing fear and taking bold actions can revolutionize your leadership.

Nine times out of 10, we as business leaders stunt the growth of our companies by putting self-imposed limitations on the ability of the company to grow. All too often, this is the result of fear of failure. Although fear itself isn’t inherently negative, as it indicates a deep sense of care, it becomes a problem when you’re hesitant to take risks that could take your company to the next level.

You may think you’re immune, as business leaders are natural risk-takers, but fear does not discriminate. We are still susceptible to allowing fear to guide our decisions, and it’s a struggle particularly prevalent among women business leaders, too.

Why do I feel this way?

Fear is something deeply rooted in human nature. It’s a natural response designed to protect us from harm, simulate fight or flight responses, and warn us of potential risks. Since the dawn of time, fear has triggered physiological responses within us that have allowed us to stay safe from predators and natural disasters.

Do it scared

This type of fear is just as real and impactful as our ancestral fears.

But in the business world where there are no grizzly bears to worry about, fear manifests differently. Instead of an increased heart rate and a spike in adrenaline, fear looks more like reluctance or aversion to new ideas. It often manifests as an overwhelming urge to avoid taking risks, leading to a preference for sticking with the status quo. This results in opting for strategies that are far less effective simply because they seem like the safer option, rather than what might be best for the business itself.

This type of fear is just as real and impactful as our ancestral fears. Yet, unlike the physical dangers of the past, these fears can prove more subtle and insidious, quietly influencing our decisions and stifling innovation. But it’s you and only you who can take the leaps of faith necessary to take your company to new heights.

Learning to grow

In my coaching practice, I see business leaders every day who feel paralyzed by their fear of failure. I’ve come to realize that instead of conquering the fear altogether, the key is to learn how to move forward even if you’re afraid – essentially, doing it scared. Embracing fear with open arms transforms it from a debilitating obstacle into a powerful catalyst for growth.

When you accept that fear is a natural part of the journey, it loses some of its power over you. There may never be a time when these fears disappear completely, but there will always be a new level to grow to or a new risk to take that you won’t want to miss out on. By facing fear head-on, we tap into a reservoir of potential that might otherwise be lost.

But how do you truly ‘do it scared’?

A guide to doing it scared

Embrace vulnerability: Openly acknowledging your fears and uncertainties can be incredibly freeing. Don’t be afraid to share your concerns with trusted loved ones or key team members. By showing that vulnerability is a strength, you create a culture where everyone on your team can confront their fears together.

Set bold goals: Challenge yourself by setting goals that push the boundaries of your comfort zone. These goals should be ambitious yet achievable in order to serve as a motivator for growth. By aiming high, you’ll uncover new strengths you didn’t even know you had, and inspire your team to strive for excellence right alongside you.

Develop a failure-resilient culture: Foster an organizational culture that views failure as a learning opportunity. Encourage your team to see mistakes as valuable lessons rather than setbacks. Schedule dedicated time to reflect on failures together, talking about what you can inform future strategies. By normalizing failure as part of the process, you create an environment where creativity and innovation are encouraged.

Do it scared

By embracing your fears and using them as a springboard, you not only enhance your own leadership capabilities but also inspire your team to reach new heights of creativity and success.

Take incremental risks: Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps to make taking risks more approachable. This helps reduce the fear associated with big challenges and also allows you to track your progress and celebrate small wins along the way, hopefully making the overall journey less intimidating.

Leverage support systems: If you’re still feeling stuck, don’t hesitate to utilize mentorship, coaching and peer support to help navigate your fears. Having a network of trusted advisors and colleagues provides valuable guidance and can give you a different perspective on your fear.

Courage isn’t the absence of fear, but the willingness to act despite it. By embracing your fears and using them as a springboard, you not only enhance your own leadership capabilities but also inspire your team to reach new heights of creativity and success.

Don’t let fear hold you back. Take the leap, do it scared, and watch as you and your team transform challenges into opportunities for growth.

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