Growing up, I had a number of irrational fears, the most embarrassing of which was the fear of the shark in our (above ground) pool. Many thanks to Jaws for planting that seed in my young mind. Fear is common to all of us. There is a scene in the Dark Night Rises Where Bane says to Batman, “You think darkness is your ally. But you merely adopted the dark. I was born in it, molded by it…” I have 4 children, and what I know is that they all cried at birth. What were those first tears about? They weren’t tears of regret or love, they were tears of fear — you were born in it.
Too many leaders operate from a base of fear.
- Fear of the worst happening.
- Being consumed with what others think of of you: Will they like you? Will they accept you? Will they think you are competent?
- Fear of making what you know to be the best decision because of the kickback you know you’ll get.
Living with constant worry, anxiety or fear is damaging to our leadership influence and to our physical health. Though our bodies are hardwired to respond when real danger is present by firing up our nervous system so we can respond well, when we are captive to fear, our bodies are “on” all of the time. We shake. We struggle to sleep.
Fear restrains, restricts and keeps us from realizing our full potential.
In his book The Heart and the Fist, former Truman Scholar, Rhodes Scholar and Navy Seal Eric Greitens tells us how to banish fear. While training as a Navy SEAL officer, Greitens learned that banishing fear as a leader is easier than you think. He writes:
For fear to take hold of you, it needs to be given room to run in your mind. As a leader, all the room in your mind is taken up by a focus on your men. I got to a point where my senses were attuned to every physical, verbal, emotional, even spiritual tremor in the crew. Who looks like he’s about to lose his temper? Who is worried about his kid? Who’s limping? Who’s feeling sorry for himself? Who needs to be coached? Who needs to be challenged? Once I came to know these men, leadership…wasn’t really hard at all; it became easy because I had no place for my own pain, my own misery, my own self-pity.
Fear is banished when we get the focus off of ourselves, our needs, our best, and we become genuinely for others.
Week in and week out, we have the privilege of sharing this transformational message of liberation. We are for you. We genuinely want to see fear cast out of you. Take a step to get irrational fear out and bold confidence in today. How? Get focused on your people getting ahead. Focus on someone else winning.