How Your Fear is an Opportunity for Growth

  • Published on:
    January 6, 2019
  • Reading time by:
    6 minutes

As we are all still in goal-setting mode for a new year and excited about what this year holds for us in terms of personal and professional growth, I got to thinking about how we often allow our own insecurities and fears to derail our progress. On an intellectual level, we all know that our biggest growth and success is waiting for us on the other side of fear and we just have to find the courage to push past that fear and go and claim our greatness.

I know that’s easier said than done and I don’t expect you to tackle your biggest goal straight off the bat. I always advise progress over Perfection and I’m a fan of the rather pragmatic approach of starting small and gaining confidence from smaller victories. Here are my top 3 tips for how you can do it:

Start Small

We all have so many things we haven’t tried or that we procrastinate about doing. It may seem silly to you, but I promise you that we are all the same and we all have the same silly little idiosyncrasies. Some people I know have never tried sushi or Mexican food. One older client would love to attend a Zumba class, but she’s not very fit and she fears she doesn’t have enough rhythm to not make a fool of herself in front of an entire class full of people. We put off cleaning out our junk drawer or donating those clothes that are too small for us. We build things up in our minds and talk ourselves out of doing these things every single time. 

So, my challenge to you this week, is to start small. Start with something like trying that sushi or organizing that junk drawer. I promise you that you will feel invincible for having done it and you will wonder why you were putting it off for so long. 

Be Consistent 

Once you have taken the first step to overcome a small fear and you have done something you were afraid to do or you were putting off, you need to make sure that you don’t lose momentum. Do at least one small thing every week and gradually increase that ‘fear factor’ as your confidence grows. See, every small fear that you overcome and every step that you take on this journey, helps you to realize your own abilities and power and it improves your confidence in small, incremental doses. And the more you improve your confidence and develop your ability to have the courage to get past your own fearful voice, the braver you become and the more invincible you will feel. 

Keep Learning 

Few things give us as much confidence as knowing a lot about a subject or a technology and being able to competently do whatever it is that we set out to do. I am a massive proponent of lifelong learning because it ensures that we don’t stagnate and fall behind the curve. I am also a huge fan of technology and all the opportunities we have for learning and sharing skills, online. Perhaps you want to improve your Excel skills or you want to learn more about project management or digital marketing. You may want to learn to bake the perfect chocolate brownies or how to sew your own clothes.

No matter what it is that you want to learn, there is an affordable (or even free) option for you somewhere online. Service providers like Udemy, Coursera and Edx have set new standards in affordable online learning, along with Alison and Lynda. A simple internet search will help you find free or extremely affordable courses on absolutely anything you can think of. You can also do a skills exchange with a colleague or friend – perhaps Pam in Accounting can teach you some Excel skills in exchange for you teaching her how to dominate on Instagram. 

I am on this journey with you. I personally have to focus on improving my physical fitness and strength and I need to finish writing my book. We are all the same and we are all here, hustling every single day and trying to beat our demons. Please remember that the next time you see someone battling in the gym or seeming too shy to speak to anyone at the office party. Be kind. Be supportive. Towards others and for yourself. Overcome one small fear each week and notice the phenomenal changes in the next month. By the end of this year, you will be a courageous and confident badass, ready to take on anything. 

Deborah Hartung

She has spent almost 20 years advising corporates on matters relating to employee relations, corporate culture and leadership development. Deborah is passionate about people and technology, the human experience in the workplace and the opportunities for the advancement of humanity in the digital age.  

Especially popular with young or first-time leaders, entrepreneurs and women in leadership, Deborah encourages all those she meets to align with their purpose and to be brave enough to be authentic in all their interactions.  She writes about life, love, leadership, workplace culture, the future of work and the importance of making the world a kinder, more tolerant place. 

Deborah lives in Johannesburg, South Africa and is committed to ensuring that her children – daughter, Reagan and son, Owen – have as many adventures and experiences as possible. Amongst her friends she is known as the woman who always needs at least SPF50 sunscreen and someone who can trip and fall whilst barefoot and stone cold sober. A big fan of tequila, craft beer and MCC, Deborah loves entertaining friends and is secretly a rather big fan of baking. 

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