Slap Fear in the Face

Posted by on Jun 9, 2014 in Blog | 1 comment

Fear can be paralyzing. When I worked as a counselor, the bulk of my clients suffered from depression and anxiety, which in my humble opinion, correlates with fear. They were unhappy and concerned about their qualities or what others may think of them. Some were too afraid to go past the first few baby steps that could lead them to a more enjoyable life. Sure, these were clients in a therapy setting, but I meet tons of people in the workforce who are also paralyzed by fear. So, let’s translate that into the non-therapeutic sense and consider individuals who encounter sadness and unease as it relates to their career. I was a newspaper advice columnist for over 12 years so I guess it just comes natural to offer suggestions, which I will do for the three types of career fear that I have stumbled upon most.

But it’s so “comfortable” here: Yay! You have a job. Every day you go to work, but it’s not really the career you want because leaving that cushy (or not so cushy) job would mean taking a risk. It may be a small risk like simply taking a couple of courses or just applying for something new; however, it’s not one you’re willing to take. The fear is the possibility of doing less than stellar in classes or not being accepted in your career choice with open arms. I won’t lead you on and say this won’t happen. It might, but the beauty is that it may not and you will gain new knowledge on your quest. So, take a class and see how it works out for you. Learn what services the college offers that will benefit you. If you’re just going for the career change talk to people in the field, research and read articles so you can learn what you need to be successful in your career choice. These are the baby steps that can help you before facing the big fear of actually going for the gusto. I understand the real fear is rejection, which may surprise you and not even happen. Not to mention if you don’t get it, you are not the only person in that situation. Do not take it personally. Do know this. You certainly won’t get anywhere if you continue to let fear control you. Time to get out of your comfort zone.


You mean I have to talk to people?: Yes. This is a lesson I had to learn. No, I’m not shy. I even won Toastmasters a few times, but I am an introvert who prefers to go to the movies on Monday to avoid the crowd. When I initially started writing the advice column, doing public speaking engagements, and starting my own business I learned I had to network. Sure, I could work a room and talk with pretty much anyone for five minutes; however, I quickly learned I had to do more. I had to attend meetings and one-on-one lunches and engage different people for a lengthy period. I actually spoke with some executives in order to help me overcome this feat. This may also help you if networking is not your strong suit. Talking to people to introduce your product or business can be a little disconcerting, but in many instances you don’t have to do much talking at all. As I share in my forthcoming book “No More Career Pity Parties”, there are many people who are happy to hear your spiel for the first few minutes then take over the conversation. As a result, when you are in a meeting or social event that is a part of networking, don’t be afraid to say a few sentences then ask a question. Eventually, you’ll be surprised at how many people love to talk about themselves, taking the pressure off you. Your willingness to listen may turn out to be a bonus. There you have it…another fear knocked down.


I just don’t have the money: Maybe. Yet, you do have other resources. What are the things you would do if you had the money you think is needed? Write them down. I guarantee you will find that there are ways to get started with limited funds. For example, if you want to start a bakery, strike up a deal with one of the smaller local restaurants about utilizing their kitchen during off hours. If you want to open a barber shop or boutique, see if you can get a license to use your garage or a room in your house. Pool together with friends on an idea. Think outside of the box… I mean as if there is no box. As Maxwell Maltz shared, “Often the difference between a successful man and a failure is not one’s better abilities or idea, but the courage that one has to bet on his ideas, to take a calculated risk and to act”. This leads us to the real deal. It’s not the funds that are really holding you back. It’s the fear of losing funds. Understandable. Who wants to lose their money? And with today’s economy who has money to lose? That is why you put together a back-up plan and not have the fear of working. A former coworker shared with me he no longer had to work at the organization because he had a thriving business. Aside from his 9 – 5 where we worked together, he worked evenings and weekends for two years to get his business off the ground. While he didn’t have the initial start-up funds, he slapped fear in the face and kept going until he became a financial success. That just said to me “action helps conquer fear”.


Everyone has fears. I’m sure there are others fears I didn’t mention and would love for you to share your experiences. The fear, however, is not really the setback. It’s the unwillingness to step out on faith to fight and overcome those fears no matter what the outcome. That’s why I say Slap Fear in the Face because “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year. People who do take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year” (Peter Drucker). Which of the two mistakes are you going to make this year?


One Comment

  1. The honetsy of your posting is there for all to see

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