October 2016

Wicked Four-Letter Word

"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"... That famous line from FDR's inaugural address in 1933 rings true today. One of the best acronyms I've discovered for the word FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.  Whenever I share this acronym with my clients, they smile and relax with the truth of those four words to describe fear. Identifying and moving through fear is a common obstacle to making important leadership shifts. 

Fear is one of those emotions that rarely serves us, except maybe thousands of years ago when we needed fear to alert us when we were hunting, gathering and avoiding wild animals.  Today, although many of our fears are misplaced, they can paralyze us from moving forward.  Just listen to any of the current political rhetoric to realize just how powerful fear can be. 

Some psychologists say that our egos are shaped early on as a way to shield us from our fears.  It's that voice in your head that creates a story, usually based on assumptions about self, that often turns into fears and worries as a false form of protection.

Many of our concerns are unknown future fears like fear of disease, fear of failure, fear of success, fear of not being accepted, and on and on… and they are usually false, yet they drive our behaviors.  It’s why it’s so important to recognize what truly is False Evidence Appearing Real.

Moving Through Fear

As leaders, the fear of failure can get in the way and create just the opposite of what we want to achieve. How are you limiting yourself based on beliefs caused by fear?

  • Identify your triggers – make a conscious effort to note those moments where your triggers are taking hold and causing you to hold back or behave in ways that work against you.

  • Beware of perfectionism – although we all want to avoid mistakes, watch that fear of mistakes doesn’t create a situation where you can’t or won't take a risk. 

  • Recognize where you are in this present moment – if we only live in the future we worry and plan.  If we live in the past we are likely to resent, regret or try to re-live. In this very moment you’re likely to feel free of fear as you read this article.  Understand what this feels like and recognize when you are not in fear.

  • Identify where and how you have worked through past fears – throughout our lives we go through stages of different fears depending on our age and the situation that we’re in.  Many times we don’t identify or recognize how we moved through or conquered that fear. It can help to go back at least a few years and identify where you have worked through past fears and what you consciously did to move beyond it. Then apply that same process to a current fear you may have identified.

  • Stay curious – lean into your fears with a healthy sense of curiosity and see if you can free yourself from the anxiety that accompanies fears.

And finally, ask yourself – are my fears logical, rational, and worthy of being real or are they in fact False Evidence Appearing Real?  How can you re-frame this acronym to become Feeling Excited And Ready!
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience".   - Eleanor Roosevelt

Are you achieving the results you want?
The best leaders make simple shifts or practical changes for big results.  I work closely with leaders to create practical solutions to achieve real success. Let me help you discover what's possible. Visit my website www.terrihughes.com for details.

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