Fear crushes self confidence. The more you surmount your fear, face challenges, accept failure and start over, the more equipped you are to face life head on. Even in our career, most of us have some fears we are unwilling to address. At times we keep mum and avoid situations we dread, or feel nervous about, without expressing much at workplace. Prudence lies in rather facing it to overcome it. An able manager helps you deal with the fear by gradually exposing you to the situation while at the same time guiding you through the process. Once you overcome a fear, it can empower you in ways unimaginable until that moment. Often it can do wonders for your career advancement. The more you keep your fears at bay without confronting them, the more they get deep rooted in your psyche. Procrastination is the indication of fear. As Freud’s pleasure principle states – humans try their best to avoid pain in everything they do.
The most common workplace fears or career fears apparently sounds too simple for others to understand. Yet, for the one nurturing that fear, it must need a lot of courage and the willingness to overcome the fear, to be able to face it. Below are some of the common situations at work that amounts to a workplace fear.
- Fear of presentation or public speaking: This is one of the most commonly seen apprehensions among introverts at workplace. This can easily grow in a person not in the habit of addressing a group even in informal casual settings from a younger age. It takes skill to be a good presenter, and average performers too can handle the group presentation pretty well without being nervous about it. However, for someone who fears the stage, or even people looking at him when he is addressing the group, can be unnerved about the thought of sharing his thoughts. It is extremely important to deal with this fear, for it is one of the most basic necessities of corporate growth. Take part in team huddles, share your thoughts in informal chats, be seen and voice your opinion with conviction. Gradually seek opportunities to address bigger groups or team discussions. This approach will expose you to public speaking in phases and will make you comfortable with public speaking.
- Fear of evaluation: Most people panic at feedbacks. You might get a pat or an all out criticism from your boss after a presentation. But feedbacks are crucial to success. One can never excel without proper feedback. Feedbacks allow you to identify your flaws, areas of improvement and work on them to move up the career ladder. Do not get demotivated with an unfavorable response; rather utilize it to scale up your success. Of course it is equally necessary to monitor the feedback or evaluation method so that it encourages to achieve higher instead of taking away hope of betterment. Talk to your reporting manager and seek help to improve on areas marked for your development. A sincere approach with a positive attitude are prized assets in a company.
- Fear of saying No: It is okay to say no, even at your workplace. You don’t have to accept every assignment which is dumped at our desk. You are not liable to do ‘favors’ to colleagues risking the completion of your assignments. It’s quite common to get requests from different departments, colleagues, managers of other verticals or departments and so on. Don’t just jump into something without prioritizing the work you are answerable for, or consulting your reporting manager. Learn to politely decline if you must, or inform your senior if you can’t turn down the request. An employee with a firm attitude and a strong sense of responsibility are appreciated in the workplace.
- Fear of calling up: You are suddenly going to need a leave from work without prior notice. You drop a text to your boss and bunk. Sounds familiar? Well that’s a common scene most managers and HR executives are working to eradicate. This happens when you fear calling up and facing the reaction or an unfavorable response. Do not hesitate to call, be it as small a matter as taking a leave, or approaching your senior for a more serious concern. Calling up and meeting face to face to sort out an issue works better than sending emails and waiting for a response. Email could be the common and official way to communicate within the company, however a formal email can be followed up after you have talked it out with the people involved. Besides, personal human contact helps you make better connections that can boost your career.
- Fear of your job getting mundane: The routine job profile might create an inherent fear of your position loosing charm over the years. Opt for some variety with vertical transfers, working with cross-functional teams, shoulder other project responsibilities, applying for workshops to upgrade skill level and imparting your expertise to others. Besides bringing in variety, it’s a good way to add value to your career.
- Fear of being poorly paid: Many fear poor compensation packages that may impact their career worth. Especially when a candidate’s take home pay is not at par with friends, colleagues or market trend. While it is a valid concern, it is equally important to analyze your skills, education, experience and value addition in your organization. In case it turns out that your pay is lower than the market average, a good time to raise the discussion is once you have spent sometime in the organization and proved your worth. Review your performance with your senior and negotiate a raise in compensation in keeping with your merit. You may seek online help of various salary sites that offer assistance on analysis of your net salary based on market trends.
So there are ways one can work on one’s fears and win over the situation at work. The two-step remedy includes analyzing the fear factor and incorporating exposure therapy technique to paralyze fear at workplace. Defuse your inherent fears by asking these simple questions to yourself- 1) What are you afraid of? 2) The reason of your fear 3) Because of this fear, what are you losing on? and 4) How can the situation change if you tackle this fear?
In exposure therapy, an individual is exposed to his fear. Initial fear withers away with time and ends up in being comfortable in the situation. This technique rewires our brain and eventually allows us to move past the fear. Apply the same technique in case of your workplace fears. Customize your exposure therapy and deal with your trepidation with assurance, and ease your uneasiness.
Slot in these tips into your career and see the difference it brings to your line of business. Address your fears with confidence, do not closet them. This initiation could be an input for a major breakthrough in your career.