In order to achieve your goals and to make your dreams come true, the most vital thing needed is courage. The biggest hurdle preventing you from achieving goals and reaching your desired destination is a fear.
Fear can cost you a lot. Fear can impact your self-confidence. It may distract your attention from achieving something worthy. It may even badly affect your health and most probably your wealth too.
Courage is a tool that can help bear greater risks and in return provide significant gains. Courage will help you initiate activities despite of fear, and put you on a path of growth and learning.
Courage = the ability to take more risks = more growth and learning = personal success.
It’s a powerful formula if you know how to leverage fear to your advantage.
Fear Can Be Your Friend
Fear is a feeling, developed because of a chemical reaction. It is often not real but rather fabricated by our imaginations, limited thinking and insecurities.
It depends on us on how we use this chemical reaction, either to our advantage or detriment.
To boost your courage, you can learn to use your fears in a positive way so that it can give you maximum benefits and advantages.
The first belief to break from is that fear is tied to disastrous outcomes. There are some good fears too. Let’s look at an example.
Imagine you have to fulfill a task for a very well trusted client. If the deadline isn’t met, the fear of losing that client will automatically trigger you to remain active and do what it takes to finish the task on time.
Similarly, if you have a presentation the next day, your fear of doing a poor job might help you to invest in more practice. When it comes to fear always try to figure out the intensity and appropriate logical way to solve it efficiently.
Stretch Your Comfort Zone
Going above and beyond your comfort zone, in order to stretch what you are currently capable of doing, is not easy. Fear and anxiety are key symptoms of going outside your comfort zone.
“Nothing truly exciting happens in life, until you go beyond your comfort zone. Want to grow? Learn to love being uncomfortable.”
Once you step out of your comfort zone you develop more courage gradually. Stepping out of your comfort zone will present you with various unexpected situations and scenarios. This is the point where fear kicks in because handling unexpected situations is usually a next level task where a lot of courage is needed to cope with the anxiety of stretching beyond your current capabilities.
Start by taking small steps. Courage cannot be developed overnight. Asking for help is a great way to practice expanding your courage. The short conversations you start having with those willing to help you, can turn over time into longer deep dives with peers, University fellows, friends of friends, and so on.
“The simple act of asking for help expands your courage and helps you stretch beyond your comfort zone in a healthy and safe way.”
Knowing your limits and behaving accordingly will also help in developing your courage. It’s not always unexpected and strange things that require us to face them courageously, but rather courage is also demanded to let things be that are not within your control. Letting things unfold naturally and patiently will also boost your courage.
Accept Your Imperfections
No human is perfect in this world. Making mistakes is a part of life. Be bold enough to accept your mistakes and never ever hesitate to apologize for your actions or words which may have hurt someone’s feelings and emotions.
Relationships also play a key role in boosting your courage, and the best relationships are based on mutual authenticity and vulnerability. The more real you are with someone, the more courage you develop to speak your truth.
Some people are naturally mindful as if they have inherited the trait genetically, while other people learn through practice and hard work.
Mindfulness means having a full mind actively present. If you are not a mindful type person, don’t worry.
Meditation will help you in learning how to be mindful. Find a quiet and peaceful place free of distractions. Sit there for almost 20 minutes and focus on your ‘in’ and ‘out’ of breathing. Try not to think of anything else in those 20 minutes of meditation. Meditation can be done anywhere but it will be more helpful if done in a quiet place.
Mindfulness and the practice of meditation will help you to overcome your fear very courageously. For example, during medication the emotion of fear can be attributed to just a chemical reaction triggered by a thought, and with more self-awareness you can begin to remove the value given to it.
Meditation is a great way to hack a recurring thought that is triggering fears, that isn’t based on reality, and neutralize it.
Own Your Self-Worth
The most effective way to practice being courageous is learning to say “no” and always give importance to your needs first. Not having a habit of saying “no” will lead you towards a miserable life where making others happy will leave your own happiness behind.
Never underestimate yourself and never ever tolerate negative and toxic people around you. There should be no room in your heart for such people who don’t even think before bashing someone’s confidence and ultimately their courage.
I want to make it clear that there is no magic pill to boost your courage within a day. Hard work, passion and a lot of patience is needed. A lot of practice, meditation and regularly going beyond your comfort zone can get you the desired results.
Once you understand the real meaning of fear and the process of this chemical reaction, you’ll start taking advantage of it knowing that it is not real, but instead, it is self-made and fabricated.
Never let your fears hold the steering wheel that will deviate you from your path towards courage. Stay confident and motivated, believe in yourself and don’t forget to ask for help.
How Emotional Intelligence Can Shape the Future of Work
Some experts believe that artificial intelligence may at one point replace humans in the workplace.
Machines are more effective than humans, they aren’t distracted, they obey instructions, they don’t have egos, feelings, opinions, or emotions and are always focused compared to humans. As a matter of fact, according to robotics, there exists a huge tendency that artificial intelligence will surpass humans in various mental tasks.
Lucky for you, employers aren’t thinking of replacing you with robots, at least, for the time being.
Nowadays many employers don’t get thrilled by the certificates you have, and they don’t care if you attended the best college in the world. One thing most employers consider in candidates as an essential skill in today’s dynamic workplace, is emotional intelligence. Employers are looking for soft skills like integrity, empathy, and the ability to work well with others. Individuals who have these traits also make great leaders!
Emotionally Intelligent Leadership Traits
The topic of emotional intelligence (EQ) has become one of the most important discussion points when it comes to leadership. Emotional intelligence is a trait that can be measured and developed. Everyone is constantly talking about it, but what exactly is this emotional intelligence? How does it affect the idea of leadership as we all know it? And most importantly, how do you know if you have the traits of an emotionally intelligent leader?
Emotional intelligence or EQ (emotional quotient), is the ability to know, handle, and fully understand your emotions, including that of other individuals around you.
Leaders with a high EQ are aware of how their emotions, positive or negative, affect other individuals. Below are few traits of emotionally intelligent leaders. These are not all the traits of an emotionally intelligent leader but represent the basic must have. Focusing on developing these is a sure way to expand your own emotional intelligence.
High self-awareness is regarded as a starting point for emotional intelligence. It describes how well you understand your weaknesses and strength and how you relate with others. Emotionally intelligent leaders are able to sense how other people react to their leadership; they do this by paying attention to nonverbal signs. How others react serves as a mirror to emotionally intelligent leaders. The traits others have that trigger an emotional response are also mirrors to a highly self-aware leader.
“An emotionally intelligent leader replaces judgmental tendency with self-accountability for feelings and emotions.”
These individuals monitor feedback from others so as to assess their best attributes as a leader, as well as their blind spots.
Empathy Towards Employees
According to American psychologist Daniel Goleman, who assisted in popularizing the emotional intelligence idea, empathy is an important quality of emotional intelligence. An emotionally intelligent leader uses empathy to understand positions, situations, and the feelings of other people. This particular quality increases as you develop more self-awareness.
Emotionally intelligent leaders are keen on monitoring employees’ concerns, and well-being. The benefit of empathy is that when employees feel that you care about their feelings and professional challenges, they tend to respect you more and put more effort into what they do.
An emotionally intelligent leader is able to redirect unpleasant emotions and impulses and not make conclusions without proper investigation. When a team messes up a delivery, an emotionally intelligent leader doesn’t get mad and point fingers. Such a leader will step back and properly evaluate the cause of the result, explain to his/her team the consequences to the company, and searches for solutions with them.
This leadership quality also fosters more calculated risk taking, and an environment focused on growing and learning. On the other hand, a leader who isn’t emotionally intelligent will vent their frustration on the team without properly evaluating what happened.
When difficult times arise, emotionally intelligent leaders don’t cower behind closed doors. They are always out in the trenches with people, making plans, addressing concerns and questions, and easing fears.
Employees depend on such individuals for information, distinct expectations, and solutions when certain issues arise. This is the reason why visible and accessible leaders will monitor their team’s needs, and personally give answers to questions that build trust and a good working environment.
Self-confidence, in the context of EQ, means knowing your own emotions, weaknesses, and strength. It’s about knowing the values that propel you as a person. Emotionally intelligent leaders are always realistic when assessing themselves, and always accept helpful criticism. They are fully aware of the situations that makes them react unruly and will make necessary plans to adapt to a challenging scenario.
Organizations headed by emotionally intelligent leaders’ often report significant increase in productivity and growth; self-confidence spreads across the organization.
Traits of Low EQ
Holding a leadership position is not as easy as it seems. Leaders are often held responsible for the fate of several people and this could take a huge toll on them.
Leaders who exhibit low emotional intelligence tend to fall apart and lose their cool when stressful situations arise because they don’t know how to properly handle their emotions.
Such a person doesn’t hesitate before hurling verbal attacks on other people. They get angry easily at the slightest provocation. This can lead to a stressful environment where workers are always conscious of their every action, as they try to prevent an outburst.
“Organizations whose leadership lacks emotional intelligence, feel like they are walking on egg-shells all the time. This causes good people to burn out and leave.”
An environment lacking good emotionally intelligent leadership will suffer in productivity and team cohesion because it deprives employees of the focus needed to be productive.
A leader who isn’t emotionally intelligent finds it hard to resolve situations and deal with conflict effectively due to lack of knowledge about other people’s emotions. Such a leader will find it hard to acknowledge conflict, let alone make moves to resolve them.
Emotional intelligence is not only significant to your well-being, it is also important to your pursuit of success in the workplace.
The Highest Expression of EQ at Work
The value of helping people to develop emotional intelligence to an organization is well established today. Being able to create an environment where people feel safe, supported, valued, and understood is only the entry point of EQ at work.
Ultimately as a leader becomes more self-aware, more empathetic, has more self-control, embraces transparency and exudes self-confidence, such a leader realizes that their role isn’t to inspire, or lead for that matter.
The ultimate expression of emotionally intelligent leadership is to free people to self-lead. What we really want is self-realization. The role of EQ at work can enable an environment where people are free to be themselves. People are co-managing the business. People act and perform as co-owners.
EQ isn’t just about being in full control of emotions, it is about freedom. The more an organization invests in expanding EQ among people, the more freedom those people will desire, and it must be given to them.
Many organizations are investing in EQ under a command and control paradigm with bosses, and rules and expectations established from the top-down. You can’t fully experience an emotionally intelligent organization with those kinds of top-down controls.
“The ultimate expression of freedom and EQ is where people begin to not only experience equivalency, but the structure of the organization changes towards a shared authority model.”
This isn’t just a novel idea whose time has come; it turns out companies operating this way today are outperforming the S&P 500 by a factor of 7X. It’s good for people, it’s good for profits. It’s time!
Everyone at one point in their life, experiences trauma. There is no escaping trauma; sadly, it’s like a phase of life we all have to pass through. As humans living in a world where trauma is seen as some defect or something dark and ugly to be kept hidden, it’s best we build the proper individual awareness of this psychological wound and strive to ensure that we get control of it, so that it doesn’t eventually get the better of us.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), based on research carried out in 26 different countries, at least a third of more than the 125,000 people surveyed in those countries had at one point in their lives experienced trauma.
If WHO was to broaden their survey and consider other countries, I’m sure that they would discover an overwhelming number of individuals who have been traumatized.
Because of the stigma placed on psychological ailments such as depression and trauma, you tend to discover that most traumatized Individuals fail to open up to their ordeal for fear of being shamed. Social media is one of the prominent mediums used in carrying out this act.
Trauma can plunge its roots deep in various areas of our lives; be it our relationships, marital life, academics, career, you name it — trauma does not discriminate.
“Trauma manifests itself everywhere”, was a statement made by my long-time friend, Keith Fiveson, Founder of The Work Mindfulness Project who joined me on my Rant & Grow podcast which you’ll find at the end of this blog.
Looking at that short quote in a scrutinizing way, you’ll have a very difficult time disputing that statement; it’s a known fact!
To be more specific, let’s take a look at various ways in which trauma impacts our lives, specifically our relationships and careers.
When a traumatic incident occurs, the outcome can lead to the development of several symptoms that weakens a person’s ability to function. These obnoxious symptoms go beyond the traumatized individual. They can easily affect relationships, intimate or otherwise.
Trauma can affect close relationships in several ways, and this could start from just one experience. For instance, visualize the scenario of a particular kid who was called up for an audition. Imagine how happy and energetic this kid would be getting on the podium.
Now think of how disgruntled he/she feels when the front seat (where mom is supposed to be seated) is empty, and she can’t be found even after she promised to be in attendance. That very scene can kick start a traumatic cycle in the life of such a kid.
The manifestation of such trauma can eventually be based on finding it hard to trust people who claim to love you, which would affect relationships with friends, family, work peers, and love interests because an attachment was severed. The child may have created a belief in that moment that if mom could disappoint, then people who claim to love me will eventually hurt me too.
Presenting myself as an example, a traumatic moment of my life as a toddler impacted me as an adult. This traumatic experience affected my relationship with women. How did it happen? It happened when I was just two years old.
My mom and dad got into a quarrel which had nothing to do with me. While the dispute was on, my mom got angry and broke my favorite sippy cup. The incident was devastating to me and therefore I created this belief that people who love me will eventually harm me.
Especially when it came to women. The event, unknown to me, affected my relationships with women and my ability to be intimate with people. It was not until my wife Colleen, to my surprise, told me that I had an anger issue; this prompted me to take responsibility for manifesting a repetitive pattern in my life and I decided to do something about it.
I went on a journey with a shaman where the secret was unraveled. Reminiscing what happen when I was a toddler, now as a grown and mature man, I understood that a minute of anger wasn’t enough to conclude that my mom didn’t love me. She is human; she is very liable to anger. And as humans, we tend to react impulsively when angry. I forgave her and let the incident pass and most importantly, I healed.
Childhood experience plays a huge role in our emotional development. Our parents, who are regarded as our main attachment figures, are quite important to how we see the world because they determine what the world would look like for us.
Is it a safe environment to thrive in and take emotional risks? Is everyone out to hurt us and thus untrustworthy? Can we depend on significant individuals in our lives to help us in periods of emotional needs?
Trauma can also be viewed as long-term exposure to a particular stressful happening. This would encompass children brought up in certain abusive households. Lacking the secured net of a safe attachment relationship, these children mature to be adults who contend with feelings of low self-esteem and struggles with emotions. These children are also prone to developing anxiety and depression.
Trauma can also thrust its roots in our careers. Individuals who find it hard to accept certain career setbacks tend to get traumatized easily. For such individuals, a simple disappointment at work like missing a much-desired promotion or being treated unfairly could reanimate early trauma, causing such an individual with traumatic feelings to eventually ruin their career by running from one job to the next, to the next, if they don’t snap out of it.
Employees with such characteristics often try as much as possible to prevent intimate relationships at work simply because such relationships stir up strong feelings which result in certain traumatic memories. As a result, they don’t trust others, and can’t be trusted themselves because they are guarded with fear.
As humans we all respond to trauma in diverse ways, experiencing an extensive array of emotional and physical reactions. There exists no appropriate or wrong way to feel, think, or react, so you shouldn’t judge your reactions or those of other individuals. Your response is normal reactions to weird happenings.
You can identify trauma through these symptoms, which are: emotional and psychological, and the physical symptoms.
Emotional and Psychological Symptoms of Trauma
· Acrid fear and anxiety
· The feeling of sadness and hopelessness
· Feeling insensible and disconnected
· Low self-worth, shame, and guilt
· Bipolar disorders, anger, irritability
· Agitation and nervousness
· Difficulty focusing
· Nightmares and insomnia
· Pains and aches
· Muscle strain
· Racing heartbeat
Healing from Trauma
The symptoms of trauma usually last from some days to a few months, slowly disintegrating as you come to terms with the traumatic event. But even when you feel you have conquered the trauma, you may be agitated frequently by painful emotions or even memories, especially in reaction to events that remind you of the trauma.
If you observe that your trauma symptoms aren’t showing any indication of reducing, and you find out that it gets hard to forget the traumatic event, then you may have PTSD ( post-traumatic stress disorder).
While emotional trauma is a typical reaction to certain unpleasant phenomenon, it becomes PTSD when you observe that you are stuck in a traumatic limbo.
Irrespective of the type of trauma you are experiencing, you can eventually heal from it and continue with your normal life.
First, you have to acknowledge that you are traumatized after which you seek for ways to end the trauma. You can do this by:
· Self-regulating your nervous system
· Asking for advice and support when required
· Performing exercises
· Not dwelling too much on the traumatic experience
· Ensuring you take care of your health
· Seek professional assistance if out of control
· Forget the past and focus on what lies ahead
Talking through trauma is a significant part of healing. As humans, most of us hate the idea of opening up to our traumatic experience. Discussing a painful experience can feel shameful; it could also expose our vulnerabilities and leave us prone to emotional blackmailers.
We think by having a dialogue about our trauma, we’ll break down more and never find our bearings. We feel we are the only ones to go through anything like it, and there’ll be no one who’d understand how we think. But we are wrong.
Sincerely, there is nothing weird or bad about experiencing trauma. Like I stated at the beginning of this post, as humans, we are all bound to experience trauma at a certain phase in our lives.
It’s how you deal with it that matters. And opening up to your trauma is the first step to finding your bearings. The fear of being vulnerable shouldn’t deter you from taking that important step to getting your life back on track. Nothing in this world is worth sacrificing your well-being. You should continuously tell yourself that. If possible, make it a mantra.
Don’t be ashamed of approaching a trusted person and discussing your ordeal with them. A problem shared is half solved. By talking to someone about your trauma, you’ll feel relieved and light-hearted.
Remember, you aren’t the only traumatized individual roaming the earth, and you certainly wouldn’t be the last. Whatever has a beginning must have an end.
Trauma isn’t everlasting. The first step to defeating trauma is by talking to someone about it. To do so, you have to ignore the thoughts of being shamed or vulnerable; and strive towards healing.
Growing evidence suggests mindfulness as another important strategy for individuals bidding to recover from trauma. And it only makes sense since mindful thinking allows us to visualize our thoughts and understand that what we feel or think about a particular situation, may not necessarily be true. At its core, mindfulness helps us to take control of our thoughts and not be drowned by the negative experiences we might have been through in the past.
Depending on the scale of traumatic stress and individual ability to manage the condition, the recovery process can take anywhere from a few weeks to months.
Yet it can take some years to fully reclaim their inner calm and become psychologically whole, following a traumatic past. This is especially true for individuals who have experienced complex trauma.
Don’t worry how long the duration will be to recover. Taking the first bold step is what matters. In addition to seeking professional help, certain self-driven practices can help, meditation is one of those. Establishing a healthy sleep routine is also recommended.
According to research, auricular acupuncture is another trusty way to expedite healing from trauma, especially for individuals who have turned to drugs and alcohol in their bid to temporarily ward off negative thoughts and emotions. The procedure also enhances sleep and promotes clearer thought patterns among individuals who consistently receive it.
By accepting the need to tackle trauma, seeking professional help as soon as possible and surrounding yourself with a reliable support network as well as driving recovery with healthy lifestyle choices, your road to complete recovery from trauma may well and truly be underway.
In my season finale of Rant & Grow, I invited my friend Keith Fiveson, Founder of The Work Mindfulness Project, an expert in mindfulness, to discuss the topic of trauma. We also discussed how as a society the USA has suffered from trauma. We haven’t fully healed from the wrongs we did to an entire race for example. As a body of people, as a society we need to heal and openly talk about these things.
Admirable work in this direction, include Chelsea Handler in her recent Netflix documentary “Hello Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea.” She is bringing awareness to a traumatic situation in the fabric of our culture, the body of our nation, that needs to be healed.
We have to have the courage to open up about our personal traumas and seek to heal as individuals, and also as a society. The quality of our future depends on it.
Check out the Rant & Grow season finale with Keith. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.
Pursue Independence and Fulfillment Instead of Happiness
According to studies and research it has been proven that being dependent can lead to situations which could affect one’s psychological well-being. For example, as a young adult sharing an apartment with your parents you will experience less privacy, and will often be obligated to follow certain rules, and accept decisions which may not be well-aligned with your life’s plan.
Being dependent on others can make you very susceptible to depression. You can experience frustration when decisions are made for you. You can feel disappointed when you can’t get certain things because the people you depend on (your parents) refuse you access. You can become disgruntled when your schedule is crammed with several house chores to earn your keep; robbing you of quality time for yourself.
It’s important as a young adult to strive towards being independent. By striving to be independent and aiming to make your decision out of a place of power, you clear the path to your fulfillment.
“Making decisions towards your fulfillment isn’t always easy. Sometimes the outcomes create temporary pain, but the end goal is worth it.”
Carina, a recent college graduate who participated in my latest Rant & Grow podcast, made a tough decision out of a place of power. She broke up with her boyfriend who threatened her with an ultimatum, because she felt that such a relationship could prove detrimental to her pursuit of her long-term fulfillment.
It was a painful decision. But in the end, she’ll become fulfilled because of her ability to achieve the intended outcomes she desires for her life.
When presented with the choice of selecting between happiness and fulfillment, we always tend to go for the immediate happiness. But happiness is a fleeting thing; it’s ephemeral.
In attaining a particular level of fulfillment, you must go through certain experiences that at times aren’t going to make you feel happy. Carina’s case is a very explicit example of having to endure a break-up in order to fulfill her long-term life goals.
Another example can be seen in the situation whereby you tear up your muscles working out at the gym all for the cause of becoming fit, strong, and healthy. Of course, tearing up your muscles hurts; it’s not a happy experience, but eventually you attain the desired fitness and end up being fulfilled.
You may find this weird and probably hard to believe, but you can also experience happiness and still not be fulfilled. On the other hand, you can experience pain and still be fulfilled.
The example I gave on tearing up your muscles at the gym, all for the aim of being fit, is a typical example of experiencing pain but ultimately becoming fulfilled. Now let me give a vivid illustration of what I meant when I said you could experience happiness and still not be fulfilled.
When I was single, I engaged in recreational relationships and one-night stands, which made a part of me happy for a while, but I ended up not being fulfilled. Why? Simple! I wasn’t fulfilled because my desire for developing intimacy with a partner wasn’t achieved.
“Just because something brings you happiness here and now, it does not mean it will fulfill your ultimate needs.”
According to a survey carried out in the United States, featured by MarketWatch, a significant rise in the percentage of fresh graduates who returned to their parent’s homes after college was observed. In the year 2005, 19% of fresh graduates returned to their parent’s house. While in the year 2016, the value skyrocketed to 28%, 9% rise to be precise. Over the same time period, the percentage of young college graduates likely to live with a romantic partner fell to 34% from 44%.
Judging by the results of the survey, you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to realize that such an outcome isn’t appealing and would end up affecting the long-term careers of such graduates.
There is a significant decline in the needed pressure on these individuals to hustle and make a life for themselves, compared to if they were living alone and less dependent on their parents.
An independent graduate wouldn’t take up such a lackadaisical approach because they know that if they don’t work hard, they will starve. So, they hustles to remaining independent.
Hustling is a much-needed skill that will serve them during difficult times in their adult lives. Facing challenges early will prepare them for bigger challenges later in life that come with aging parents, raising children, and the demands of careers.
To be independent means to be your boss. You make decisions for yourself without need for approval. Nothing beats being able to cater to your needs without the help of your parents. Being independent comes with a high level of respect and commendation.
As young adults who are recent college graduates, I implore you to strive towards living an independent life for the sake of your long-term career, growth, and personal development.
“Being independent makes you feel empowered; you are in the driver seat of your life.”
As a young adult, moving out of your parent’s house after college in search of greener pastures won’t be easy, but you stand a chance to get a jump start towards your own fulfillment after you manage to pull it off.
As a young adult go for what you think is beneficial to you. Refuse to let other people’s opinions stifle yours. Ensure you have the courage to adhere to your heart and intuition. You can achieve a lot when you make up your mind to be independent.
By being independent, you have the freedom to try out new things. Don’t be afraid to make lots of mistakes along the way. This eventually gives you more insight into the world and all that exists out there. Life is a continuous journey of learning and growing.
It is in this profound range of experiences that you find opportunities for adventure and success. Dependent individuals will find it hard to come across such opportunities. This is exactly what sets most successful young adults apart from the rest.
“Our goal in life isn’t to be happy; our goals is to experience fulfillment.”
Fulfillment comes with a price tag. You have to be willing to make difficult decisions that align with your long-term goals in life. Anything worth having comes with challenges, and the need for perseverance.
“The more we earn our fulfillment, the more it becomes ours and the longer it lasts.”
This is exactly what Carina learned during our discussion, the difference between striving for happiness, instead of fulfillment. Carina is well on her way towards her fulfillment.
She made a difficult decision to get out of a relationship that wasn’t serving her needs, and she experienced pain for it. That kind of courage will serve her well for years to come, because the temporary pain far outweighs the long-term fulfillment of being on purpose with her life.
Check out the Rant & Grow podcast life coaching session with Carina and see how I help her shift her mindset towards pursuing her independence and fulfillment. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.
Individuals who make remarkable achievements and attain great feats are always cheered and praised. Often seen as role models, everyone wants to walk down the road of success as they do. It is everyone’s dream to take up a challenge and succeed, nothing less will do.
Students want to attend college and make good grades; they want to be quintessential of success. Employees want to be successful in their workplace. Entrepreneurs want to build the next unicorn. Everyone wants to be successful, and no one wants to fail; this gives rise to a phobia of failure.
When you take up a task or a challenge you expect everything to play out well, you expect a successful outcome, but somewhere in your mind you may harbor little doubt, an iota of fear is comfortably nestling in your mind. We are humans, so it’s alright to have uncertainty. To many people, a good outcome is the yardstick for success. Some people are quite optimistic, so the fear of failure seldom troubles them, while some have a constant phobia of failure.
Students fear failure, so they read more and study harder. Employees don’t want to fail at a task and get fired, so they work harder. Everyone strives for success because failure comes with a stigma, and sadly in some cases punishment.
One of the reasons people fail is because they place lots of emphasis on outcomes instead of learning. We strive to achieve a goal and when we don’t, we feel we’ve failed, and we refuse to acknowledge all that was learned during the struggle to achieve such a goal.
Achieving goals and succeeding are healthy endeavors as long as your sense of self-worth isn’t tied to it. The reality is you are not going to win all the time, or succeed all the time, and if your sense of self-worth is tied to winning, you will be on a perpetual roller coaster ride of ups and downs your entire life.
We lack the appropriate knowledge of what true success entails.
We shouldn’t define success by how overwhelming the outcome is. Instead, we should define success by the knowledge gathered during the journey of trying to attain it irrespective of the result.
“Success is about growth, about what we learned during the strive to become greater than we were.”
Thomas Edison, the inventor of the light bulb, allegedly made about 1000 trials before he successfully invented the light bulb. It was in this 999th trial that he got it right. When he was interviewed, he said that he didn’t fail 999 times, but learned of 999 ways to wrongly invent the bulb; that’s genius!
I’m quite sure that he didn’t place lots of emphasis on the outcome, which was successfully inventing the light bulb. He knew very well that each failed trial was an opportunity to develop and learn new ways in which the bulb wasn’t going to be invented.
“A student may fail if the expectation on results is higher than the desire to learn. The desire to learn and grow should be the propelling force behind all targeted goals.”
When we pursue outcomes relentlessly, we tend to feel dejected when these outcomes aren’t what we expect. But when you embark on a task with little thought of the outcome, you tend to be glad of what you’ve learned even when the outcome isn’t great.
“To achieve success, we must learn how to focus on learning rather than results.”
Another way to overcome the fear of failure is by having a positive mindset, and by also affirming that you can achieve anything you wish to. Love the journey and the process, because if you do the destination won’t matter. By having this mindset you’ll be limiting the fear of failure in your life.
See every task or goal as another opportunity to learn and gain experience and not solely an opportunity to attain outcomes. Everything is a lesson to be learned and an opportunity to gather experience, which will eventually lead to growth.
Most individuals attach their self-worth to outcomes, and as a result experience ups and down with self-esteem and satisfaction. This is a worldwide epidemic. When outcomes fail to turn out the way we want them to, we feel a massive dip in our self-worth. We can lose morale, which can be detrimental to our well-being.
For instance, a typical example can be seen in a student who failed a course. Of course, such a student wouldn’t consider the fact that along the journey he/she learned certain things regarding the course, they would only consider the fact that they failed, and this might affect their self-worth.
But if this student didn’t place much emphasis on the outcome, he/she won’t be moved by the fact that they failed; instead, they would be glad for the gathered experience and knowledge which would aid their growth and would also be helpful on the next trial.
Fear of failure can be a great cause of stress, but there is a misconception about stress. The majority of us see stress as something obnoxious, truth be told stress isn’t really as bad as we think it is.
Stress actually stretches our abilities and helps us achieve our goals, depending on how we direct it. If we put in all of our stress into the accomplishment of a certain goal, we’ll be surprised at how quickly it’ll yield great results.
The only situation whereby stress becomes detrimental is when the energy lays dormant inside us, that is when we aren’t harnessing it into anything. When we store up stress, it’s like storing up explosives.
“High stress is a red flag indication that you are not spending your energy towards creative and productive endeavors, and that you are too attached to expectations, instead of growth.”
Affirming each day that you are on a learning and growth trajectory towards achieving your goals, can help remove the fear of failure, and drastically reduce stress. Your belief needs to become such that no matter what the outcomes from your goals, you are simply feeding your curiosity to grow.
The relationship we have with failure is tied to our beliefs, and expectations. If we believe our self-worth is tied to achieving our goals successfully, all the time; we will inevitably fail.
By using mantras as a brain hacking technique for 90 days, reaffirming that we are on a journey of discovery and learning, our actions and behavior will start to align to that belief, and our relationship with failure will also change, because we remove the attachment to validate our own self-worth based on outcomes.
This is what happened to Eric Faison, Founder of Hoop News. Eric had a negative outcome from something he was passionate about as a kid and has spent most of his life in a state of fear of failure which has caused him to build things and move on to the next thing, before he could fail or succeed at it. This kind of repetitive pattern has been a great cause of stress for Eric for many years.
Check out the Rant & Grow podcast life coaching session with Eric and see how he finally breaks free of his fear of failure. Maybe you’ll discover some wisdom for your own life. You can listen to the podcast right here.