Are You a Victim of Your Own Mind?

 In Team Performance

Last week I led an eye opening leadership session with a group of corporate executives. We had some very honest and engaging discussions.

At one point I asked the group: What confines you?

I appreciated their thoughtful responses. Several participants echoed similar thoughts. They spoke about experiencing difficult meetings and explained how they constantly dreaded them. They got anxious before the meetings and lost sleep over them after. They described how their stomach literally churns even thinking about it again.

I listened closely and responded, “Your body sounds like it is really talking to you. What might it be trying to say?”

Then… an almost forever silence.

One person barely whispered, “I’m afraid.”

“Look, I know I am a caring leader,” he continued. “When I hold people accountable, which I must do, I am terrified they will think I am not. Not being perceived as caring is exactly what’s holding me back. In fact, physically, it’s about crushing me.”

He let out a sigh and said, “I have to believe I am—and behave like—a caring leader. And whether other people believe it or not, well, that’s their business. My business is doing my job the best way I can.”

Like this group of executives, I am reminded that you know exactly what you must do. But then there’s the fear. Putting things off. Worrying about how it will go. Anxiety after.

So what is your fear really about?

Knowledge? Nope.

Skill set? I don’t think so.

Mindset? Nah.

Perseverance? Not that either.

So why do you hold back?

I have a guess.

It’s the narrative you listen to all the time.

The one that is playing over and over again saying:
Not that.
What if they hate me?
What if they scream at me?
(And our all-time favorite) Never mind, later.

Listen really closely for what you keep saying (inside).

Now, take the time to quietly ask yourself, “What am I most afraid of?”

Your fear is always well meaning. It’s there for a reason.

Acknowledging your fear is trying to keep you safe and sound, you can be more thoughtful, less afraid, and more generously do what you must do anyway.

Use this power wisely. Stay humble. Do your best to show that you care.

You truly are an amazing force when you don’t let your thoughts confine you. Start doing the work to free yourself from fear and worry.