Fear and the Barking Dog

January 21, 2016

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A new year. A new start! Have you tried putting together a possibilities list? See my December blog for more details when you check out our new website!


Cartoon of dog owner staring at the dog who says he is not barking but giving motivational speech

Last month a friend called to let me know she was leaving her career at a Fortune 50 company. No buyout. No severance. No retirement. She was well thought of and on track to be promoted to executive level. But she decided she no longer wanted that. That's Courage. When we discussed plans for what's next (her possibilities!) she shared a couple ideas and then paused. She paused because she wasn't sure about saying the next idea out loud. Fearful, as she said, of actually speaking it. I get that.

Fear, I don't like it. Even though at times it can serve us well - when instincts tell us we aren't in a safe place and fear helps protect. Like the time we had a 4-foot black snake visit our lanai. My hands were violently shaking as I gripped the skimmer and escorted it out the screen door. Ugh. But most of the time fear isn't helpful. It weighs us down. Holds us back. And often we don't even realize it's there, because we haven't articulated it...or we do our best to ignore it.

That's why it's important for me to address fear, once I realize it's there. Or as a former co-worker used to say, "walk towards the barking dog." Walk towards the fear, and soon I'll realize the dogs bark is far worse than his bite!

Fear has the propensity to be given too much power in our lives, which is why it is helpful to remember that fear is just an emotion (like happy, sad, glad...). So, I try to be committed to not allowing fear to have power over me, by:

Identifying it - acknowledge what it is (I am afraid of...). Walking toward it - determine what's driving it (I am fearful because...). Focusing on my Faith - since it's difficult to live in faith and fear at the same time (I know this to be true....). And then Moving Forward.

So, my friend decided to share with me the possibility she was at first fearful of speaking. And you know what? Once she spoke it out loud, the fear dissipated! Just like that. Validating what my coach always says: "What you resist persists and what you experience disappears."

Managing Corporate Change™ is a course designed specifically for you and your organization to learn how to embrace change, making it work for your personal and corporate benefit. A critical part of successfully leading change is to understand and articulate our emotions associated with the change. Fear of change is common. How to address fear and other emotions during change is not. We have a proven and successful methodology to address it. Interested? Contact us at gracecampllc.com

Kate Johnson
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