Vincy Workplace
June 4, 2010
The fear factor

Providing information to people so they can apply it and improve their careers gives me a very gratifying feeling. However, there are days when my inner critic can turn a good day into a down right awful day and I just had one of those days. Everything seemed to go wrong right before a presentation and although I was able to address the problems and my client was very pleased, I couldn’t seem to quiet my inner criric.{{more}}

Every thought that came to mind regarding the presentation was negative and it was somewhat overwhelming. After a few hours, my mind began making up stories, all negative, of course, about how the audience and client must really feel. It didn’t seem to matter that the programme was very well received. What is this I thought? As I pondered what to write for this week’s article, I came across one of my previous articles that put the situation into perspective. I can be a perfectionist at times, and that can lead to thoughts of fear that increases perfectionist beh,avior. So this week, I am taking my own advice. Here is the article I mentioned.

I heard a speaker once say that FEAR is basically False Evidence Appearing Real. To understand the true impact of fear in the workplace, talk to the nervous sales person who is about to make his/her first sales pitch or the person who just got a new job with more responsibilities and more money in a difficult office.

Fear causes humans to worry, and when we worry we are unable to focus, our health is negatively affected and our productivity suffers. Whether you admit it or not, the fear you feel is stagnating your career and hindering you from being a peak performer. The source of your fear is not as important as your decision to address the issue and move on. Where should you start?

Get the facts. Most of the times when we feel fear, it is usually our mind playing a tape of what we think could happen or is happening. Unfortunately, it is often not based entirely on facts but a combination of facts and an extra heavy dose of our imagination, which after a while becomes our reality. Take a few moments to think through the situation logically, list the actual facts, not what you feel or think, but facts. Once you have the facts, begin to consider ways in which to address the problem, keeping in mind that every problem has a solution.

Let it go. There will be times when you can do nothing to change whatever is causing you to feel fear because it’s in the past or outside of your control. In those cases, you just have to accept the fact that you can do nothing to change the situation or influence it. You have to let it go and move on. In my case, I couldn’t go back and make my day a perfect day, so I had to accept the fact that its done and over with.

Change your suggestions. Once you have examined the situation, it’s time to literally rewire your brain. In other words, you need to reprogramme the messages that you send to the brain centre. Concentrate on the desired results and not what you fear. For example, if you fear presenting publicly, don’t dwell on your how inadequate you are as a speaker. Focus instead on one good aspect of your presentation or your reason for presenting and make it bigger than life in your mind.

Be consistent. Overcoming fear does not occur after you do a few mental exercises. It is a constant process that requires discipline and the determination not to be conquered by false evidence. Start every day with a reminder that FEAR will not be a part of your day.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to Visit online at