The underlying theme for much of what I have been seeing lately seems to have it’s roots in fear.
Online and offline, people everywhere seem to be stunted by fear. This not only hurts your business, but it closes doors. The worst part about fear is that not only is it hurting you, but I think in many ways it is obvious to those around you, and one must give some thought to the concept that people can “smell fear”. When the environment is fear, people adapt and start to alter their behaviors to their own detriment.
Fear vs. Success
Success is bred of confidence – even if that confidence is in the fact that when you take a risk, something may go wrong (fear) however you will not let it stop you because you know you can make something out of it. Amber Osborne wrote a beautiful post that covers this idea here.
Leadership, Marketing and Culture
The greatest ideas in the world and the most innovative changes do not come from those who fear. They come from those willing to put themselves on the line, who face realities, who respond, and who also take a chance.
In the workplace, fear of speaking up can hinder and organization by eliminating the opportunity for members of the community to drive positive change by sharing ideas. Often it’s the collaborative perspective of people at all levels that add to the ability for a company to change with the needs of the consumer and to increase efficiency.
Some become so afraid of what people might say, they hanker down and create environments where people simply “function” instead of soar. Functioning works fine for survival, but it doesn’t lend to outstanding results.
Focusing on the wrong things to make things right
I just read Sensei Marketing Blog’s latest post by Sam Fiorella, it focused on the rebranding effort an airline is making by repainting all of their planes. My comment on the post was : “Sometimes, leaders when in a state of panic and fear, decide on little things they can control as the big answer to their larger issues.” Although I do not know the intimate details of this airline’s master plan, this was my first thought. It also made me realize this theme has been everywhere the past few days. Hence this article.
On Friday, I was thrilled to be a guest on #OpenSM (a show that covers social media and technology topics – a great Friday afternoon weekly session on Google Plus) with host Sherry Nouraini. The first question she asked was, what do I think is the major challenge holding members of regulated industries back from doing Social, my answer: fear of disclosing information and risking their clients privacy, and therefore their own liability. It’s a product of “stuck in the box thinking” really. You can check out my interview with Sherry here to hear more on this.
Today, I listened to Michelle Price’s radio show #BBSRadio, one of the guests being my friend and someone I greatly admire for his strong business sense and straight talk, Geoff Livingston. He discussed “How Fear Plays in Your Integrated Marketing” , you can listen to the show from the link below, Geoff’s segment is at minute 80. He talked about how many marketers fear FCC violations, legal pursuits, and how the legal team often can put a complete stop on a great campaign and working with these challenges.
He also spoke about the fear of competition: people worried about others taking ideas. His point was that if you spend your time worrying about other people noticing what you are doing, you’re actually hurting yourself because not only will your competition not know about you, but no one will know about you. A great point.
How is Fear Altering Your Behavior – Is It Hindering Your Success?
People are letting their fears lead their actions. It is stopping businesses from growing, it is stopping people from succeeding and it is creating an environment for some – those led by fear of taking that leap, to miss out on possibilities at every turn.
What do you have to lose?
The question I put out there for you is this: If you let yourself be driven by fear, how many opportunities will you miss out on?
How many ideas will you suffocate that could have changed things for the better?
How much is living safely really benefiting you?
All the posts, interviews above came to a question of fear. How many other instances are you seeing where fear is driving your decisions, or the decisions of others? In all the commentary above, the answers are not in ignoring facts, or living in make believe worlds where you ignore your fears, the answers to surpassing the norm really lie in making calculated decisions, having confidence and conviction in your ability and the ability of your staff, knowing the risks and being professional.
You can’t have amazing if you’re covered in fear.
C.C. Chapman covers the assessment of how he looks at new challenges and opportunities in his new book, “Amazing Things Will Happen”. I was really happy to have a conversation with C.C. just last week at #NMX (New Media Expo) and I highly recommend his book if you are struggling with fears that may be altering your success at work, or at home. It’s not about fears, it’s about leading the life you want, but given the themes of what I have been hearing today, I am going to include this here because I think its time for people to stop being afraid and start embracing the amazing and C.C. came to mind.
Fear is a great thing when there is just enough to make you think twice about going forward with a thought, an action or speaking controversial ideas. It's a defense mechanism that is in place to protect against potential harm. The problem obviously occurs when it stifles action, making you idle or content with status quo.
I have always been an advocate for change, and ever since I left the corporate world over a year ago, the leap of faith has been a great ride. The road less traveled is indeed a more scenic one ;-)
So bring it on for 2013. What's the worst thing that can happen, right?