Are you afraid to be afraid?

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

I was recently speaking with one of the amazing CEOs we work with, talking about the things that made the difference between the highest performers and the team members that were simply “good”.

We talked about traditional attributes but one of the behaviours that came up was the fear of fear.

It became clear that when you push yourself, make a big commitment, decide you want to change the world, pivot a business, or dramatically improve an organization, there’s a certain amount of risk involved.

And if you are really focused on working on the right things – important and impactful projects and goals, you are going to be afraid. That terrifies some people.

But, for the most successful leaders, it’s different.

While they don’t necessarily enjoy being frightened, ultimately, they aren’t overly worried about standing, naked and vulnerable, at the point of no return. That’s where the human spirit really comes alive, and where the best work and creativity actually happens.

The Challenge

  1. Think about you and your team: has the fear of being afraid impacted your decision making?
  2. If you were not afraid to be afraid, what would you do, or commit to, differently?