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 sitting with one of the amazing CEOs I work with, talking about the things that made the difference between the highest performers and the performers 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, revolutionize business, or dramatically improve a department, 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 the fear, ultimately, they aren’t afraid of 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 a fear of fear impacted your decision making?
  2. If you were not afraid to be afraid, what would you do, or commit to, differently?