As Halloween fast approaches, we’re inundated with all things creepy, scary, eerie, etc. This is the time of year when we’re supposed to lean into our fears – even indulge in them a bit. We decorate our yards and houses, we visit pumpkin patches and carve ghoulish jack-o-lantern faces, we visit haunted trails and houses (well, I don’t – but thrill seekers certainly do)

There are endless scary movies available to watch, from the mild and funny to the downright disturbing. I myself am a bit of a wimp, so I’ll only watch in the light of day and with others present for moral support. If I’m so scared, then WHY do I watch them? Great question. A part of me wants to be festive and join in with my horror-loving husband, and the other part of me actually wants to become less of a wimp. I want to challenge those fear inducing feelings and reactions and get….braver? Sure, let’s go with that. As we get older our fears can change, or perhaps even grow. But we also find ourselves searching for ways to overcome and overpower said fears – and not just those of the October 31st variety.

So, what is fear? The dictionary definition states, “an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.” We’re all familiar with this hair-raising, spine-tingling, adrenaline-inducing feeling. We’re all unique, however, in what causes these feelings to arise. Our CORE Assessment® gives us insight into how we’re all hard-wired, our unique recipe. This recipe explains why certain things cause us stress, frustration, anxiety, and fear. We understand that any decision or action made from a place of fear is not going to be a productive one, so the ability to recognize the cause of the fear and navigate through it in a healthy way (without going to the dark side) is incredibly important in work and in life.

I asked our staff to share some of their fears:

  • Loss/losing a family member
  • Cicadas
  • Heights
  • Snakes
  • Pets allowed in the workplace
  • Rejection
  • Roller Coasters
  • Spiders
  • Creepy Dolls
  • Mediocrity
  • Confined Spaces
  • The unknown

Many of these are shared, and many are singular. How intriguing that something that evokes fear in one can be an interest or hobby for another.

Fear is a natural bodily response and is present as we step into the working world as well.  Here are some examples of career/job fears of our staff:

  • Job Security
  • Being Unprepared
  • Being Undervalued
  • Poor Leadership
  • Client Dissatisfaction
  • Lack of stability & consistency
  • Negative impact to my livelihood
  • That our services are no longer needed
  • Failure
  • Not being able to provide for my family
  • Making the right decisions
  • Making a mistake
  • Looking foolish
  • Getting fired
  • The economy

We all experience this natural human emotion, so how can we learn to manage it so that it does not inhibit our well-being or growth? Forbes cites a LiveCareer’s ‘Fears and Phobias at Work Study’ showing “87% of respondents admit suffering from work-related worries.” While “81% confess their fears and phobias have adversely affected their job.”

Harvard Business Review offers this guidance, “Facing and overcoming your fears at work involves a good deal of reflection, vulnerability, and being brutally honest with yourself. Notice where you’re stuck and articulate your core fears. Imagine if your worst fears were to come true…Then what? What do you believe would be the dire consequence to you? Reflect on the origin story…Where do these fears and limiting beliefs come from in your life? …Unpacking and challenging these fears and limiting beliefs will allow you to dismantle your self-imposed barriers and achieve greater success.”

Here are some helpful tactics from Forbes to help you overcome your fear:

  • Understand and embrace it. “Fear exists to keep us safe. It is not inherently bad or good but a tool we can use to make better decisions. Embrace fear as instruction and let it inform your actions, but not control them.”
  • Take a Moment. “When fear strikes consider whether the correct action might be to analyze the options and make a wise, well thought out choice rather than jumping to what seems right in the heat of the moment.”
  • Name it. “Say your fear out loud, write it down, or focus your mind on it…When you face it, it shrinks.”
  • Educate Yourself. “If your fear is based on a lack of information, then get the information or knowledge you need to examine the situation based on facts rather than speculation.”
  • Put it in perspective (and proportion). “How big of a deal, really, is the thing you’re afraid of? We sometimes get so caught up in the success or failure of a particular quest that we lose sense of where it fits in with everything else we value.”
  • Get Help. “Whatever you’re afraid of, is it something you must do alone? …even if they have no expertise in the area you’re struggling with, they can provide the needed support to face your fear.”
  • Visualize Success. “This mental mapping ensures that when the body moves, it’s more likely to follow its pre-ordained path.”

What are some other ways you’ve learned to manage your fear, in life or in work? Taking a moment to breathe, recognize the root cause, and face it head on is what I tend towards. Just as our fears differ, so too do our coping mechanisms. Let’s work on this together as we wrap up spooky season….and finish out the work week!