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Have you ever encountered FEAR in real estate business and life in general?
How does our brain create fear? What makes us afraid? Snakes, the dark, rejection, love, spiders, the unknown, public speaking, your first listing presentation as a new Realtor© flying, storms, failure — though the reasons are varied, we are all hardwired to feel fear. Or are we?
What about people who never seem to be afraid?
Or the small percentage of the population that literally cannot feel fear? Why are there kids completely unafraid of taking risks and then others who seem afraid of everything?
Fear’s purpose is to keep us from harm, but what if it holds us back from what we really want?
Fear, like many other human emotions such as happiness, excitement, or frustration, plays a significant role in our work lives. Whether it be the fear of financial hardship, a future pitch or a merger/acquisition, leaders often find themselves in the crosshairs of trepidation. While fear generally carries an ominous undertone, that’s not always the case in business. Fear usually represents an inflection point that has the potential to catapult a business to the next level.
But, as leaders, how can we harness it wisely? How can we inspire our teams to overcome valid anxiety at a certain juncture? The point is not to feign fearlessness but instead to use fear as a motivation. Recognize that fear is ever-changing. For instance, what was scary a year ago might not be as scary today; take some solace in this. Train yourself to work on something until it’s no longer as frightening, then go on to conquer a new challenge. Here are three tactical ways fear can help your business.
When you sense fear, remind yourself that you’re likely during a defining moment. It’s in these moments that you can step up and truly serve those who work for you. As a CEO, your people will—either knowingly or unknowingly—take cues from you.
Therefore, how you react, communicate, and navigate a crisis (or even difficult decision) will ultimately set the tone for the rest of your organization. Take advantage of ambiguity. Business comes with inherent uncertainty, and this unknown typically triggers fears for most individuals.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that we will likely never have all the answers required to solve a business problem or make an important decision. Try to reframe the ambiguity and, by extension, the fear that comes with it as an opportunity to triumph and ultimately prevail. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from pursuing your goals and ambitions.
Having a pulse on the competitive landscape your business operates within is paramount. In a lot of ways, the unknowns that your business faces are like those of your competitors. Some leaders might avoid fearsome decisions, which is understandable. If you train yourself, however, to navigate fear well, you can strategically seek out opportunities that only the brave is willing to explore. Perform your due diligence, accept the associated risk, then jump.
If you succumb to the fear of failure, in many ways, you’ve already lost. Don’t allow yourself to be paralyzed by negative thoughts. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that approximately 20% of new businesses fail during the first year of being open, roughly half during the first five years and about 65% during the first 10 years. I think it’s safe to say that the fear business owners feel is valid. But in the end, the goal isn’t to become impervious to fear but to be able to succeed despite it.
You need to use fear, otherwise it uses you. Remember, bravery isn’t being fearless and unafraid; it’s being fearful and doing something anyway. Ways to use fear include figuring out what your fear tells you about your current situation and what it can teach you.
One way people handle their fear is to push themselves to face extremes, whether climbing mountains or walking over coals. Just take the fire walk at Tony Robbins UPW event I attended years ago. Instead of letting fear win, people lean into their fear and find they can achieve anything they put their minds to.
As a 51-year-old firewalker, you must mentally prepare for the experience, “otherwise you surrender to the fear and that will conquer other parts of your life.” Fire walking made him feel like “Superman”; “It had nothing to do with my feet but was about following through on a promise.” No matter your age, you’ll never overcome a fear holding you back by walking away from it. Take courage and focus on what the fear will bring your way and you’ll be truly unstoppable.
Strength and courage,