Sarah Sladek wrote an interesting article about fear and associations. Just when everything around us starts moving faster, fear gets us stuck. Fear is not an association only problem, but it is still a critical issue for us because associations are smack-dab in the center of the technology storm.
Like authenticity and vulnerability, fear is now being explored and talked about in public. Perhaps you have heard other monikers for fear: the lizard brain, the flinch, or the resistance. Failure is not holding us back. Fear is.
It seems not everyone is as effected by fear. Top athletes control their fear. Entrepreneurs conquer their fear. Public speakers reduce their fear. To perform well, to learn, to make changes, to grow they have all figured out how to fear less.
Are these top performers special? Are they wired differently than everyone else? For the most part, no, they are just like us. They worry, they have the same insecurities, and they too value their safety. Being fearless is not an innate trait instead they have inoculated themselves against fear.
Inoculating ourselves against fear is something anyone can do. These are the three techniques that I regularly practice.
Set a Goal
I called 2013 my year of brave public speaking. Before this point, I preformed a lot of public speaking, but all of my experience had been on behalf of the company or brand I worked for at the time. Speaking about my work and opinions felt different. Butterfly inducing. I noticed that the night before speaking I did not sleep well. Not liking the impact my speaking schedule had on my sleep I embarked on my year of bravely speaking.
I made a strict bargain with myself. I would seek out every speaking opportunity I could get my hands on and those opportunities added up.
If someone asked me to speak to their organization, I said yes before I had a chance to think about it. I signed myself up for Toastmasters. I offered my services to organizations all around town. That year I gave 77 presentations. Gradually I noticed the change.
During one of my first speeches, I felt week in the knees. For weeks I noticed the butterflies. Then I noticed there were no butterflies.
Now I always sleep well before a keynote. I almost never get the butterflies I used to have.
Incorporate Extra-curricular Bravery
Even though I was harnessed and securely attached to a safety wire, moving along the wobbly obstacle course 40’ above the ground felt uncomfortable. Scary even. But, after I completed it, I was on top of the world. That feeling trickled into other parts of my life boosting my confidence for awhile.
I have had the same experience with 42-mile mountain bike rides. Long-distance hiking, Skiing. Swim competitions. And road races.
Extra-curricular bravery makes professional bravery easier.
These fear less tactics work for individuals and they can work for associations as well. In fact, some associations are already using them. While interviewing the most innovative associations, many respondents mentioned the continuum of innovation which involves starting small and continuously practicing change and innovation. Try out some of these tactics to get your association unstuck.