Dale Kurow Executive Coach
“My time spent with Dale was absolutely instrumental to the growth of my leadership skills. Let me be on record that this document does not do justice to the profound effect that Dale had on me and will have on me for the rest of my managing life.”

Jonathan Lederer, VP, Sales, Popkin Software,
New York City

Getting Past Fear

Have you gotten tons of career advice, solicited and unsolicited? You nod when you hear it and think, "Yeah, I know this stuff." So what else is new?

But what have you done with the advice? Fess up. Probably very little.

Do any of these scenarios fit:

You're in a job you absolutely hate. It's ruining your health and your life. You stay because of the money, or the fear that there's nothing better out there.

You're in a job where your boss ignores you, barks instructions and expects you to be a work alcoholic. But you stay because a new boss might be worse.

You're lazy. You figure that one of these days you'll hear about a great job, the economy will improve, or maybe your boss will realize how great you are. Plus you don't have a resume.

Or, you're unemployed, and decide not to pursue a job that you heard about, or a field you are interested in, because one person said they were looking for experience you didn't have. Well, they know best, right?

Hello. I want to grab you by the shoulders, look into your eyes and say "Wake up and smell the coffee!" Santa Claus is not coming down your chimney and Elvis has permanently left the building.

So, why do otherwise savvy adults live with this passive mindset?

F-E-A-R. Fear of failure. Fear of success. Fear of rejection.

You name it, fear has a starring role. With procrastination and laziness as co-stars.

But there's help at hand!

I read a book 12 years ago, Feel the Fear, and Do It Anyway

by Dr. Susan Jeffers that changed my life. It has been changing my client's lives ever since. (More about the book in the suggested reading section later).

The crucial thing I learned from this book is that everything depends upon your attitude, your perception of the situation.

Not what happens. Not what people say or do. But how you view it.

So, you've heard that before too, right? Has it changed the way you tell yourself how to view what happens, I doubt it.

Here's the powerful stuff (and stuff I've bet you've heard before too). Nobody changes his or her attitude without working at it. I'm here to tell you that you need to work that attitude muscle, just like you do your biceps at the gym. Otherwise, forget it.

You don't wake up one morning, optimistic, ready to take on the world and feeling like Pollyanna. Especially, if you're out of work, hate your job or are just plain lazy.

So, how do you change your attitude?

Years of therapy. No, just kidding.

Like exercising your biceps, the attitude muscle needs work everyday.

I recommend reading Jeffers book, cover to cover.

In the meantime, here are some tips:

Internal Dialogue exercises (you need to do these more than once a day for starters):

Change the dialogue you have with yourself. Instead of thinking "I'm afraid, or "I don't want to look stupid." Think, "I can handle that or "I know I will get a job."

Instead of thinking "Gee, that's a problem", think, "It's an opportunity." If someone says "You don't have the kind of experience for that type of work." Think, "It's one person saying it, and let me get more information."

And forget about words like should or try. Ban them from your vocabulary. They are negative and weak words. Own your power! You either will or won't.

When I first read Jeffers book, I pasted positive quotes all over the refrigerator and near my desk. I suggest you use quotes that are meaningful to you.

Here's one I love:

"I'm not a failure if I don't make it .I'm a success because I tried." Unknown

Finally, most people think they are the only one experiencing gut wrenching fear. NOT.

You are going to feel the fear whenever you are in new territory (a good thing) but SO IS EVERYONE ELSE. This is one club you'll want to join. Membership requirements - facing down your fear and bravely moving forward despite it!

Suggested Reading

"Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway"

by Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.

I love this book because it's straightforward, easy to read, and doesn't throw jargon at you. It's a great book for helping you to get unstuck. Jeffers offers practical tips and support in moving you forward. My copy is replete with sections I've underlined; sections I continue to refer back to. Here's an example, "Each path is strewn with opportunities despite the outcome." Imagine if you could adopt that mindset? I can see doors opening all over the place!

"What To Say When You Talk To Yourself"

by Shad Helmstetter

This book will help you to quiet the negative self-tapes that are a first cousin to fear. Helmstetter tell his story well and presents techniques to help you retool how you think. Read: attitude readjustment. One that puts you in control!

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Dale Kurow, Career & Executive Coach, 175 W. 76th St., New York, NY 10023