Seven basic business fears and how to overcome them

How to overcome basic business fears

Do you think the secret to succeeding in life is to take fewer risks and play it safe? Guess again. As new research by the creators of the bestselling book Make change work for you demonstrates, it actually pays to be bolder, more courageous, and more willing to put yourself out there on the personal and professional fronts – that risky is the new safe, so to speak.

But as interviews with scores of leading business researchers, self-made successes, and senior leaders at market-leading firms from Merck to Cisco and EMC (whose insights and feedback are reflected in the below infographic) also reveal, fear exerts a major influence over today’s workplace. Fear can severely inhibit one’s ability to change, adapt, and grow, which are vital concepts that tomorrow’s leaders must embrace if they wish to succeed in an increasingly unpredictable and uncertain age of endless disruption.

Business fears come in seven distinct flavours:

  1. Failure. The possibility of being unable to successfully achieve a goal or complete a task set by yourself or others.
  2. Embarrassment. The shame and self-consciousness felt when one feels humiliated, unable to live up to expectations, or socially conform.
  3. Underperformance. Performing at a level that you or others believe to be less than adequate, or not reflective of your full potential.
  4. Rejection. When you, your company, or the products or services you represent are refused, turned away, or avoided by others.
  5. Change and uncertainty. The process of acting or reacting differently—and the discomfort that accompanies these shifts or surrounding risks and uncertainties.
  6. Confrontation. Having a negative or even hostile interaction with others.
  7. Isolation. The feeling of being alone or left to operate solo without others’ support.

Happily though, as feedback from study participants demonstrates, fear needn’t be such a troublesome source of challenge or alarm for so many working event professionals and organizations today. In fact, learning to embrace fear and use it as a warning signal of sorts (a.k.a. a radar which alerts us to rising sources of concern or interest), can be a leading driver of growth and competitive advantage on both the personal and professional fronts.

A key point to embrace for anyone hoping to succeed in tomorrow’s increasingly competitive and volatile business world is simply as follows: Don’t avoid fear, but rather lean into it, learn from it, and practically and persistently set about even the most intimidating of tasks – you may be surprised at the results you achieve.

A few key points to note from the study:

  • Fear is the #1 single biggest barrier to growth, productivity, and success in the workplace.
  • Fear comes in multiple flavours – there are actually seven different types of business fear that stand between us and achieving our goals.
  • At odds with traditional thinking, insights show the trick to finding success is to take more, not fewer professional risks – doubly so in a fast-moving and highly disruptive working world.

Inside the infographic, you’ll find a summary of findings – and several simple solutions that any business or working professional can apply to unleash creativity, unlock innovation, and drive ongoing growth by making more courageous decisions.

Business fears that are holding you back

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