Why Fear Is Your Ally in Business
In business, good decision making is critical to the bottom line. The challenge for every business professional, however, is that decisions of consequence summon fear.
But fear, although overwhelmingly characterized as a negative experience, is not all bad. When positioned as an adversary, fear frustrates progress. Yet, when recognized as an ally, it can offer incredible insight. Here’s the thing: How you decide to navigate fear will affect your success in business. Why not make it a powerful weapon in your arsenal?
Position fear as your ally and capture these three levels of insight:
1. Heightened awareness.
It’s true that the devil is in the details. But people often miss them. Distractions are everywhere. In the midst of chaos and confusion, however, fear sends this powerful message: Pay closer attention. If you submit, you are rewarded with new avenues of perception. With an expanded vision of what’s possible, you can literally and figuratively see things more clearly.
Solid decision making is inspired by heightened awareness. Heightened awareness arouses curiosity. It also encourages a businessperson to be proactive, connect the dots and develop new alternatives. Clearly, the ability to identify nuances is vital at every level in business. When you recognize fear as a delivery system for clear thinking and enhanced focus, you will capture an extraordinary opportunity to produce results at the highest level.
2. Strategic preparation.
The motivation to dig deep and prepare is fear's way of protecting you against failure. In business, the goal is always the same: success. Therefore, strategic behavior that ensures competency, competitive advantage and scalability is fundamental for every business professional. Preparation is simply par for the course.
Because complacency is a mind-set that wreaks havoc in business, fear reminds an individual that without taking critical steps to produce results, missteps and failure may be more likely than not. To avoid these negative outcomes, fear inspires a person to plan in advance, which then triggers confidence when results matter the most.
3. Manage the crisis.
By directing a person to fight or take flight, fear urges someone to confront paralysis. Fear’s tip-of-the-spear message for business professionals is: Think on your feet and take appropriate action when conflict occurs. Mastering this concept is critical, if not urgent, in successfully navigating every business transaction.
Highly charged scenarios can happen at a moment’s notice. Careless handling can negatively affect business relationships and cripple the bottom line. Are you prepared to handle crises when they occur?
Or will you shut down and become a casualty of fear? The choice is yours. Courage is simply taking action in spite of fear. Ernest Hemingway famously described it as “grace under pressure.” Got grace?
Business leaders take heed: Turn fear on its head and let “grace under pressure” be your guide. Elevate your commitment to excellence by taking action in spite of fear. Harness the power of heightened awareness. Prepare. Confront paralysis and reach for success with fear as your ally, one good decision at a time. Then watch your results soar.
Entrepreneur Leadership Network Writer
Karima Mariama-Arthur is the founder and CEO of WordSmithRapport, an international consulting firm located in Washington, D.C. that specializes in professional development. She trains, coaches and consults for individuals and organizations on the dynamics of complex communication and high-performance leadership competence.