It’s Halloween, one of my favorite holidays, and not just because of the candy, though I do like candy and I support candy corn.
It’s a day for being frightened and being something you are not. Maybe a good time to address fear as a leader. It’s good to be scared. it’s good to be vulnerable. You hear these things a lot as a manager or leader. Do the things that scare you the most. But it’s not often so cut and dry as standing on the ledge.
The things that scare us as we rise are deeper and a bit more hidden. It’s a lot like anxiety – the real fear will hide under a different, more socially acceptable fear.
Let me try to explain, using a very recent example. I just got a new job. And in the process of evaluating this and other offers, I kept shying away from the one I eventually took. I knew there was something afoot because there was no reason not to be excited about the potential of the job. If I laid everything out, the pros outweighed the cons and most of my priorities were addressed so what was my issue?
On the surface, I thought I was afraid of leaving Los Angeles, my adopted home, and that there were a couple things about the job that worried me. That’s not normally the sort of thing that stops me, though.
I did a little emotional excavating and in talking to others, I found that what I was scared of was acceptance. This sounds crazy, but I have made a career out of being a digital misfit. I call myself a troublemaker. And here was a job, offering me leadership potential, and asking me to please keep doing the things I’ve always done. I was so accustomed to the adversity, of pushing back, that I doubted that acceptance was real. Mega Impostor Syndrome, no?
I’m going to sit with this fear and evaluate it. I’m going to make friends with it.
Next time you find yourself pulling back from something and you don’t know why, ask yourself what you think you’re afraid of. Then ask yourself what else there is. Keep digging, keep emotionally excavating and talking your fears out until you figure out what it really is. Then ask it for some candy and be on your merry way.
I’m about to recommend tissue to you. Yup.
I had a wee cold last week and I rediscovered these lifechanging tissues: Puffs with Vicks. Every time I blew my nose, it was like taking a shower with Vicks and it’s so comforting. It’s flu season, and I can never find these tissues outside of this time of year, so stock up.