Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Tool #77) Dealing with Fear

Fear is just and emotion – it is not a defect of character – it alerts us to danger so we can take appropriate action to protect ourselves.  Fear activates our “fight or flight” mechanism.  When confronted with danger, this fight or flight mechanism causes us to have an almost immediate reaction to fight back or flee from the perceived danger.  People in ancient days who did not have this response did not live long enough to have offspring.

But Fear unleashed is crippling, paralyzing.  Like a deer in the headlights, Fear unleashed puts us in even more danger by preventing us from thinking rationally or taking action to protect ourselves.  When this happens, FEAR itself becomes dangerous and becomes an obsession, feeding on itself as it builds.  We become victims of our own “false fears.”  Fear of the unknown, fear of loss, fear of non-acceptance are just a few of these crippling fears. Most of our fears are unfounded and it’s these unfounded fears that spin in our head like a squirrel cage out of control.

A few common False Fears are:

Fear of Failure – can cause us to refuse to attempt those things we want to do.  We often find ourselves pouring our energy into avoiding failure rather than succeeding at the task at hand.  It paralyzes us into non-action.

Fear of Rejection – causes us to keep others at arm’s length, thereby not giving them the opportunity to reject us.  We often become overly aggressive in a relationship and tend to “people please.”  This sabotages intimacy and creates in others the exact thing which we fear – rejection.

Fear of being Alone – often causes us to remain in unhealthy or abusive relationships.

Fear of Loss of Self-image – puts us always on guard.

Fear of Powerlessness over others creates within us a desire to control the lives of others.

“Freedom from Fear” doesn’t mean having no fear – it means having a life that is not “dominated by Fear.”

Willingness to share gives us strength in knowing we are not the only ones with these fears and others have gotten through it.  Sharing gives us encouragement that we too can get through it.  By addressing our fears individually, we begin to develop courage and confidence and begin to see that the “fear itself” was worse than what we feared.

A regular practice of prayer and meditation develops faith that we have help to conquer our fears.  To develop faith empowers us to understand that we are never alone, and no matter what happens, we will survive, learn from it, and continue to grow.


Ask yourself:

  • What exactly is it that I fear?
  • What, in reality, is the likelihood this will happen?
  • If this does happen, what is the absolute worse outcome?
  • Would I be able to continue living if this really did happen?
  • What rational steps can I take to protect myself?
  • Then take the steps.
  • Once your footwork is done, turn it over to your Higher Power.

– excerpt from “The Manager’s Toolbox”


October 28, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development | , , , , , , ,

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