A few years ago I traveled to London with my family. We stayed at a hotel called The Hoxton, which was in an area of town that we knew very little. As the cab drove that afternoon toward the hotel we were a little concerned about the neighborhood. There was graffiti on the buildings and only a few people on the streets. Since we knew nothing about the area there was a slight concern for the unknown. Was this a safe part of town for walking? Did we need to stay in the hotel after dark?
Our concern, however, was unfounded. When we stepped into the hotel we were greeted with a warm welcoming vibe that immediately put us at ease. We learned that this was a new hip area of town that was a great place to meet locals and get a feel for the community. We had a wonderful stay. We would have missed out on this experience if we had allowed our concerns for the unknown to keep us from staying at the hotel.
This experience had me thinking again about the fear factor that permeates everything we do in life. Some activities offer low fear factors. Other activities bring us higher fear factors.
Each person experiences different levels of fear for different activities. Some people are afraid of heights, where others have no fear.
Fear motivates and suppresses our choices. Fear helps us decide how we live life. This fear can fracture you or benefit you depending on how you utilize your fear. If fear controls your life and your decisions, then you may have a more difficult time keeping emotions under control and making sound choices. Did you ever avoid talking to someone because you were afraid of the outcome?
If you recognize your fear, then you can manage the role it will play in your life. Have you ever been afraid, but decided to take the chance, knowing all the outcomes and accepting them?
This is also true for organizations. What if an organization is afraid to change the way something just because it was a new way? What if a manager is afraid that someone was trying to take his/her job?
Whether it is fear of a person, fear in your value as a person, or fear of not being liked, your response to fear will impact everything around you.
As you go through your day try to become aware of the role that fear plays in your life. Does fear help or hinder you?
If you find that you are hindered by fear now is the time to try to focus your efforts on turning fear into a help. Try not to avoid situations or people because you are uncomfortable. Keep focused on what you do well. Take on a new challenge that you would enjoy. You never know what you or your organization can do when fear isn’t controlling situations.