YOU MUST OVERCOME FEAR TO ACHIEVE SUCCESS
This is one of the most fearful times in our nation’s recent history. How we respond to it, both individually and collectively, may determine the outcome. However we view it, we must overcome our fears in order that we achieve the success God has already provided for us.
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control. (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)
The coping behaviors we are seeing – avoidance, denial, being reactive, staying busy – are somewhat predictable, as are the feelings produced – anxiety, anger. What’s causing such reactions, to a large degree, are unanswered questions such as these: Are we in this together, or is it everyone for themselves? Will we ever find our way out of this, and if so, how long will it take?
Among the unfortunate psychological side effects of a crisis like this is (1). People feeling isolated and believing that they having to work out their work and financial issues on their own because everyone else is preoccupied; (2). A loss of confidence in our economic and political institutions, and leadership of all kinds, and finally (3). A resulting loss of self-confidence, and even depression as people cope with the crisis in different ways.
We can feel powerlessness and hopeless, which produces a cycle of futility that can spiral downward. People bring all of this baggage to work, where it can show up in a lot of ways – cheerful denial, tense conversations, angry conflicts, misperceptions and miscommunication, and even distrust.
We do have a choice? The choice at home or at work is very simple: Let the fear control your reactions, or embrace the fear. At a time like this, we could easily go negative or reactive, with predictable results. We could go naively positive and be viewed as out of touch. We could bury our heads in the sands of busyness in the hopes the crisis will go away. But one thing is clear, this is one set of crises from which we can run but definitely not hide.
If we are not going to run and hide but embrace this fear, what do you need to do?
Stay grounded: Find your own ground first, where you are your true, authentic self – what truly matters to you, your core values, your mission in your work. Find a quiet place to reflect on what is true vs. what is perceived. From reflection comes discernment, and with discernment comes perspective and a more positive attitude.
Lead with compassion: This is a time to lead from the heart rather than the head. The work force needs reassurance, information, perspective and a chance to be heard. Over-communicate. Create opportunities for people to talk about their concerns. The worst thing that can happen is that we act like nothing is going on – and then we get what we get.
Maintain a realistic optimism: Practicing optimism in the face of the daily reports of Armageddon is not exactly easy. But optimism creates its own energy. It’s easier if we’re grounded daily, which gives us perspective. And with a positive attitude, we can avoid overreacting and actually create an environment in which we are looking for creative solutions.
Support each other: It’s about relationships. Everyone at work is going through the same stuff. Most people do not want to feel isolated or alone during times like these. Create opportunities for people to talk about their concerns and how they are problem-solving. In mutual support and communication, the work force will discover a new sense of community.
Go with the energy: What you resist persists. The more we resist engaging our fears, the worse they become. Go with the energy that is generated when people can have an honest conversation about the realities of how this economy is impacting work life. Once the dialogue is opened up, people will move from their concerns to solutions – and support for each other. This is the energy of true collaboration.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt famously said in his inauguration address in 1933 that “we have nothing to fear, but fear itself.” His words were meant to reassure a struggling people at the height of the Great Depression – the most difficult economic times this nation has faced in at least 100 years. It is a time for us to be authentic and truthful about our workplace challenges. It is a time to engage each other. It is a time to move beyond our fears to achieve success – together.
Now let me close with this final thought for each one of you who have taken the time to read this entire lesson and the many lessons we teach here daily, “Think globally, and work locally. Looking beyond ourselves in the real and on line world, to reach out to others who might be in need, for we all are truly our Brothers Keeper, may the grace of God abide in you now and forever, in Jesus name, Amen.