Don’t Let Fear Stand in The Way of Progress

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Published in The Business News on December 20th, 2021.

Irrational fears are a pretty common thing. I got the silent treatment for a week because I didn’t track down a mouse in the garage for my wife. It’s not like there was a bear in the garage, jeez…

While my wife’s fear of mice is all too real, I want to discuss irrational fears in the office. What are we afraid of and how is that impacting the company and/or our own career growth? Let’s jump right in:

Information Sharing

I spoke with a salesperson who didn’t want to share his contacts in a CRM. His rational for this was, “if I have all of my leads in the company CRM, why would they need me”. If the only thing you do for the company is make lists of names, you are absolutely right. However, I seriously doubt that a list is the full extent of the value you bring.

Did you and are you nurturing that relationship? Do you have a rapport? I can get a list of names from the Internet, but I don’t have a personal connection to those names. They’re just names.

So, how is this hurting you or the company? Let’s start with my go to: What if you get hit by a bus? Kind of a dark go to, huh. I wonder if I am suppressing childhood memories of bus accidents. Anyway, if you got hit by a bus, all of your information is lost. That definitely hurts the company and your client.

Take a look at your process, without the irrational fear of the company taking your list and kicking you to the curb. Are you accurately tracking all of the important information that you should be? Is it easy?

A CRM is pretty easy and has lots of options for tracking info, whether it is entered from the office or on the go. Are you doing less of a good job because you are worried that you are going to get fired? Shouldn’t you be worried about getting fired for doing a bad job?

Prescription: As your physician, I suggest you take a long look in the mirror and realize that you are way more than a list of names. Take a shot of confidence, get yourself organized and get to work.

Helping Your Coworker

“If I teach my coworker how to do something or give them assistance, they could take my job.”

But if you don’t, you’ll never get promoted and you’ll spend the rest of your miserable life doing this same task over and over, and for more and more hours per week. All the while, your coworker learned how to do your bosses job and got promoted over you.

Prescription: Making your team better will make you better. Your coworker may have ideas for your job that help you grow as well. Don’t be afraid of a little competition. Take another look in that Stuart Smalley mirror and take the daily affirmation that you’re good enough, you’re smart enough and doggone it, people like you. Confidence, Stuart. Teach your coworker and start polishing off that resume for your big promotion.

Admitting I don’t Know

“I am supposed to have all of the answers. If I say I don’t know, they’ll think I’m unable to do my job.”

First off, who is “they”? The person asking you a question because they don’t know the answer? Nobody has all of the answers and a simple “I don’t know” is going to go a heck of a lot further than the transparent, made up answer, you tried to fake your way through.

“I don’t know” can be one of the most powerful phrases you can use, as long as you back it up with, “but I’ll find the answer and get back to you”. Then all you have to do is find the answer and get back to them. Pretty simple stuff.

Prescription: Work, learn and grow. Don’t assume that you have to have all of the answers, all of the time. Be willing to do the work and be genuine. You got this!

Snappy Finish

Those are just a few. What fears you do see around the office? How are irrational fears impacting you, your company and/or your coworkers? What have you done to overcome your own fears or quash fears in your own workplace? I’d love to hear from you and keep this conversation going.