Fear is the biggest obstacle we face in growing in leadership. Whether founded or not, fear paralyzes. It keeps us from crossing the chasm that lies between who we are today and who we want to become as leader. Over time, fear contributes to the widening of our leadership gap.
What is the leadership gap?
Our leadership gap is the distance between where we want to be and where we will be unless we make a change.
Deciding to close the gap
Once you have recognized there is a gap and have the desire to close, expect your adversary to arise.
How do we face fear?
Your adversary is fear. The evidence you are on the right track is that you have an adversary. Be encouraged!
Fear is the right feeling at times like this. That inner voice that tells you that you can’t change. You may hear, “Leave things as they are; it is not your job” repeated over and over in your mind.
And even if we begin to believe we can change, the voice tells us we won’t be authentic if we begin acting differently. What would people think if we begin to act differently?
Believe me. This type of negative self-talk is normal. It is also a lie. Please don’t give into it. There is more for you if you can press through.
Before my transformation, I used to feel I was powerless to make change. Because I hadn’t done it before, I felt afraid. I didn’t realize that fear is exactly what we should be experiencing. Experiencing fear means we are at the door that will open the way to new and marvelous opportunities.
It is through fear that leaders establish themselves as worthy of leading.
As Seth Godin teaches, we must dance we fear. I agree.
I think that dancing with the fear is what is required to receive permission to lead others. It is what gives our teams hope that we can lead them through difficult times.
In the words of Steven Pressfield,
“Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do.”
What can we do?
If you are looking for a next step, you might consider the work of Herminia Ibarra. She teaches some concepts that will inspire and may aid you in growing as a leader in her book, Act like a leader, think like a leader. She states that,
“You start by making your job a platform for doing and learning new things.”
She encourages readers to,
Teach, speak, or blog on topics that you know something about, or about which you want to learn. And if there isn’t something out there that meets your needs, create your own.”
Such sage advice.
Becoming the leader others want to follow requires us to grow. Implicitly, we will need to find ways to walk through periods when we feel afraid. We will be required to leap.