Imagine you’re in a plane flying at 14,000 feet. You have a parachute strapped on your back and you’ve been properly trained to do your first solo skydive. You’re as ready as can be, but when the cargo bay door opens and the air rushes in, you finally realize what you’re about to do.
Your palms start sweating. Your heart is racing. You can’t catch your breath. You’re thinking a million reasons why you shouldn’t do this, and what even possessed you to get on the plane in the first place.
What’s holding you back? Fear.
Our minds experience fear to avoid endangering our lives, but what happens when that fear takes over and controls every aspect of our life? Fear is the type of HeadTrash that can completely overtake decision making and affect both work and home life.
One of the biggest symptoms of fear can be chronic procrastination– finding any reason not to take a big leap or make a decision that affects other people. As a manager, this can stunt career growth and ultimately hold back an entire team. A leader cannot exist without faithful followers, and the thought of disappointing those people can be exactly what sends that leader spiraling into Fear.
While it can be said that waiting or holding back on something is a sign of caution rather than actual fear, that’s not always the case. It is necessary to be cautious with major decisions, especially when there are major risks and consequences, but someone with the HeadTrash of Fear will hide it by saying they are just proceeding with caution when they’re letting their Fear take full control of their decisions.
This doesn’t mean that being cautious isn’t the right thing to do. Go back to the skydiving example. Just jumping out of a plane without being properly trained would be dangerous and reckless. Before deciding to take this adventure, you would conduct research, take classes and understand the risks involved.
Fear of risks is something that can also affect us on a personal level in the form of avoidance. People with Fear avoid making important decisions because they are scared of making the wrong choice, especially if that decision comes with significant changes. From choosing which college to attend to deciding whether to ask someone to become your spouse, fear of making the wrong choice can paralyze your life.
One way to overcome the fear of decision making is to begin by making smaller decisions. Choices like what to make for dinner and when to leave for work can serve as good practice for making bigger decisions later.
It makes complete sense for people to experience fear, whether they are contemplating a fall from 14,000-feet or evaluating important business decisions. Overcoming that fear and finding the courage to embrace decisions shows strength and instills trust in others. The power of a confident leader can go a long way, and even more so when the HeadTrash of Fear is no longer an impediment.