Many people are held back from pursuing their goals because of fear: fear of failure, of judgement, or of creating adverse circumstances. Confident people are not fearless; they simply put fear into perspective and move forward despite it. In other words, they get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This can be especially difficult for women, who tend to look for surety and safe circumstances.Most women need to realize that people are rarely 100-percent prepared for whatever challenges they are taking on. But this does not stop successful people from moving forward, because they know they can learn and develop the skills that will be required to fulfill those challenges.
One key to transforming fear into action is to stop the “mad mind-chatter” of negative self-talk so many women are prone to. Self-doubt not only affects individuals internally, it can be projected externally to others, diminishing them in others’ eyes and thereby limiting options for advancement. Women who are especially prone to mad mind-chatter should practice affirming thoughts and train themselves to see situations objectively, rather than filtered through their own self-limited thinking.
Women also tend to hold back on expressing their ideas because they fear they will be poorly thought of or their ideas will be rejected. This is a deeply ingrained cultural behavior. In many instances this reluctance to express ideas is what keeps women from moving up the ranks. Everyone has a contribution to make. By holding back and keeping silent, women short-change themselves and their organizations.
Taking risks builds confidence and opens up a world of opportunities, but many women fear risk. However, the only way to overcome this fear is to begin taking risks. Each risk either yields a positive result or a learning to be applied to future risk taking. Women who avoid taking risks will hinder their growth and miss myriad opportunities.
Perfectionism is another common trait among many women, and it stems from the days of having to be twice as good as men to succeed in the same job. However, today perfectionism is a stumbling block that keeps women from moving forward and upward. Shedding perfectionism allows for more risk taking, encourages women to speak up, and provides them with more opportunities to gain confidence and take on challenges.
Choosing a stretch goal and taking small steps to reach it is an excellent way to overcome fear and achieve greatness in the workplace. Each successful step provides a confident foundation for the next step. Any failures should be viewed as learning opportunities. By pursuing goals step by step and maintaining an open and objective mind-set, any woman can achieve her dreams.
Progress and confidence are essential.
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