Entries Tagged as Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway

"Feeling the Fear and Being Our Powerful Selves" by Philippa Linane

March 30, 2016 ·

When I run my Feel the fear and do it anyway workshops or give talks on the subject I encourage the use of the following affirmations from the book Feel the fear and do it anyway by Susan Jeffers: “I am powerful and I am loving”, “I am powerful and I am loved” and “I am powerful and I love it” I ask everyone “who likes or is comfortable with the word ‘power’?” and very few, if any of the attendees raise their hands out of a mostly female audience. I ask the class to repeat each affirmation five times, it starts as a mumble or a whisper and the uncomfortable feeling around the room is highly evident. After the fourth repetition I ask them to say it like they mean it. By the time we get to “I am powerful and I love it” and especially by the fifth repetition the energy in the room has shifted and people are smiling and laughing, people are starting to realise it is only a word and noticing the positive effect it has on them. These affirmations helped me enormously in changing my life for the better, enabled me be able to sit here now and type this and if I am brave enough to publish it, to be my authentic self, to express myself and I encourage everyone to have a go and use them, no one need know, you just affirm them to yourself regularly and see what happens.

So much is attached to a word, people often think of power as negative, as someone being stronger than another or having power over others. The definition of power according to Thesaurus is ability, competence, dynamism, effectiveness, gift, potential, skill, talent. According to the Oxford English Dictionary it means the ability to or capacity to do something, or act in a particular way, to direct or influence the behaviour of others.

How about we change our thinking for a moment and think about being powerful within ourselves? Who would not want to be these things, to have potential, to be competent, to be influential over our own choices and decisions and how we react to situations, to create joy, satisfaction and love in our lives and to do what is necessary for our own self growth. Why is it then so difficult to think and believe in ourselves as being powerful individuals?

When raising children we largely, or at least I believe we should be encouraging children to be able to handle situations, to be their best, competent, skilful, talented, gifted selves, we want them to have potential and we are proud of them if they turn out to be influential in making a positive difference and create joy and satisfaction in their lives. Why then do we not want this for ourselves?

It is my experience that men are more at ease with the word power than women, so I am urging all of us women “On this International Women’s day to stand up, leave comparisons aside and be your most authentic powerful self, show off your skills, your talents, your abilities, your dynamism, how competent you are, and stand tall in your own unique and individual way. It is absolutely safe and okay to be you.”

So Feel the fear and decide to brave, courageous and brilliant at being powerful and loving, being powerful and loved and being powerful and loving it!!

And let me know how you get on…

To see more from Philippa, visit www.decisionhappy.com.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Personal Development

Dancing Your Own Dance

February 24, 2016 ·

In End the Struggle and Dance with Life, Susan Jeffers makes a strong point for being true to yourself. So much of what makes life difficult is when we try to be a person we are not. This is especially true of a working environment where individual identity is suppressed for the betterment of the company.

“Everyone has his or her own dance to dance...literally and figuratively.  Some of us want to spread our arms wide to new adventures.  Some of us want to open the curtain just a little bit for the time being.  Some of us want to light a huge bonfire.  Some of us want just a little flame to radiate our own special light into the world.  Never worry if you are doing it wrong.  There is no wrong. It's your dance.  And every day it's a new dance for all of us.  It is important to trust your own rhythm, your own movement.” 

Susan wrote this about everyday life, but when it applies to the workplace it becomes a powerful reminder that everyone is different and will approach work in a different capacity. Requiring everyone to do the same work in the same way is a good way to kill morale in a workplace. Companies need to recognize their employees as individuals with unique talents and strengths. But as employees, we also need to recognize that in our supervisors, our colleagues, and in ourselves.

Here are some examples exploring how recognizing individuals can make a work environment more productive and more welcoming.

Jim was habitually late to work in the morning. He’d drag himself in late, bleary-eyed. His supervisors spoke to him about it, but to no avail. Jim’s excuse was that he wasn’t a morning person. Jim was well on his way to unemployment until the department manager suggested that instead of working an 8 to 5 shift, Jim worked 9 to 6. The change was miraculous. Not only was Jim able to make it to work on time, his productivity soared. This led the company to offer more flexible hours to all their employees allowing them to choose the time they came in, between 7 and 10.

Carol and Sarah were assigned to work on a project together with a few other coworkers. The project was going nowhere as the two women were at loggerheads. The reason behind the holdup is that both women, dedicated to their work, had vastly different ideas on how to make the project succeed. It wasn’t until another person in their working group suggested divvying the responsibilities that things started to move forward. Carol, who is deadline oriented and who likes agendas and timelines, took on the parts of the project that were more straightforward. Sarah, who approaches her work in a less structured, more dynamic way, took on the aspects of the project that required more creativity. By coming to terms with the fact that they worked in different ways, they were then able to “dance their own dance” in a way that made the project’s outcome a success.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

This Is Not the Year of Fear

January 27, 2016 ·

“Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening!” - Gertrude Stein

At the beginning of the year, BBC News in the UK published an article called “U.S. Set For Year of Fear,” which explained how politicians in a major election year exploit and expound upon people’s fears. As 2016 is a presidential election year in the U.S., the article explains that during these big election cycles each candidate makes themselves out to be the hope and the solution, all the while stirring up fears in their constituents about “this dangerous time in history.”

Fear sells … whether it’s an election or products or services … and there are plenty of things to be scared of. Susan Jeffers wrote in her book, End the Struggle and Dance with Life, “I certainly don't need to remind you that this is a world where dangers lurk everywhere. Our newspapers and television news shows present us with a daily litany of violence, incurable diseases, natural disasters and an untold number of tragedies that could befall anyone of us, at any age, at any time of day. It makes one want to turn and run the other way. But where is there to run? Nowhere!”

She went on to write that it often feels that fear plagues our modern world. “We fear beginnings; we fear endings. We fear changing; we fear ‘staying stuck.’ We fear success; we fear failure. We fear living; we fear dying.”

Modern society is built upon fear. How can politicians save us if there isn’t a bogeyman? How can companies sell us their products if they don’t make us feel that we don’t have enough? Even the media—newspapers, magazines, TV shows, websites—are concerned with making us fear the world so that we turn to them for answers. We feel like we have to keep up with all the latest developments on scandals and murders—read and watch and consume all the terrible happenings in the world.

But you know what? We don’t. In Susan’s landmark book, Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, she wrote at the very beginning, “You may be surprised and encouraged to learn that while inability to deal with fear may look and feel like a psychological problem, in most cases it isn’t. It is primarily an educational problem, and that by reeducating the mind, you can accept fear as simply a fact of life rather than a barrier to success.”

Fear doesn’t have to be a way of life. All the things going wrong in the world are only a small part of the whole story. When you rearrange your thinking, how you look at the world, when you learn to see past the fear mongering, you’ll notice that there is a lot of good. In many ways, there is more good in the world than bad. But misery and fear don’t sell products or get people elected to office.

You get to choose how you interact with the world. You have a choice to see the world as a good place or a place of fear. 2016 doesn’t need to be a year of fear. It only will be if you let it.

Tags: Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Genuinely Contributing to the Workplace

November 23, 2015 ·

“If we are constantly expecting, we will spend a great deal of our lives disappointed that the world isn’t treating us right.” - Susan Jeffers

We all go to work each day with the basic expectation that we will be compensated for our efforts. Yet how many of us go to work each day and expect praise or acknowledgement, attention, or returned favors? We get in the habit, whether we like our job or not, to expect that when we contribute to the company or business we will get a return above and beyond compensation. We aren’t giving because it is the right thing to do. We are giving from a mentality of “what’s in it for me?”

This is a fearful way to approach a work environment. Always looking at how your actions will benefit yourself is an act of fear. People who feel this way will never be able to genuinely contribute, to their jobs or their personal lives. They are filled with a sense of scarcity, as if there isn’t enough to go around and if they share what they have, they fell they will be left with nothing. The fear is that there is not enough love, not enough money, not enough praise, not enough attention—simply not enough.

As Susan Jeffers wrote, “Usually fear in one area of our lives generalizes, and we become closed down and protective in many areas of our lives. Fearful people can be visualized as crouched and hugging themselves.”

This fearfulness can manifest in the workplace as:

  • Successful business people needing their boss’s approval
  • Coworkers that seem to be competing with everyone
  • Company executives who make harmful, irresponsible decisions
  • Persons who have to control everything down to the tiny details
  • Coworkers who always expect the “favor” to be returned

These people are all operating, in some way, out of a sense of fear for their own survival. As Susan said, “They all are, in effect, crouched and withholding inside.”

She wrote, “If you recognize yourself in this description, join the rest of us. There are few in our society who have actually been taught the secrets of growing up and giving. We have been taught the illusion of giving, but not the actuality of giving. As we have been taught to be careful in terms of our physical safety, we have also been taught not to let anyone con us or take advantage of us. As a result, unless we get something back, we feel used.”

But it doesn’t have to be this way. If you feel as if you are doing extra to contribute in order to get “paid back” in some way, then you need to step away and think about why. What need are trying to fulfill? When you address that part of you, you will be able to turn off the negative mind-set of “what’s in it for me?” and become a person who acts on “what can I do to help?”

Learning to give genuinely is a lesson easily learned but hard to put into practice. Yet it is a reachable goal. One that is very much worth reaching for. 

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Knocking on the Door of Opportunity

October 26, 2015 ·

There are so many aphorisms about opportunity—how easy it is to miss it, how hard it can be to recognize…and there is a lot of truth in those sayings. “Opportunity is where you find it” is one of the most basic and important ones. Opportunities arise every day, but how often do you notice? How many of us forget to look out for it? How many of us are waiting for it to come knocking on our door?

Opportunities are a set of circumstances that make new things, new breakthroughs possible. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to advance our careers or move forward in life. If we put in the hours and effort, we are sure to one day get that big opportunity for advancement. But what if while we are working so hard we can’t see the opportunity for what it is? As Mark Twain said, “I was seldom able to see an opportunity until it had ceased to be one.”

We all do this—get comfortable in our expectations. Yet when we do, we can miss valuable chances to expand and grow. Susan Jeffers expressed it this way in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway: “If you are focused on ‘the way it’s supposed to be,’ you might miss the opportunity to enjoy the way it is or to have it be wonderful in a totally different way from what you imagined.”

Take a look at your own goals and routine to evaluate if you have gotten “too comfortable.” Maybe it’s time to shake things up, such as taking a class, volunteering outside the workplace, or volunteering for a project that you would normally shy away from. Anything you can do to open up your worldview will help you to be open to new opportunities and to have an attitude that is welcoming to change. As Susan wrote:

The world is a place for opportunity, and I look forward to the opportunities for learning and growing that it gives me.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Change Is Scary, But You Don’t Have to Be Afraid

October 12, 2015 ·

Change can be scary for everyone, but it is often even more frightening when it happens in the workplace. So many of us get used to our “daily grind” that when something happens to change it we find our fear levels amped up and rising, even if we are not under direct threat of losing our position. Whether it’s a company buyout, new management, or just a minor change in staffing, the uncertainty that comes with change can make us feel threatened. Yet fear will not help us do our jobs better. We are more likely to undermine our good intentions and efforts when working under the burden of fear, leading us to feel powerless.

In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan Jeffers offers a number of exercises that can help us feel noticeably more powerful when confronted with changes to our work environment. Adapted from those exercises are five that can help us deal positively, rather than fearfully, with workplace change.

  1. When facing a change at work we are often holding on to a “picture” of what we think it should be. What image are you holding onto? Be as honest with yourself as you possibly can. When you are aware that you are seeing things as you wish them, you can stop yourself to take another look to how things really are.
  2. Be mindful of all the options you have during the course of a given day. When uncertainty begins to overwhelm you, think instead of all the possible ways you can act and feel about the situation. Be conscious of the alternatives available to you. Make it a game. In no way should you put yourself down for being upset. Those worries are a great clue as to where you need to begin changing your thinking.
  3. Take a pen and paper, or open a new document on your computer, and make a list of all the choices available to you. In every situation there are at least thirty ways to change your point of view. Writing them down helps you to clearly see all angles, giving you the opportunity to choose the most auspicious mindset.
  4. Notice how you talk with coworkers. If your conversation includes a lot of complaining and blaming, think about ways you can communicate your opinions without being negative. If you find that some colleagues are continually negative and unsupportive, try to avoid them, if possible.
  5. Look for any gifts you are receiving from the change you’re experiencing. It may not seem like there are any, but if you look at things differently you may be surprised. Think about it: you may be garnering further career experience, maybe you could come up for promotion earlier than expected, or maybe you’re just being given the opportunity to really evaluate what you want out of your career. Any happening can be a gift if you look for it.

Change is scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Recognize your fears and then turn your mind to more constructive thinking. It may be hard to put your worries to the side, but far more constructive to find the optimistic aspects of any situation.

The important thing to remember is that change is not the end of the world—it never has been. Change is really about new beginnings. New starts may be a little scary, but they are also exciting, giving us the chance to stretch outside our old limits. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers

Winning at the Indecision Game

September 30, 2015 ·

You’ve got a decision to make. It might be as insignificant as choosing which pens to keep in the company supply closet. Or it could be very important, like choosing a software to help your company stay competitive in its field. We all face decisions every day—thousands of small and large choices to make. With all the responsibility and stress involved, it is no wonder that we can sometimes become indecisive. One of the biggest things that can keep us from moving ahead with our lives is the fear involved in making decisions.

It can take a lot out of us when we are indecisive. The worrying and fretting, the negative chatter going on in our heads. This is incredibly detrimental to our well-being and can negatively affect our work. Susan Jeffers, in Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, called it the No-Win model of thinking. In this line of thinking, when you stand at the “Choice Point” of making a decision, “You feel somewhat paralyzed as you think about the consequences in life-and-death terms. You look at the unknown and try to predict the future; you try to take control of outside forces. Both are impossible. At this point you might notice that you are driving yourself crazy.” If you choose Path A or Path B both are going to be the wrong choice because you will constantly be reassessing the situation hoping that you didn’t make a mistake.

Susan recommends approaching decision making using the No-Lose Model of decision making. The No-Lose model reminds us that whatever we decide, it will be OK. Even if the decision we make doesn’t work out exactly as we wanted, it is still the RIGHT decision. It works this way, when you find yourself at the “Choice Point” and you have two or more options to choose from, look at the unique opportunities that are available in both choices. Know that there is no such thing as a “wrong” choice. Every opportunity offers its own set of benefits and learning experiences. It comes down to how you look at it.

That is not to say that you should blindfold yourself and choose one path at random. When you are faced with a decision there are five steps you should take before deciding anything:

  1. Focus on the opportunities
  2. Do your homework and research
  3. Establish your priorities
  4. Trust your impulses
  5. Lighten up!

Then, once you have made your decision, make sure you:

  1. Throw away your picture of what you think the outcome should look like
  2. Accept total responsibility for your decisions
  3. Don’t protect the decision, make corrections to it as needed.

Susan said, “Remember that underlying our indecision is a lack of trust in ourselves.” So trust yourself and the decisions you make and know that there are opportunities available to you no matter what you decide. 

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Leadership Development · Overcome Fear · Susan Jeffers

What Can Happen When the Bottom Line is Expanded

September 16, 2015 ·

In the last blog, we talked about making room in your work goals to be a more connected coworker. In this blog, we want to show you an example of how it can work. This is an example taken from Susan Jeffers book Dare to Connect.

In one of my workshops, I instructed all my students to try expanding the bottom line and participating full-out in their jobs for one entire week. I asked them to “act-as-if” their actions really made a difference to everyone around them. The key question they were to ask themselves during the week was:

“If I were really important here, what would I be doing?”

And then they were to set about doing it. Peggy resisted the assignment. She lamented that she hated her job in a public relations firm and was just biding her time until she found a new one. Each day was pure drudgery as she watched the clock slowly move through the eight painful hours. With great skepticism, she finally agreed to try it for just one week, to expand her bottom line and commit 100% to her job, knowing that she really counted.

The following week, as I watched Peggy walk into the room, I couldn’t believe the difference in her energy level. She reported the events of her week:

“My first step was to brighten up the dismal office with some plants and posters. I then started to really pay attention to the people I work with. If someone seemed unhappy, I asked if there was anything wrong and if I could help. If I went out for coffee, I always asked if there was anything I could bring back for the others. I complimented people. I invited two people for lunch. I told the boss something wonderful about one of my co-workers. (Usually I’m selling myself!)

Then I asked myself how I could improve things for the company itself. First I stopped complaining about the job—I realized I was such a nag! I became a self-starter and came up with a few very good ideas which I began implementing. Every day I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish and I set about accomplishing them. I was really surprised by how much I could do in a day when I focused on what I was doing! I also noticed how fast the day goes by when I am involved. I put a sign on my desk that said, ‘If I were really important here, what would I be doing?’ And every time I started to fall back into my old patterns of boredom and complaining, the sign reminded me what I was supposed to be doing. That really helped.”

What a difference a simple expansion of the bottom line made in just one short week! It made Peggy feel connected to everyone and everything around her—including the organization itself.

It’s important to note that her commitment didn’t mean she had to stay at this job forever; it only meant that while she was there it was in everyone’s best interest, particularly her own, to create a caring environment. Who wants to spend their days in an energy filled with alienation, boredom and negativity? (I would find it strange if anyone answered YES to that question!) It is also worth noting that with such positive energy, the likelihood of Peggy getting a great recommendation and finding a new, more challenging job would be greatly increased!

Tags: Confidence · Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development

Expanding the Bottom Line

August 31, 2015 ·

The “bottom line” is a very important concept in business—it signifies the particular end that justifies all the means. If you ask most people to identify what is presently the bottom line in their work world, they would most likely answer, “Getting Ahead.”

This is really a shortened version of “Getting Ahead—usually of someone else in terms of profit, status, and/or power.” This does not make for great work connections or good relations with coworkers. But, what if we expanded our bottom line to be, “Getting Ahead and caring about coworkers”?

As we add a level of connectedness to our bottom line, our purpose is greatly expanded. As Susan Jeffers said in Dare to Connect, “We can begin to bridge the gap with our coworkers as we start to see them as people just like us, people who would welcome our caring and consideration.”

It may seem that “Getting Ahead” and “Caring About Coworkers” are conflicting concepts, but they don’t have to be. The actions and attitudes that come from the narrow bottom line of “Getting Ahead” are very different from those that come from the expanded bottom line of “Getting Ahead and Caring About Coworkers.” It changes our thinking from You OR Me to You AND Me.

Thinking along the lines of the expanded bottom line, ask yourself:

  • Am I a positive force in at work?
  • Do I help people feel good about themselves by building them up or do I pull them down by being judgmental and critical?
  • Do I offer my help to those who could use it or do I withhold, out of fear they may get ahead of me?
  • Am I a taker, or do I also give a lot to those around me?
  • Do I show genuine interest in the lives of my co-workers, or do I act as if I couldn’t care less?

When we answer these questions truthfully, we can begin to adjust our thinking towards working with others instead of just trying to get ahead. Expanding the bottom line can not only make work more productive, but more interesting and pleasurable too. 

Tags: Corporate Training · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Leadership Development · Susan Jeffers

The Chatterbox vs. Affirmations

July 21, 2015 ·

Our inner voices often seem to have an agenda of their own, and often they can be downright pessimistic. Susan Jeffers called this discouraging inner voice “the Chatterbox.”

Susan explained: “The Chatterbox is the little voice inside, the voice that tries to drive you crazy— and often succeeds! I’ll bet some of you don’t even know it’s there, but I promise you it holds the key to all your fears. It’s the voice that heralds doom, lack, and losing. We’re so used to its presence we often don’t even notice it is talking to us.”

The Chatterbox can be especially devastating in our working lives. The Chatterbox picks up on all the tiny disappointments, slights, and fears we face and amplifies them tenfold. When we feel passed over, when a colleague is disrespectful, when we feel as if our workload will never get finished, all of these things and more feed the Chatterbox—which then plays all those things back to us, repeatedly, until it informs our state of mind.

But, you can beat the Chatterbox! You can push that inner voice far enough back so that it can’t forecast doom and gloom. Susan’ prescription is to outtalk your negativity.

Certainly, it is a challenge and a big one at that, but it can be done. In Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway, Susan described a number of tools to outtalk your Chatterbox. The number one tool she always supported was using affirmations.

An affirmation is a positive statement that something is already happening. It’s not happening tomorrow or in the future, but right now. An affirmation is self-talk in its highest form. It’s one of your greatest tools, and the easiest and cheapest to use.

An affirmation can be anything—a positive statement, a quote that inspires you, even “feel the fear and do it anyway”—as long as it is meaningful to you. Choose one or several, use the same ones every day or change them with your mood. What do you do with all these inspiring words? Repeat them. Repeat them often. Write them down and put them around your workspace. Use these positive statements to help outtalk the Chatterbox. When you realize that you are getting mired in the gloom of the Chatterbox, drown it out with your affirmations.

It will take time to retrain your mind, but you will find yourself better able to tackle each work day since nothing, not even your own Chatterbox, can get you down.

Tags: Confidence · Feel the Fear...and Do It Anyway · Individual Training · Overcome Fear · Personal Development · Susan Jeffers