Try and make fear your friend, it may be here for a while

Try and make fear your friend

Ayrton Senna once said that “If you no longer go for a gap that exists you are no longer a racing driver”. Although we all experience fear differently, there have been times in my life when fear has galvanised me forward and others when it’s held me back. Senna also said later in his driving career “You do not allow yourself to be held ransom by emotions….especially fear”.

Fear, especially now, is a big part of our lives and we are having to dig deep and put one foot in front of the other – walking towards our post lockdown unknowns.

“Although we all experience fear differently, there have been times in my life when fear has galvanised me forward and others when it’s held me back” says Deborah Fleming, Founder of Chameleon Works and organisation change consultant.

“I have tried to use this time of disruption to make fear my friend; it may be here for a while.”

“Reframe it, above all reflect, and know it can take you somewhere called growth and change.”

She is speaking from experience – 13 years ago, fully employed and with a steady income, Deborah wished to launch a business idea which meant leaving the corporate securities behind.

With the pressure of her mortgage and her business idea to succeed, Deborah optimistically relied on her savings to provide a two-month window for her business to materialise and, provide an income.

“At this point, fear of not taking this idea to market was suddenly getting bigger than the fear of actually leaving my job with a nice steady income.

“I left my job and shared my idea with a colleague, Sally. She put her trust in me, sold my idea into her tech organisation and two years later ‘The Personality of Wine™’ had been delivered successfully to almost 300 employees.

“I had doubled my income and worked the hardest I had ever done in my life – then the first of two recessions hit.”

Many of us will probably be facing fear during these strange times, whether it be for ourselves, our families, or our friends.

“Fear itself can be isolating; we can hide it, avoid it, harness it or learn from it. In my role working with senior teams in organisations I see many conscious and unconscious reactions to fear.

“In my facilitation, the common factor for success is whether employees can talk about their fears out loud.”

“Far too often we can allow worry, anxiety and doubt to dominate our thinking and exhaust us into fear-based decision making; delaying the things we want to do, limiting our experiences and holding ourselves back by keeping our fear levels low”.

“If we do not acknowledge fear, we can project it unconsciously onto others, it can hold us back, or, even worse, we can let it rot us away for years”.

“For me, fear is a vital component of personal and organisational growth. I expect it to be there, especially when I’m working with senior teams.”

A recent study held by Jobsite revealed that due to fear, 40% of 2,000 employees in Britain felt career progression difficult. Almost half potentially limiting their potential and productivity.

Only 7% of the 2,000 questioned had chosen to talk to their manager about the issues they were experiencing or the fears they had.

33% believed that their fears and phobias (such as social interaction and public speaking) had affected their job but had chosen not to talk about it.

“The benefits of an experienced organisational change consultant stepping into the workforce can be vast; eliminating harmful traits and fear driven patterns, which subsequently improve productivity, reduce staff turnover and, become cost effective.”

Deborah’s experience working with leading brands such as BP, Matalan and Canopius has enabled her to evaluate the dynamics of a work force with an expert eye, rectifying and implementing new processes that long continue after her work is done.