Fear of failure will stop you becoming the person you deserve to be… it will stop you living the life you deserve to live.
Here is how I overcame that fear… maybe it can help you?
Imagine a world where the work you do is fulfilling, enjoyable and makes a valuable contribution.
We all want to work in a place like that… and if you’re a leader, so do your followers.
Working isn’t just about getting paid… it should be so much more than that!
With a little thought and determination, This is possible… for you.
It is important to understand that pretty much every job you will ever do will have three separate work types within it… Bad work, good work and great work.
What you have to do is identify which tasks fall into each section and then ensure you appropriately distribute your time, to allow for more great work.
This is the pain in the arse, boring, life-sucking tasks your job involves. You know what I am talking about. The stuff that you have to do, which doesn’t appear to have any redeeming qualities or add any value to anything!
It’s the red-tape… The administration… The things that are in your job that are designed to keep you busy.
This is pretty much your job description – The day to day tasks that enable your role to be productive. These are the tasks that are directly linked to objectives you have and enable you to make progress towards them.
If all you ever do is your job description, you will be doing good work… But not fulfilling work…
This is value added tasks and responsibilities. This type of work won’t be in most standard job descriptions as it is way over and above the basic expectations of the job.
This is the type of work that is autonomous, creative, has real impact and contributes to the growth and development of you and those surrounding you. It makes your hair stand on end, it gets the blood pumping and the adrenaline flowing… It generates long term value to your company and your people.
99.9% of the world’s population want to make a positive contribution. They want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. A job description isn’t that… Great work is.
Ask yourself, “If I could do anything to radically improve the performance of myself and the people around me, what would I do?”
And in the answer, you have great work.
Identify what tasks in your job are in each section – Bad work, good work and great work.
Pro-actively reduce the amount of time you spend in bad work (I know it might be red tape that needs to be done, but does that honestly mean you have to spend your quality time there? No… Do it, do it quickly and don’t let it take more energy than it deserves!)
Do your good work… This needs to be done to do a good job!
Create time and opportunities to partake in great work – Make it a priority. If you do your performance will rise, your wellbeing will improve and the value you add will be a powerful contribution to those around you.
If you are a leader… Just take a moment to think about your followers. How much bad, good and great work do they have?
As a leader it is your responsibility to allow the environment for great work for your team – more great work will equal more innovation, creativity & productivity, which in turn equals ultimately better results.
About 15 years ago, I worked for a company that decided to reduce the number of managers within the company structure.
So all of my colleagues and I had to be re-interviewed and assessed for our jobs…. needless to say this revealed an ugly side to pretty much all of us. We were all fiercely out for ourselves, with very little care or thought to the other people around us. The bonds of team work disappeared during this process and it was heartbreaking to be a part of.
When it was all over I thought things would go back to normal – but it didn’t. For the people who remained the fear lived on. Nobody felt safe ever again.
This is an extreme example, but it has a point…. THREATS WILL KILL PERFORMANCE.
As soon as our jobs were at risk, our instant reaction was to go into self preservation mode and defend ourselves.
How good do you think customer service was? How about training and development? How about sharing of best practice?
Absolute Zero – because we were under threat.
Potentially losing your job is an obvious threat, but there are other, more subtle, but just as damaging threats we use in day to day management.
Maybe you have used some of these?
What do your team think will happen to them if they don’t reach the sales target?
Or ensure costs are within budget?
What do your team think will happen if they get audited?
Or if a customer complaint comes in?
Have you as a leader made sure that all of these would be seen as growth opportunities or does your team feel threatened by them?
Because if they do – then YOU are eroding your teams performance level.
Threats reduce the circle of trust – and people who do not feel safe, who do not feel trusted… WILL NOT ACT IN THE INTERESTS OF THE TEAM AND WILL NOT PERFORM TO THIER POTENTIAL.
Any threat will have this effect… the smaller the threat… the smaller and more gradual the reaction.
If this sounds like something you may have done in your leadership role, then here are some ideas that will help restore the circle of trust with your team.
I realise this is will not be popular advice – particularly for those in leadership roles.
The idea of a leader admitting they got something wrong, means they would have to show vulnerability – which, if we are honest, most of us just don’t want to do.
Even in today’s enlightened world, where the benefits of authentic leadership have been scientifically proven… It is still incredibly rare to find a leader who is brave enough to show genuine vulnerability.
However, if you want your team to feel trusted, to feel safe and to work at their potential, with the success of the group at heart – Then you will have to apologise if you have threatened them. It is the only way to open the gate of the circle of trust again.
Think of it from a follower’s perspective – What is more motivating? A leader who lets past threats hang over their team OR a leader who correctly identifies poor behaviour, apologises for it and looks to find a better way forward.
I know which leader I would prefer to work for.
The reason leaders threaten is obvious – they want to improve performance and a sense of urgency in their teams. It is not that they are bad leaders who want to cause pain and suffering to all those who work for them. No – most of them just want to generate better results.
And in the short term, this can work. But it will NEVER last – It can’t. When people don’t feel safe and only look after their self interest, it is impossible for a team like this to be high performers for any length of time.
What is needed is a positive re-frame: transform from threatening tactics that extrinsically motivate… to high performance environments that intrinsically motivate. A leader will need to identify and then implement the best possible environment for their team to perform at the highest level possible, over the short-term AND long-term.
Actions speak louder than words
The leader who encourages creativity… the leader who will ensures their team is safe… the leader who will take accountability when times are tough and give credit when the good times roll in…
Is the leader who has a team that would shed blood, sweat and tears for them
We live in a high stress world, where nothing ever seems to be good enough. As a leader, if you allow your team to feel they are never good enough or threatened in any way, you are destroying the potential performance level of your team.
When your team don’t feel safe, they will not be creative, they will not be collaborative, they will not have each others’ backs, they will not perform well.
There is another way – Build a circle of trust with your team. Create an environment where they can be at their very best… That is after all…. a leader’s job.
I believe greatness can play a major part in your life.
Here is how…
I once knew this man who got jealous of his work colleagues every time they were rewarded, recognised, given extra responsibility or promoted.
Oh who am I kidding… that man was me.
I don’t know why, but at the time jealousy burned me up all of the time.
The problem is jealousy is an nasty creature – even when you try to hide it from others, it negatively impacts those around you.
Now I know you are probably not as bad as I was… but if you look closely you will likely find a hint of jealousy inside you about someone at work.
Does someone always get the credit? Who is that blue-eyed boy or girl that can’t do any wrong? I mean, you work just as hard as they do… probably harder… why aren’t you seen like they are?
Jealousy is a horrid thing, it creeps up on us and it serves NOBODY… especially not you.
Here is how to rid it from your life:
Fear has lots of different disguises and jealousy is one of its favourites. In this form it will either be one of two things:
Personal insecurity or unfair comparison.
Either way it boils down to a fear that you are not good enough. Comparing yourself to others can be useful to measure progress, but when it is used to decide if you are worthy, it is venom.
Once you understand and take accountability that jealousy is really your fear, then you can identify what you are fearful of. Don’t avoid it… fear feeds off that.
Instead identify it and start making small steps to shrink it. The bottom line is that fear will always play a part in your life – how you respond is what defines you – will you let fear cause you pain or will you take responsibility and ensure you take your fears head on?
Do you give yourself credit for how amazing you are?
Take a moment to look back through your life… all the challenges, disappointments, successes and compliments… you have got through the tough times and you have created some good times.
That deserves some credit – That deserves some appreciation. Give yourself the recognition you deserve.
You are stronger than you realise.
When you give yourself permission to look back on your life and acknowledge how much you have been through and how special you truly are, then you will begin to worry less about others perceived achievements because you know you have achieved amazing things too.
Life is not about being better than anyone else… Life about being the best version of you.
Focus on development, focus on growth, focus on learning from others. When you do this you realise that you can learn from everyone and everything – and while you are learning you are getting better, which in turn gets you one step closer to being the best version of you.
The best version of you isn’t in competition with others – the best version of you wants everyone to do well. If someone gets a promotion over you… the best you would wish that person well and want to learn from them – not feel angry, jealous and sour inside.
You might think that this isn’t possible, because some people just don’t deserve success… I ask you, who is jealousy serving?
Does it make you feel good?
Does it stop the target of your jealousy?
Jealousy is like drinking poison and then hoping your enemy will die… It just doesn’t work!
You know that being happy for others and focusing your energy on personal growth is the better way forward – choose it.
Jealousy is an ugly, hurtful feeling… which only effects you.
Look under the skin of jealousy and you will find fear and vulnerability – Identify this, accept this and face this. You can beat fear this way.
Also give yourself some well-earned credit – you have been through a lot and you are still going strong!
Finally, switch your focus from “they don’t deserve” to a “I must improve” mentality…
The ONLY thing you have in your control is your emotions, thoughts and actions… use them to benefit you, not to harm you!
In my role as a performance coach and a motivational speaker, I am lucky to get to work with a lots of different individuals and companies.
Many talk to me about their strategies… Most… unfortunately don’t actually have a strategy… or even know what one is.
In my experience, I think that the term “strategy” is used in most businesses just to make things sound more important, rather than being genuine strategic measures – instead of a ‘project meeting’ we will have a ‘strategic project meeting’… sounds much more sophisticated and business like!
Most leaders tend to have a clear goal or vision, but instead of a strategy, they end up just listing off a bunch of actions to achieve the goal… A bunch of actions does NOT make a strategy.
As Alistair Campbell states in his book ‘Winners’ – For any vision to work long-term, it is essential to have a strategy. In very simple terms a strategy is the ‘how’ an individual or business will approach achieving the vision. When the approach is clear, it enables everyone to stay on track when stuck in the detail. It creates consistency and adds weight and focus the the actions taken to achieve the goal.
Vision – This is the main goal of the company/individual – This will be often value led… the “WHY” we do what we do.
Strategy – This is “HOW” we approach the goal – What will be the thread that binds all of the actions/tactics together, to ensure everything is focused on achieving the goal.
Tactics – “WHAT” actions will have to take place to achieve the strategy/goal.
For example, my life strategy is as follows:
Vision: To create environments where those around me can reach their potential.
Strategy: Focus on ‘being the best version of you’ – specifically within leadership and living a higher quality of life, by developing effective learning environments/programs.
Tactics: Write leadership books, develop on-line training programs, one-to-one online coaching and develop key note speeches.
Although it’s a simplified version… hopefully it is clear that my strategy will ensure that all my actions are intrinsically linked together, which will in turn allow me to achieve my vision in a consistent and structured manner.
Take some time today, to challenge yourself on this – Do you have a strategy? Or is it just a list of actions?
A great strategy will rapidly improve your chances of success.
Leadership has evolved over the last 10 years dramatically. The methods used decades ago simply just don’t stack up anymore.
The understanding of what great leadership is growing amongst followers around the globe… They expect and deserve more from their leaders.
If you want to keep up, then you have to add real and tangible value to those around you… this video shares some ideas on how:
In my role as a leadership and performance coach, I work with a variety of people… young adults who are just starting their careers, to company directors, to professional athletes.
No matter who I work with, time and time again, the most common desire is freedom.
Of course freedom comes in many different forms – financial, personal, performance, but it all boils down to the same thing. The ability to do what you love, without constraints.
When you think of freedom, what does it mean to you? Is freedom something you would want in your life?
If so, here are five intellectual steps that are necessary if you are to attain freedom in your life, inspired by motivational speaker Les Brown.
If you can master these five steps, you can manifest freedom. If you don’t freedom will always remain just out of reach:
Earlier I asked what does freedom mean to you, in your mind you created a vision. Now think about this vision again. Make it clear and specific. Make it colourful and bright.
What happens with most people is that they start with a vision, just like you, but then say to themselves it can’t be done… This is wrong. It CAN be done.
Take a moment to think about this logically – is attaining your vision possible?
No matter how big your vision is, no matter how far away it feels right now, no matter how unlikely you think it is… The answer is YES… there is always a chance and that makes it possible!
It is vital that you understand this. Your vision is possible… It can be achieved.
Once you know that your vision is possible, then you have hope, anticipation and momentum – Now you must choose to make it happen.
Your vision is possible – Think of how amazing your life will be when your vision manifests into reality – Don’t you deserve that future? Don’t you deserve that vision?
Make you vision so compelling and powerful… then combine it with the fundamental truth that it is possible. Do this and you will be unstoppable. Your vision stops being a dream and instead becomes essential. It becomes vital.
It becomes a MUST happen, rather than a COULD happen – and that changes the game!
The first two steps are about physiologically building motivation – the following two are about being mentally prepared for what it will take.
The bottom line is, you are the only person who can make your vision a reality. You are the only person who cares about it, you are the only one responsible for it, you are the only person who can drive it forwards.
If you hope someone else will do it for you – you are mistaken.
If you hope it will be given to you – you are mistaken.
If you hope you will just get lucky – you are mistaken.
Your vision is possible… You deserve it, so it MUST happen… The only person who can make it happen is you. Are you prepared to take accountability for your vision? If you want to make it a reality, you have to be.
Attaining your vision will not come easily… You will be knocked back, rejected and fail loads of times. There will be times you want to quit. There will be times when you will question your ability.
You have to be psychologically prepared for this – Because it is going to happen.
Most people are not prepared for how hard it will be and they quit – They try, they fail and they quit.
But when you know it is going to be hard, when you are ready for it to be hard, then you are able to get knocked down and get back up again.
The more you understand it is going to be hard, the more knocks you can take and keep moving forward – That is how your vision becomes reality – by NEVER giving up.
Understand it is up to you, understand it is going to be hard and it becomes possible…
As soon as you have the mental toughness that comes with “It’s down to me” and “It is going to be hard” then something magical happens.
When you have a vision that you know is possible, that you are determined to make happen and are prepared to take accountability and can bounce back from any amount of failure – then your vision becomes inevitable.
If you keep on taking positive action towards your vision… and never stop, no matter what… then achieving your goal just becomes a matter of time.
One day you will win… You just have to keep fighting, until you get to that day!!
You can achieve anything you want in life… anything.
But to do so you have to understand and master these five steps. The bottom line is your vision is possible – It’s then a choice if it must happen, if you are prepared to take responsibility and the knock-backs.
If you are, then success is only a matter of time… and it will be worth it!
If you want to succeed in life, then how you INFLUENCE those around you is critical… and that means you need great people skills!
This video shares ideas on how to improve your influence, standing and relationships with people at all levels, with QUICK and EASY strategies:
“He has asked me for a pay rise and I just don’t know how to say no.”
This was what I was asked in a coaching session earlier today. The person I was coaching is an established, credible and senior leader within her company.
The fact is, no matter what leadership level you sit on, difficult conversations are… difficult.
We will all encounter difficult conversations within our lifetimes, whether we are in a leadership role or not. So it is best to be prepared when they ultimately arrive in your life!
Here are four simple ideas, that if implemented successfully, will improve the output of any difficult conversation you have to orchestrate:
The number one factor of why difficult conversations turn into a verbal car-crash is… Being emotionally driven.
By definition, a challenging conversation will be emotive for at least one person (probably both people). As the instigator of the conversation, you will have adrenaline coursing through your veins. Your emotions will feel like they have just stepped up a gear, as your body goes into “fight or flight” mode. This is not helpful.
What is helpful is to, in a calm and mindful manner, focus on the facts. Rather than focusing our energy into how we feel. By doing this, the conversation has a good chance of remaining factual and real.
Reality is vital if you want a positive outcome to the discussion!
The single best way to lower your emotional levels before a difficult conversation – Preparation.
Understand the facts and rehearse the conversation. Physically practise saying what you want to say. The more you practise, the better you will get and the less emotional you will feel! Therefore, even if you have adrenaline pumping through your veins at the moment of truth, you will still be able to deliver the facts in a calm manner… because you have rehearsed it perfectly.
Also, it is powerful to rehearse the conversation with a focus on service.
When the conversation priority is a positive outcome for all concerned (not just a positive outcome for you!), you will have to alter your style and become less defensive. This approach has great benefits – it will lower the defences of the person you are talking to, thus lowering their emotional levels and it will enable you to talk in a frank and factual way, without it appearing as an attack.
A good strategy for a difficult conversation!
You only know your facts… that is all.
When you understand this, it will allow you to focus on conclusions rather than delivery.
What I mean by this is that it is far better to be focused on a positive outcome, rather than being singularly focused on getting your side of the story heard.
So many people go into difficult conversations, bursting to say their piece. Bursting so much that it gets fired out like a machine gun… a surefire way to ruin the rest of the conversation.
If you enter the conversation with your main priority as a positive action resulting from it… then you will be more likely to listen… you will be more likely to understand… and you will be more receptive to the right course of action.
“If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
This is the oldest advice in the book of giving feedback, but there is a very good reason for this… because it is true!
The bottom line – Your facts have to have been observed and checked by you, if not you are setting yourself up to fail. The moment you rely on second hand information, the conversation will spiral out of control.
Again this is why preparation is so important. If you don’t do your homework properly, you are asking for trouble.
I have seen people utilse all the advice above, but then all that great work is destroyed with this common mistake… a tight time limit on the conversation.
You can make great strides, but if you have to cut the meeting off because of something else you have booked in to do, then you may as well not have bothered starting the discussion.
To rectify this you should plan and prepare for the discussion to go twice as long as you anticipate. If it is difficult for you, then it is difficult for them. Show them respect by giving them the time and space they need. They probably haven’t done all the preparation you have, so give them the opportunity to work through it properly.
If you do this, you automatically get two benefits:
We will all have to face difficult conversations in our lives… and they are going to be difficult!
You can make them much easier if you plan and prepare –