Fear is a legitimate emotion and it seems to be part of the human condition as a survival mechanism. Most importantly, it help protect children as it constrains many behaviors that could prove hazardous or fatal at a young age.
Nevertheless, many fears are really F.E.A.R or False Evidence Appearing Real. F.E.A.R holds people from achieving their absolute best. Often, it helps maintain ‘the good’ instead of promoting ‘the great’. F.E.A.R. keeps many people doing average things in a mediocre way for years without growing beyond their status quo.
Five common examples are:
• Fear of failing
• Fear of looking foolish
• Fear of rejection
• Fear of success
• Fear of loss
Instead, embrace the mantra of the late productivity expert Dr. W. Edwards Deming: Drive Out Fear!
How? Below is a simple 7-step techniques to focus on the real problem and determine the best next action instead of being controlled by fear.
- State the problem, situation, or opportunity as clearly as possible. Clarity is key. Write it down and include who, where, when, why, what, and how.
- Review the data as you presented them for possible biases. Be as objective as possible. Determine which facts are really assumptions and personal interruptions.
- Play Devil’s Advocate. Is everyone in agreement on the above facts? What would an opponent claim? What is the opposite hypothesis and how might this point of view be correct? Be honest with this exercise.
- Restate the REAL problem, situation, or opportunity as a question.
- Create a list of potential solutions with a mindstorm, including both outrageous answers and conventional methods. Be creative and open to new ideas. Do not stop until you have at least 20 items on your list.
- Review the list critically, considering variables such as cost, time, effort, and complexity. Pick the best two option on the list. One will be your primary course of action. The other will be your plan B.
- Act today. Begin working on the solution to your fear now.