Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

No matter how strong your ambition and intentions, they can be derailed by your fears. “We all have fears and there’s no way to escape it,” says former corporate lawyer and now entrepreneur Romi Neustadt in her book You Can Have it All, Just Not at the Same Damn Time.

She interviewed 30 entrepreneurs – a group generally seen as more fearless than the rest of us – and a list of 59 fears bubbled forth, with the overwhelming majority reporting at least four. There was fear of failure and fear of success. Fear of not being good enough and of being too good. Even fear of fear.

She tries to lean into her fear instead of trying to ignore it. She has learned that fear is a signal she is actually onto something good – on the right path. So what’s scaring you is pushing you out of your comfort zone and that’s a positive not negative situation.

Story continues below advertisement

Here’s her five-step process for leaning into those fears:

  • Identify the fear and label it.
  • Ask why you’re afraid. This will take some courage to be honest about the reasons behind the fear.
  • Ask what’s the worst possible thing that could happen – the ultimate, even if seemingly outlandish, dreadful outcome.
  • Declare what you know to be true. Jettison emotions; focus on the facts.
  • Ask what the best possible outcome is. Now you will be focusing on possibilities.

Consultant Alan Weiss offers another perspective, asking you to distinguish between real fear and fraudulent fear. Real fear is facing a tornado, illness or mugger. Fraudulent fear is facing “the little guy on your shoulder” whispering in your ear that you’re not good enough, should feel guilty, or don’t deserve what you have.

He notes in Fearless Leadership that amongst the baggage we carry is the notion that errors are fatal, perfection is the norm, or recovery from a setback is impossible. Low self-esteem can lead us to feel we’re imposters – not worthy.

He echoes Ms. Neustadt by urging you to examine your belief system, articulate the fear and its origins, and examine whether the beliefs you hold are still valid. “Focus on the fact that a great deal of fear is self-induced,” he says.

Ms. Neustadt urges you to confront the notion you can’t have it all. That comes from a scarcity mindset – a mistaken belief you don’t have the abilities or the time or the energy to reach for more.

“I’ve come to learn that each of us have everything we need to become the people we are meant to be and to live the lives we desire – if and only if we’re willing to do the learning and growing and heavy lifting required to get there. I also know that each of us has enough time if we spend it on the things that we’ve declared important to us. We have more than enough energy, if we protect ourselves from everything and everyone who drains us,” she insists in her book.

The fifth step in her approach is about the possibilities. That’s true here: She is scared about not living the life she was meant to be and you should be as well. Yes, it will take some bravery to declare what’s important to you and to go after it, fully, every day. Indeed, she asks you to make your biggest fear what you’ll miss out on if you don’t make better choices, find your voice, and go after your dreams.

Story continues below advertisement

So fight fear.

Quick hits

  • Remember, your resume is not a tattoo. Nor is your LinkedIn profile. Career adviser Jenny Foss says they should be treated as living, breathing changeable documents throughout your job search and career.
  • Research shows that there’s an up-side to being an underdog. When expectations about people are low, that spurs them on to prove others wrong and perform better.
  • Good conversational question when someone is pushing an idea: “How did that become important to you?” Leadership coach Dan Rockwell says it shows respect, an openness to explore, and a willingness to learn. “Why is that important?” may seem similar but can feel like an accusation.
  • The most dangerous items on your to-do list according to blogger James Clear are items that look like opportunities but are actually distractions.
  • Research indicates that when you face a meeting where you expect conflict you will prepare more carefully and the decision will be better.

Stay ahead in your career. We have a weekly Careers newsletter to give you guidance and tips on career management, leadership, business education and more. Sign up today.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies