Recently, I was a guest facilitator for a small online coaching cohort for emerging women leaders. We uncovered a suprising theme that was blocking all of them from embracing transitions, which are essential to growth. And, since even mother nature is struggling to transition us (in D.C.) to spring, I thought I would share. Hopefully, this will spring you into action.
I led the group in a shortened, but similar way to our Executive Innovative Program: 1) Each person discussed a stressful challenge they were facing. 2) Through questioning, we uncovered the negative thought patterns that were driving the stress. 3) We shifted the thought patterns with cutting edge mind tools.
Serendipitously, all of them were in transition. One person was switching careers, starting her own business, and moving. The others also mentioned transitions within their organizations-new CEO, new phase of a large project that is taking an unexpected turn, etc.
Through questioning them, we uncovered a strong “fear of the unknown” underlying all of their transitions making them uncomfortable and stressed. Things were changing and breaking down. Can you personally relate to or do you ever see this theme playing out within your organization?
When people are driven by a fear of the unknown, it slows down their productivity and impacts an organization’s momentum:
1) Stress from the fear shuts down the brain’s ability to have “a ha” moments, so they are less creative, confident, and efficient.
2) People tend to take unnecessary actions when they believe they don’t know what to do or what will happen. They go against their instinct. This always wastes time, energy, and money because it results in back-tracking/undoing of decisions.
3) CEO’s who do it will invest too much time and money into unnecessary strategies, diluting focus. This impacts the rest of the organization as they are stretched too thin, trying to accomplish all of the directives, some of which may be competing with each other.
4) People are distracted, checking their email too often, waiting for answers, unfocused on what they need to be producing.
Can you think of other ways a “fear of the unknown” is impacting you and your organization? Please share in the comments.
Now, what to do about it? Some of you may fear the unknown so strongly that you may be thinking that it helps you to guard against negative future circumstances. You may be reluctant to let it go.
What if I told you it’s based on an illusion? The illusion is that you don’t know. You actually do.
In every given moment your intuitive instinct, that voice inside you, has the information you need for that moment. When your mind is trained to hear and trust it in each moment and it believes that all is and will be well, even if things look chaotic on the surface, each moment takes care of the next.
Sometimes your instinct is to take an action that will positively impact and protect your business from a future event. You follow that instinct, and the magic unfolds. When your internal compass is guiding you though, it’s not from a place of stress, fear, and unknowing. Your internal compass is confident because it does know exactly what you need to do. It knows you’re moving in a positive direction even if there are some challenges.
When the subconscious has “fear of the unknown” playing on auto-pilot, the fear automatically trumps the wisdom coming from your intuitive instinct, and you ignore it. In the case above where your instinct is guiding you to action, you dismiss it. Then, regret it. Then, later you fear that something negative will happen in the future and your mind looks excessively for ways to guard against it. It’s cyclical.
The answer: Train your mind to hear and trust your instinct. It does know. Click to Tweet!
In another instance, your instinct may be inspiring you to take an action and you don’t consciously know all of the details around how it will unfold. Held captive by the “fear of the unknown” and failing to trust your instinct, it feels risky, so you don’t do it. This stops you from maximizing your potential and achieving peak performance.
Bottom-line: Your intuitive instinct has the answers. It won’t consciously reveal all of the details of everything all at once because, well, that would be overwhelming and boring. Training your mind to believe and follow it is the most efficient way to achieve peak performance. You can be as cozy as the caterpillar breaking down as it forms wings to fly.
Want to learn more about how to do this? Check out the Executive Innovator Program (EIP). We are launching a new online group specifically for small business entrepreneurs ready to scale. (We will continue to create groups and also work with professionals one-to-one, so please book a complimentary call with Laura Palmer using our online scheduler, if you want to learn more.)
Have a story to share or something you’ve been afraid to do? Tell us about it in the comments.