What is fear?
It’s a chemical reaction in the brain that’s located in the hypothalamus that activates the ‘fight or fright’ response.
It’s like a chain reaction, and sometimes we are not even conscious of our response until it’s over. It can start with a stressful situation or stimulus that ends with the release of chemicals. This can feel like your heart is racing, you breath quicker and you’re ready to fight… or run for safety.
We can assume that our response to fear has some evolutionary benefit.
If you talk to therapists they would often say that the best way to overcome the fear is to face it.
Overcoming the fear of a career change is a key step in the career redesign program and is often described by participants as a pervasive emotion that has held them back in so many ways.
The fear of failure is also dictated by the degree of the consequences of the failure. Most of our fears can be quite reasonable fears to have, the question to consider is about whether these fears are preventing you from taking the next steps just because they could rather than will happen. The key is to evaluate the likelihood of these fears being realised.
Fear is a paradox because it can act as a motivator and stretch you as well as act as a barrier limiting you from progressing.
Betty Lui in her book “Work Smarts: What CEOs Say You Need to Know to Get Ahead” describes bad fear, less bad fear and good fear.
Bad fear is the type that just holds you back or makes you take risks that are well beyond the reward. It forces you into a bad and regretful decision… like taking a job that we know deep down will not fulfill us.
Good fear is the kind of fear that is motivating. “It’s the fear that we won’t be able to live with ourselves if we don’t move ahead…. Good fears are part of any successful comeback story, that after failure you dig inside yourself to come back better than you were before because of the fear that if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be able to live with yourself. Good fear… is part of any success story”.
And then there’s the less bad fear… I describe this as the stuff that puts us into autopilot by not taking any risks because we are just cruising along. It’s neither good nor bad, not destructive nor constructive.
The key, according to Betty Liu, is to turn the ‘less bad into more good’. It’s about making decisions that may have some down sides, but you can live with them.
In the end, what’s the difference between good fear, less bad fear, and bad fear? Not much other than what you do with it. If you wallow in the bad fear, it will destroy your self confidence and worth”.
The Career Redesign Program tackles the risk, uncertainty and fears associated with a career transition.
The six most common fears identified in a career change are:
· Fear of financial failure
· Fear of not being competent
· Fear of what others will think
· Fear that I cant fit in with this new identity
· Fear that my family won’t agree with my change
· Fear of the unknown
The Career Redesign Program helps participants to respond to these commonly expressed fears, identify common threads, assess them and strategize on how to overcome them.
What keeps you up at night? Is it fear of what could happen with your career change?
 Betty Lui “Work Smarts: What CEOs Say You Need to Know to Get Ahead”, 2014, Page 86
 Lui, Page 89
 Lui, Page 93