Today we explore how fear affects us in business
through the eyes of the incredible industry experts who have shared their wisdom on the show, as well as a subject matter expert who offers a lot of insight into the psychology of fear and motivation:
Kareen Walsh, Founder and Solutions Strategist at Revampologist
Andy Musliner, Founder and CEO of InRoad Toys
Greg Johnston, SVP and Creative Director at AgencyQ
Will Choi, President and CEO of Vertical Apps
Dr. Mary Lamia, a psychologist who has spent her career studying and encouraging emotional awareness. She is the author of numerous books for kids, teenagers, and adults, including What Motivates Getting Things Done, as well as the upcoming The Upside of Shame.
The emotion of fear is often seen as a inhibitor - but really it can be just the opposite
We may want to believe that we make rational decisions, but there’s always an emotional trigger. And these emotions, often times, can inhibit us from moving forward, if we don’t understand them.
One emotion that has been frequently called out by our guests is FEAR.
However, fear shouldn’t be always considered as a demotivator. It’s important to understand that we can be motivated by both positive and negative emotions. “If you understand your emotions and how they work, you can make them work for you,” says Dr. Lamia.
Fear is Fuel
It’s also important that we acknowledge there are many individuals involved in a business, and they all experience fear. It’s not just business owners – it’s everyone you work with.
After you understand how fear affects everyone you work with, and learn to identify it, you can start developing strategies to overcome the business inertia.
Negative emotions are often the most “primary, powerful, and misunderstood source of motivation,” says Dr. Lamia. However, we need to develop emotional awareness before we can fill up the tank. In Psychology Today, she writes, “Recognizing how emotions affect your own motivational style can help you more consciously make decisions and pursue your goals… if you understand this emotion, your emotional system can give you an advantage in decision making... if you make proper use of it.”
While fear is one of the emotions that tends to impact people the most when it comes to business momentum, there are optimal levels of fear and anxiety that help people complete tasks, motivate them, and keep their momentum going. But, that level is different for each individual. It’s about understanding your specific levels that help you achieve that feeling of being ‘in the zone’.
Fear impacts our relationships, the ability to achieve alignment between people (particularly in a work environment), and ultimately the ability to successfully deliver on initiatives. In order for any company be successful and reach their goals, people -- not process or technology -- need to address this blocker in achievement.
Understanding one’s fear requires you to diagnose the underlying drivers causing this pain, which aren’t always rational. And then you need to draw them out in an empathetic way.
Change that occurs in one’s business environment can certainly cause fear - fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and even fear of what to do or not to do. But fear is an innate emotion that is there to help us, and it protects us.
Fear never goes away. It's adaptive and functional and necessary. Understand it as a positive motivator and not always as a negative one. One that can fuel the fire and propel you forward.
Dr. Mary Lamia: