Fear is Fuel: Fear’s impact on business momentum and you
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 commonly plagues business leaders and entrepreneurs is fear.
Fear is a constant in business environments: fear of the unknown, fear of failure, and even fear of what to do or not to do.
As one of the strongest negative emotions, fear is often the most “primary, powerful, and misunderstood source of motivation,” says Dr. 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 upcomingThe Upside of Shame.
Through her research, Dr.Lamia has found that it is important to understand that we are motivated by both positive and negative emotions.“If you understand your emotions and how they work, you can make them work for you,” she advises.
Fear is Fuel
The worst thing to do is not address fear when it occurs. “If we fear fear, we tend to make judgments and choices that are pessimistic, and we amplify our perception of risk in any situation,” says Lamia.
According to Dr. Lamia, we need to develop emotional awareness before we can turn any emotion into a motivator. 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.”
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.”
To understand your own fear tolerance, you have to diagnose the underlying drivers causing the pain, which aren’t always rational. And then you need to draw out the drivers in an empathetic way that moves you forward.
Fear and Business
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.
Fear impacts 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. Once you understand how fear affects everyone you work with, and learn to identify it, you can start developing strategies to overcome the business inertia.
Fear never goes away
It’s adaptive and functional and necessary. Understand it as a positive motivator and not always as a negative one and it can fuel the fire to propel you forward.
Listen to our podcast episode that inspired this blog post here: https://www.flywheelassociates.com/podcast/6
Special thanks to the guests whose thoughts and stories fueled this post: