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Fear is more than a four-letter word

February 17, 2016

Courage and fear are loaded topics. They conjure images of warriors, adventurers, and perhaps foolhardy risk. These cartoonish simplifications prevent us from realizing the basic, and sometimes unrecognized, controlling mechanism fear has in our organizations. We all experience fear.

Fear is natural. Fear will never go away; it is largely adaptive and useful. When our gut tells us to beware, we listen. Evolution has provided us with a system to put us on high alert and to avoid things that are unusual or unfamiliar. This may have allowed our species to continue until today. However, it may not be serving us in the present.

When we react to fear without noticing it, and without noticing the impact of our actions, we may be disengaging others. If we recognize fear and our own courage (we all are at least a little courageous) we can act in a way that is direct, frank and relatable.

Fear: simply recognize it and manage it. When we get around to a difficult conversation, it is often not as challenging as we thought.

How do you manage your own fear when you are preparing for a difficult conversation? Share your thoughts with us below.

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