Overcoming fear is part of life since man was chased by dinosaurs, yet how do you fight the fear of influences out of your control? No cave dwellers ever faced the constant barrage of CNN (continuous negative news) or the most insidious trends in the destruction of our very way of life. The next few weeks will be highlighted by meeting friends and family, some of which will be forcing a smile through the constricted guts that are gripped in fear.
Yesterday I was meeting with the owner of small business who wants me to train their sales staff on developing better skills of connecting and communicating. His business model has been turned upside down, which has resulted in near panic from a financial point of view. This feeling of fear has spread through his organization, just in time for the annual holiday party. In the evening, I met with a patient who complained of high stress, fear about his future, the ability to continue to support two children in college in a business environment that no longer values him. This has produced the physical symptoms of headaches, chronic back pain, sleep disturbance, gastric inflammation and the constant mental focus on fear and worry that leave him depleted at the end of the day. Both situations share having fear for the holidays.
Leadership Tips for a Fearful Friend
• Face Reality: We almost always have options in our life. Fear creates mental chaos, disabling our normal skills of sorting and exploring the best path ahead. Fear blocks the ability to understand the situation and find a creative path forward. Fear keeps you stuck in your stuff. Help your friend in fear by listening and asking good questions so they self-discover their own reality. Listen first. Fear often sounds less powerful when it’s expressed.
• Build Confidence: Fear blocks our confidence. Fear smothers our deep belief that everything will eventually work out. Let your friend in fear borrow your own confidence. Share with them a story of yourself or another friend who overcame adversity. These stories abound because we’re doing it all the time. Now more than ever, we are re-inventing ourselves. It’s been done, so your friend in fear can do it too. Lend your confidence. Remind them of why you are friends and how much value you place in your friendship.
• Win with Teamwork: Fear separates us from the ones who love and care for us. Fear can bring on shame, which often leads to people and businesses pulling back instead of reaching out for support. As the saying goes “Team work makes the dream work.” Help your friend in fear identify the people and businesses that they have helped in troubled times and consistently added value in their lives. These are the resources that become the foundation for your new team. Assist your friend in fear with connecting, collaborating, understanding the rich relationships they have fostered over many years and begin to pool the resources of a new team.
• Attitude Matters: Fear hangs on you like a wet blanket and begins to color every sentence that falls from your lips betraying the deep desperate fear that lurks inside. Your friend in fear may not realize that their attitude, if not watched and guarded, will project the fear, not the facts. This will leave potential sympathetic allies looking for the exits. Help your friend in fear to guard against explosive emotional out crying of unfair situations in life or railing against a certain challenge that has created a setback. Help them by mirroring their behavior back to them and explaining how their comments make you feel. How you feel is probably close to how others feel. Your friend in fear does not want to come off as deranged, so this will help them to monitor their attitude.
The Highest Form of Help
“I don’t know what to do!” This has never happened before.” How do I get out of this mess?” I have witnessed a disturbing trend in both my training and clinical practice that involves overwhelming confusion about taking the next step. I have been a student of personal and business development my entire life. I found John Maxwell’s content and wisdom to be greatly beneficial in my life. That’s why I use it as one of my tools when speaking, training or healthcare. Listen to why he chose to share this with us now.
Focus on Your Friend in Fear
We all have fear that runs through us. The key is keeping it moving and not letting it take root within you. So when a friend tells you they are in fear about their finances, job security, the economy, future of their children, and the execution of the middle class you have to focus on helping them because let’s face it, we all have these concerns. I can tell you having been in healthcare and consulting for over twenty-five years, put your own fear aside and focus on assisting others. Leaders ask great questions. Ask your friend in fear these two simple questions to help them pull out of their fear. What am I learning from this experience? How can this be of benefit to others? Leaders and great friends emerge during challenging times. Be a friend always and especially if someone you care about is facing fear. Let me know how these steps work for you. I invite you to leave a comment on this article, join our blog for updates and like us on Face book to receive more helpful and healthful tips during these challenging times.
Healthcare and Leadership Keynote and Trainer