Finding Our Safety Nets

“Don’t give in to your fears.  If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”  -Paulo Coelho The Alchemist

Easier said than done…

We can talk about getting over our fears. We can discuss all of the strategies that will help us overcome those things that grip our heart like a vise.

Until we are in the moment…

Frozen with fear. Fear that wraps us tightly in its overwhelming grip. Riddling our mind with anxiety as rational thought dissipates into flight or fight responses. Just the thought initiates cold sweats and frantic excuses. The kind of fear that is…deep rooted, entrenched, all consuming.

For some fears are just too oppressive to rationalize away.  They just don’t disappear that easily…

While some fears will never go away entirely, we can maneuver our way through them when we understand our safety nets. Tools we enable that allow us to work our way through those fears.  Fears that handicap our ability be effective, that immobilize us.

The fear of heights and pubic speaking have always been possible immobilizers. Fears I’ve had to learn to deal with and work through. While they may never fully disappear, they can be held at bay or made manageable. Even turned into strengths once I learned how to cope, once I learned how to find and incorporate my safety nets.

As a child I was never fond of heights, an issue that has not improved with age. However, I have discovered that heights become tolerable when I am enclosed or surrounded by some form of railing or wall. I can cope with the fear. I understand and acknowledge it and incorporate the safety net that allows me to deal with the fear.

Like heights, public speaking is another of those fears. Yet, one that I have effectually moved into the realm of positive by incorporating my safety net, by turning the audiences attention away from myself. To focus it in another direction. So instead of spending lengthy and extended periods eloquently pontificating, I look to be concise. I work to incorporate visuals, videos, and other clips that channel the focus away from me. A safety net that has turned a negative into a positive by forcing me to incorporate strategies that make my speaking more engaging.

As leaders, we have to be able to decipher for ourselves and for those that we lead, those fears that may be holding us back. Immobilizing our effectiveness. Especially when we venture into times of change.

Fear causes push back. Fear keeps us anchored, stationary. When leaders can create safety nets that allow others to manage those fears, they make those they lead and their organizations more effective. More attuned to forward momentum.

Leaders who create safety nets have a better opportunity to create organizations that are better equipped to incorporate the new, the innovative, and to challenge themselves and those they lead to be more creative, more inventive, more forward thinking.

More inspired to handle change.

What fears are holding you and your organization back? What safety nets are you creating to move past them?


1 thought on “Finding Our Safety Nets

  1. David,
    Great post! I think you are right: “When leaders can create safety nets that allow others to manage those fears…they make those they lead and their organizations more effective.” Reading your post I was reminded of Chip and Dan Heath’s book, Switch. To facilitate change, we need to smooth the path and provide a sense of safety in order to move forward.

    Thank you for pushing my thinking. With much appreciation.

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