On the entrepreneurial journey, I have learned that fear is a daily occurrence. Not only that, I notice it in others whom I work with regularly. In my current role, I work with companies and candidates.
Typically, I work with executives in both capacities. What I have discovered is my coaching on feel the fear and do it anyway is applicable to companies that are seeking a new executive as well as those candidates who are looking for work. I first wrote about this topic in early 2018, and wanted to revisit the conversation, as I think it is an ongoing battle most of us continually fight.
You have probably heard the phrase “feel the fear and do it anyway” a million times. While I have never read the book by Susan Jeffers, one of the things I am learning as I move into entrepreneurship is that doing new activities is going to cause discomfort—and that I need to “feel fear the fear” and do them anyway.
What is interesting about this discomfort is that when we break it down biologically, it is simply our primitive brain trying to protect us. I learned a concept about this called the motivational triad during my life coaching certification with Brooke Castillo.
The motivational triad is what our primitive brain does to protect us and help us survive. Our primitive brain automatically does three things (the triad):
- It seeks pleasure
- It avoids pain and,
- It seeks to be efficient
Our brain is unaware that we evolved, so unless we use our prefrontal cortex, we will continue to be ruled by our primitive brain and—unconsciously—the motivational triad.
At this point, you might be asking, “What does this have to do with recruiting or hiring?” Consider this—hiring and recruiting require talking to strangers. Our human brain is always going to tell us this is a bad idea. In fact, recruiting often requires making cold calls to strangers. In this case, our brain is going to advise us to go back into the cave because it thinks our survival is at risk. If we are unaware of the motivational triad, it is very easy to give in to the natural fear and not do what we know is required.
So, what can you do when you notice discomfort, and your brain tells you it is not a good idea? I recommend a couple of things. First, be aware of your discomfort, which is an indicator that your brain is simply doing its job. Next, use your pre-frontal cortex (the decision-making portion of your brain) to make a conscious decision about what you want to do. This is where the mantra, “feel the fear and do it anyway,” can come in handy. Another thing I tell my brain is, “Thank you brain. I know you are just trying to protect me, but I am going to make my calls and feel uncomfortable, and that’s okay.”
Another way to think of it is to reverse engineer the motivational triad to better represent our current environment. We are no longer hunters and gatherers who are at risk for survival every day. The motivational triad that suits our current environment is to avoid false pleasure, seek growth and discomfort, and be willing to take massive action.
Regardless of whether you are recruiting, hiring or trying to meet your personal and professional goals, the more you are willing to be uncomfortable while taking massive action, the greater the growth and development. What I am discovering is that if I am not feeling uncomfortable on a daily basis, I am probably not stretching myself enough.
I encourage you to be the compassionate observer as you begin to notice and incorporate a “feel the fear and do it anyway” mentality into your life and business. If you are like me, it will astonish you how much capacity you have to accept discomfort and work through it. There is nothing like the feeling of trying something that scares you to death and then accomplishing it!
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