3 Ways to Work Positive in a Fearful WorldJul 23, 2023
What are you afraid of?
Okay, what about at work?
Failure? Layoffs? Rejection?
I talk almost daily with a coaching client who’s fearful about something. Their chosen fear circled their amygdala at least three times. That means their brain can no longer separate the fear from reality.
That fear is their reality.
Ed Friedman mentored me early in my positive culture architect career. I learned four great truths about how to create a positive work culture. The first one we talked about is to how to separate yourself from the anxiety at work. The second was to commit to goals beyond the horizons that everyone else sees.
The third one is to have the courage to define yourself within your work community.
Fear neutralizes courage, especially as much as is required to take the risk of self-definition at work. And yet, we know from countless studies that when team members authentically show up for work—whether in-person or virtual offices—and can credibly be themselves, productivity, innovation, and engagement soar.
The key is to vanquish fear. How do you do that?
Here are 3 Ways to Work Positive in a Fearful World:
Courage When You Can
It’s a challenge to act courageously when so many around you are fearful. What Friedman calls self-differentiation is necessary to Work Positive.
Self-differentiation shows up as courage at certain moments; times of high-influence opportunity. Those experiences when the team all seems fearful with no relief in sight.
That’s when you Work Positive and in a break room, recall a similar intersection of danger and opportunity that turned out well. Or, on a Zoom call remind everyone how focusing on the corporate mission and vision steered the ship around the mines of fear previously.
Differentiate yourself away from fear. Lean into courage.
Control What You Can
Fear runs freely like a runaway toddler on a playground. It seems sometimes that work is out of control, or at least on a collision course with disaster.
In such times, do one thing to create a positive work culture win. One action that results in a positive, visible outcome.
I conclude every episode of the Work Positive podcast with this question for my guest: “What’s one thing Work Positive Nation can do today to create a positive work culture?” Check out some episodes. Pick one thing. Do it today.
As you do one thing, you discover that others ask, “How did you do that?” Fear narrowed down their mental range of options to what they can’t do. Tell them, “Hey, just do one thing you can control to fight the fear.
Work Positive as you control what you can and inspire others to do the same.
Community Where You Can
Your teammates’ reactions to fear vary greatly. Some receive your self-definition with relief and join you in stepping away from fear. Others choose to follow fear further and disbelieve your positive outcomes.
Create community among those who join you in migrating away from fear. Your courage inspires their courage. Your actions encourage their actions. Both define a new community; a critical mass of folks who team to Work Positive and dispel anxiety, lengthen short-sightedness, and vanquish fear.
Rally this community. Invest your relationship capital in them. Allow the others to self-select. Work Positive with those who will.
Courage when you can, control what you can, community where you can as you Work Positive in this fearful world.
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