Imagine this: every VIP in your company is in attendance and you just found out that you’ve been selected to give the farewell toast at your boss’ retirement party. OR what if your business partner is stuck in traffic and you have to fill in for him at a VERY important investor pitch meeting. Unless you’re made of stone, fear and panic is often the immediate reaction. After you’ve had a moment to breathe and allow the magnitude of the situation sink in, then real terror starts to take over. What do you do? Scream? Shut down? Gracefully decline? Not when the consequences of totally chickening out are larger than the actual dilemma. The following
3 Ways to Release FEAR When You’re Pressed for Time that have worked like a charm for me are:
1- Focus only on the part of the task that you are IMMEDIATELY responsible for.
In the example of giving a toast at your boss’ retirement party, your mind may have automatically concluded “what if I say the wrong thing and get fired”. “What if I make a total fool of myself?” ‘What if I slur my words?” STOP!!! The IMMEDIATE task is just a few heartfelt words about your boss. To release some of the fear, reflect on a time when the two of you really connected. Or perhaps you gleaned some valuable insight that helped propel your life and career forward. When you take a few steps back from the panic of it all, you realize that it’s a thousand times easier to speak from an actual event that was meaningful to you rather than trying to grasp for flowery empty words. Plus the fear of getting it “wrong” will slowly dissipate because you are speaking from an actual real life experience.
In the example of filling in for your business partner (who by the way is the numbers person and you are NOT); fear can knock you to your knees if you let it. Worst case scenario you’re thinking: “What if I screw up the numbers and the investors don’t give us the funding.” “I’m going to strangle him for not leaving earlier, this makes us look so unprofessional.”, etc., etc. Yes, you can get on that negative rabbit trail and allow your energy and vibration to drop OR you can start your meeting on time and focus on the part of the presentation that you are IMMEDIATELY responsible for. If you’re the sales and marketing person, relax and get into YOUR zone. You know the unique benefits that your company has to offer. You know the strategies you’re using to add value to the world and make sure everyone knows about it. Once you are in YOUR element and regaining your confidence about all that your company has to offer, you will demonstrate exactly why these investors must be a part of this venture. Hopefully, your business partner will arrive in time to break down the numbers. However, if he does not, release your fear and ‘numberphobia’ and articulate the basics of this sound business investment. Inform the investors that a further break down of the ROI (return on investment), projections, and profit margins are explained in further detail in the prospectus that you handed out and it will also be emailed directly to them.
When things don’t go according to plan, remember that you have the ability to manage the energy of the situation. You can set the tone and influence a more positive outcome. In order to diffuse fear and the feeling of overwhelm, stay focused on what you are immediately responsible for.
2- Mentally accept the consequences first.
Allowing yourself to mentally take an incident to the worst case scenario up front and then bring your thoughts back to square one will release some of that horrifying “OMG” fear. This will also allow you to come up with concrete solutions. For example, you just tapped the bumper of your anal retentive / OCD / fun but pain in the neck friend. You can allow fear to consume and overtake you. OR mentally take it to the worst case scenario and bring it back.
Accept that it will play out one of two ways #1) She’s going to be pissed and possibly want to sue your insurance company. That will result in your insurance premium being increased OR #2) She won’t want to involve the insurance companies and she’ll agree to you paying out of pocket. Bottom line…. ACCEPT that you will have to pay. Take responsibility and deal with the consequences. Believe it or not, this simple act of accepting whatever consequences may be looming will quickly release the fear and give you a sense of empowerment. Whenever you put your “big girl panties” on and decide to handle what is in front of you, a feeling of calm takes over.
3- Remind yourself of the countless times “It all worked out”.
Remind yourself of the countless times “It all worked out”. Too often our first reaction is…. Oh no, the absolute “WORST” is about to happen!! What may seem like the end of the world in any particular moment, often becomes the biggest blessing in disguise.
A prime example of this was when I lost my job at a New York insurance company in 1994. I was a newly divorced single mother of four children ranging in age from 3 to 12 years old. Talk about FEAR and PANIC!!! How was I going to feed my children, pay my rent, keep my sanity??? Fortunately I had one more paycheck that would keep everything going while I searched for another job. Finally, with no immediate job prospects on the horizon, I filed for unemployment. As I was about to leave the unemployment office, I noticed a crumbled up flyer hanging by a lonely piece of masking tape on the wall. I looked at the flyer and it said, “Free Computer Training”. I looked closer and the deadline to apply for the training was that day!!! I hopped on the subway and went straight to LaGuardia College where I enrolled in the computer classes.
Long story short… because I was in the job training program several blessings manifested. I was able to place my youngest daughter in an excellent child care center while I attended classes. I was eligible for emergency food stamps so I could feed my children. Right after graduation I was hired as a Legal Administrative Assistant for a Real Estate firm on New York’s Park Avenue. The moral of this story is… when you’re confronted with what may seem like the WORST possible situation, and it seems like fear is trying to take you over, remember the countless times that things HAVE worked out for you. In the future, especially when you’re pressed for time, try these 3 tips. I believe they will help you get a grip on your current fearful situation and reclaim your personal power. Do you have at least one ‘fear-busting’ tip that works for you? We’d love to hear about it.