Don’t let fear derail you

In the normal life, human beings are prone to different types of fear and career life is no exception. Fear is defined as an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, loss or harm. The sources of fear are as diverse as the individuals and circumstances. At the job search stage people are afraid that they may not qualify for the job. Some even give up applying for fear that the job is already taken. Others fear that there are others who are far much better that they are and they may not stand a chance. Yet others may fear that their grades, qualifications or personalities may not be good enough, or that they never went to the right school or college.

Once the interview letter comes, focus now shifts to performance. Some may fear that they might fall sick on the material day or that they do not have the right clothes. They may also fear that they might perform below par, or that the panel may turn out to be tougher than then can handle. And others may fear that they do not have a tall relative to push things for them. If one is lucky to land a job, the fear game assumes an all new level. At this level the fear may be about inadequacy of skills or inability to handle work pressure. Others may fear that bankruptcy or buyout may lead to loss of the job. Yet others fear that they may not be able to handle work targets, office politics, nagging colleagues, difficult bosses or even technological advancements.

Irrespective of the source of fear, one thing is certain, that no amount of fear can change anything. What must happen will happen; for instance no amount of fearing can stop a job threatening bankruptcy, merger or takeover. However a lot can be done at a personal level to overcome fear. Psychologists propose that the number one cure of fear is action. If you fear you are not good enough, why not go back to class for that extra course.

Besides action, you must also learn to take control of your life. We cannot all be the same. Indeed, at any one time someone will be better than you are and vice versa. However you cannot live life in perennial fear that a better endowed person will take your job. Taking control is about being focused, looking into the future with confidence and giving your very best under the present circumstances while constantly improving yourself

Having a solid career plan is also great insurance against fear. Great career people concentrate more on achieving objectives than wasting time on useless worry and fear. And when things go wrong, they easily fall back to the plan and quickly pick up the pieces.

An old man was once asked what robbed him of most joy in his life. His reply was “things that never happened”. It takes too much energy to worry. Rather than worry, redirect that energy into developing one’s skills and ability, building a positive self image and conquering every opportunity that presents itself with confidence.


Author: Goretti Kimani for the Standard Newspaper, Careers Section