As a leader, learning to be fearless is invaluable. The fearless leader is not afraid of what others think. He doesn’t get paralyzed by fear. The fearless leader thinks outside the box. He fears nothing and changes when necessary for improvement. The fearless leader doesn’t use or think about words like “challenge” or “problem,” but instead talks of “opportunities” and “blessings.”
The Fearless Culture
Several years ago, I was a missionary for my church. During that time, I spent 12 hours a day teaching people about Jesus Christ. I spent time walking up and down the streets and going door-to-door to find people to teach. People regularly ignored me and/or reject me because of the message I shared. Sometimes people even yelled and were very rude.
In that environment, I was very fear or discouraged at first because of the rejection. I didn’t like being rejected. The leaders that I worked under, however, created a fearless culture. Each week he taught us the importance of being fearless. His goal was to change our mindset so we only thought about being fearless.
After learning from the leader weekly, I reached a point where I had become completely fearless. I was no longer afraid to talk to people anywhere. My mindset changed because I realized I could talk to everyone everywhere and the worst thing anyone could do was say they weren’t interested.
The Fearless Mindset
If you’ve spent much time around someone that is fearless, you’ve probably found they have a unique mindset. They are not afraid of the future. They are not afraid of failure. They are not afraid of the outcomes of their actions. A fearless person looks at life and choices differently than most people.
That fearless mindset allows them to make choices with a big picture view. The outlook on the here and now is different because each experience is a learning opportunity. Failure is not horrible, instead it is a great teacher.
It is very challenging to learn to be fearless quickly. The following steps will help you ease into the fearless mindset.
1. Identify your biggest fears.
What scares you? What keeps you up at night? Are you afraid to talk to your boss? Stand up in front of people? Or, tell people what to do? Once you identify your fear, you can work to overcome it.
2. Why are you afraid?
Once you have identified your fear, identify why it is a fear. Are you afraid of the potential outcomes of an action? Are you risk averse? Is there a lot riding on the decision or action? Be sure to get to the root of why you are afraid.
3. Identify the worst outcome.
After you pinpoint your fears, identify the worst possible outcome if your fear became a reality. Would it be a life altering experience? Would you or your family suffer as a result? On a scale of 1 (little to no effect) to 10 (your life fell apart) determine how significant of an effect the outcome would have on you. In most cases, the result isn’t be as bad as you first thought.
4. Practice getting out of your comfort zone.
Make a concerted effort to get out of your comfort zone. Intentionally doing something silly in a public place. In Tim Ferriss’s book The 4-Hour Workweek, he encouraged people to lay on the ground for 30 seconds in public place. Wave to people you don’t know. Smile and wink at someone you’ve never met. Or, do something you wouldn’t normally do. As you do things outside your comfort zone, you progress towards eliminating your fears and becoming fearless.
5. Address your fears head on.
Put yourself in situations where you can address your fears. For example, I used to be terrified of public speaking. To address my fear, I joined a public speaking group where I had to speak in public. I overcame my fear once I realized people were understanding and patient. Also, address the fear by learning about it. If the fear is an event, prepare and train yourself for that event.
Fears can be paralyzing. As you take the steps outlined above, however, you will be on your way to becoming fearless. When you become a fearless leader you will enjoy great benefits as a result. What is a fearless leader like to you? What steps have you taken to become more fearless? How has the fearless approach changed your life? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below!