Much of the U.S. is gearing up for Halloween on Friday. I admit that this is not one of my favorite holidays. When my children were young, it had more allure for me than it does now. In the spirit of the week, we decorate our homes, dress in costume, and have a legitimate excuse to “act up.” This made me think about what scares us as leaders.
I have recently returned from a trip to Bhutan, a fascinating country with exquisite natural beauty and architecture, lore and legends, and a unique fusion in the religious practice of superstition, myth and principle. One of the many things that struck me is the design element of having a raised step upon entering every door. The idea behind this is that to trip a misguided spirit from entering the building.
Admittedly for a westerner this is an unorthodox concept. Yet I quickly adjusted to stepping over the door stoops. Each time it made me think about what thinking I was entering with. Was I curious or tired, bored or excited? What was I dragging across the threshold with me that I might not have been otherwise aware of?
Consider these questions:
- What are the familiar hosts that creep into our thinking and our actions?
- Are we acting on what is really there, or on the ghosts of actions past?
- What are our haunted places; those dark, creepy areas we shy away from?
In working with clients I recognize that we all bring things that scare us into the way we lead others. The difficulty lies in our not knowing that we are doing so.
Sometimes our own fears stop us from taking bold actions that will support our business growth. Sometimes our fears stop us from allowing others to do the same for themselves.
One of the most effective ways to assess what may be scaring you, is to focus on the fear. Fear could stand for “False Evidence Appearing Real.” Is what scares you truly real, or an apparition from a past memory, a time when a similar circumstance may have felt dark and scary? How do you know?
Create a simple mindfulness practice to get in touch with what’s scary by bringing it to light.
- Close your eyes to reduce extra stimulation.
- Use deep belly breathing to relax with long slow inhalations and exhalations.
- Bring the scary question forward and be patient as you await clarity.
You can write also put this into a written exercise to dissect the fear.
The things that make us bump in the night, rarely can trip us up if we are truly awake.
We invite you to post your comments here. To learn more about how this can help your leadership results, apply for a Breakthrough Discovery Session.