Richard Maun – Facing Fears

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Facing Fears

22 July 2018

Well now I’d like to pretend that I’m a tough and resourceful dude, ploughing through business life without a care in the world. Perhaps a few people see me that way and years ago (before I switched on to Transactional Analysis and started smoothing off my rough edges) I was a tough customer, sometimes.

Not deliberately tough though, I was just being me and pushing ahead with my ambition to be a business coach and before that, a senior manager.

I’m always struck how we don’t see ourselves, to the point whereby what we think is ‘firm and thoughtful’ can appear to the other person as ‘wow, I’m overwhelmed here!’

I’m a firm believer that we all go to work with good intent. We don’t mean to stop listening, or to be stressy. We mean to be kind and thoughtful and caring of others.

Stress gets in the way of this and so does fear.

Fear is easy to talk about and harder to do. I may have come across as tough because I was scared and instead of showing this, it was safer to be combative. In TA terms we’d call this a ‘racket’ …as in a protection racket.

Our learned behaviour has it that it’s not ok to show a scare, but it is ok to show anger, or at least a grumpy face.

This is very common and can date back to our early childhood. Perhaps we were frightened on our first day of school and were told to ‘hide the tears and be brave.’

I’m sure most of us can relate to that!

It is an essential part of growing up as an adult that we learn to spot fear in others and fear in ourselves, because in doing so we will have deeper conversations and are more likely to ge to the root of the problem.

Step 1 for success is to listen. I mean really listen to what our tummy is telling us. We can find some space and time to be on our own and really notice the sensations we have inside us. If we have some tightness, or butterflies in our tum then they’re there for a reason.

Instead of jumping to a bit of thinking, we can notice the feeling and let it resonate inside us. We can wonder what is triggering it and maybe think of a younger age when we felt the same. This will help us to identify what’s going on for us. Fear of failure perhaps? Or of being alone? Or of being poor?

Step 2 is to listen to the other person, without interrupting them. They need space to unpack their feelings and butting in isn’t going to help them.

Maybe they need to go away and spend time reflecting too and if we give them space then we’re being a true friend.

We can push our business issues to one side for now and just be a friend, give them space and let them find their words.

It takes a bit of practice to do this and as for me, well I’m learning to hold the silence for longer and see what happens next.

Maybe this week we can all practice being silent and giving a colleague the opportunity to speak and to keep speaking …because then they will share their fears with us. We can be kind and do something about it to benefit them.

And of course we can acknowledge our own fears too and when they are ready for us, we can share back.

Happy feeling our fears!

Next week: The Power Of No!


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© Richard Maun 2015 / Click here to contact