These days I am grappling with a very tangible fear, one of failure when doing something new. After more than 10 years of corporate life in some of the world's most elite companies, I have decided to go ahead and start my own small consulting gig, along with my wife.
A majority of these ten years have been spent trying to help people to learn and develop. But as Edgar Schein said, all learning has anxiety associated with it. I have experienced in these years that people would not learn unless it was absolutely imperative for their survival. As Schein says:
There are two kinds of anxiety associated with learning - learning anxiety and survival anxiety. Learning anxiety comes from being afraid to try something new for fear that it will be too difficult, or that we will look stupid in the attempt. Survival anxiety, on the other hand, is the realisation that in order to make it, we will have to change.
Now, change will only happen if the survival anxiety is more than the learning anxiety.
And here I was, an easy going guy, working in a function which has a huge shortage of trained people, and where salaries are going through the roof, deciding to start off on my own along with my life partner.
What prompted me to take the plunge and overcome the fear of change in the status quo?
Over the last 4 years of blogging I have made a few good friends and people have seen some kind of value in my contributions. These virtual notes of confidence are what have given me confidence that I might pull it off.
Most of the times we are so busy focussing on our weaknesses that it takes other people to notice our strengths.
View yourself through the eyes of your friends and family. Do you see a new you? Notice something you haven't noticed before? So why is the fear of failure getting you down?