Sometimes I feel like the people I work with a bit bi-polar when it comes to how they work. They are equal parts of afraid to share their ideas and quick to speak up when they feel wronged (usually without thinking first).
I've also found that people tend to not challenge themselves when it comes to their work. They either won't sign up for new project or opportunities or won't go for that new job that is just above their experience.
Fear of the unknown, fear of failure or fear of having to work a little harder. I want to address each of these, but first, a quote from Sir Richard Branson that I love.
"If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes-then learn how to do it later."
Fear of the unknown
What will happen to me if I tell my boss I don't like something? If I share my ideas, will my boss give me credit? What if I go for this job that sounds amazing but is a bit out there and they lay me off after 6 months?
Uhg...you could spend forever in the "buts" and "what ifs" and talk yourself out of everything and too many people do.
Have you thought about what you miss by not taking on new opportunities? How are you going to learn or grow? What about the feeling of joy and excitement from taking on a new challenge? I would much prefer the opportunity of feeling a sense of accomplishment of doing something that challenged me, then ticking the same old boxes that I ticked yesterday, the day before that and the years prior. I would also love to see that same experience for those who I lead or my peers. I want those around me to feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Don't you want that for yourself??
Fear of failure
I can't tell you how many times I've said failure is just an opportunity to learn. For some reason though, people don't take that message to heart. They feel it's a nice little saying that get's put into a picture frame. Maybe I should ask a question instead of making a bold statement. So what if you fail? What will happen? The worst that can happen is you die and I don't know too many challenges at work that will put you in a situation where you could die. (Well not an office job anyhow!)
Ok, what if you lose your job? Could times be painful, yeah, maybe but it very rarely ends up that way. While in the role, you can always ask for help in the form of training, mentoring or coaching. It's highly unlikely you will be let go before they try and provide you with the support you need. And if you DO lose your job, then you have an excellent story to tell in your next job interview of how you went for something and learned a lot. (Be prepared to discuss what you learned.)
The same is true if you are just sharing your thoughts and ideas. Usually, once one person starts putting forward their ideas, others do too. And when you have a collaboration like that, it's hard to miss finding something that won't work. And if it does fail, guess what, it's a lesson learned!
Fear of working harder
Or maybe it should be called, fear of getting out of your comfort zone. I know a lot of people are not like me, but boy howdy, if I am bored....I am a horrible person to be around. I can't think of anything worse than being in a job where I've done the same thing over and over and over again.
Now, some jobs offer variety within the role, that I get. But not going after a job because you might have to spend a few extra hours every day for the first six months while you come up to speed, means you aren't looking at the long game. A little hard work, for long term opportunities both financially and value to me, is a no-brainer.
So, what are you doing to get over your fears when it comes to challenging yourself? Will you sit down and have an honest conversation with yourself about why you won't move forward? And even if you are still completely scared to take the step, here's another quote by Sir Richard Branson to keep in mind.
"If a dream doesn't scare you, it's too small."
Get out there and push yourself, the possibilities are endless.