What are your powers? Few of us are focused on what our powers are, let alone practicing or leading from those aspects of ourselves. Most of us lead overcompensating for our perceived weaknesses. Leading from insecurity makes us work harder but not necessarily smarter, or with any sense of joy. In overcompensating for our perceived insecurities, we hit burnout quicker, are more anxious, and find work more taxing. Everything in life has threads of fear in it, so we may as well learn to find the strengths which lay beneath them.
Knowledge is the strength underneath the fear of not having confidence. Knowledge is power. It is difficult to feel comfortable when we lack the knowledge necessary to make us versatile and flexible in our daily challenges. Without knowledge we function from a weaker position, especially when in the throes of conflict or negotiation. Preparation and knowledge naturally endow us with more confidence. If we lack the information we need it is important to humble ourselves to saying, “I don’t know,” and learn. We can go back to the drawing board, fill in the missing pieces, so as to avoid being in the weaker position going forward.
When in the fear of insecurity, gather the knowledge necessary to lead from a place power.
Openness is the strength below our fears of change. Having knowledge is essential for success, but we must not allow ourselves to become so fixed or rigid in our thinking that we come to view our knowledge as the only correct knowledge. Being open is a strength which makes us more likeable and approachable to others. When we are open we are perceived as easier to work with. Rigid thinking and its subsequent limits overcompensate for our fears of change. We falsely believe if we know it all that we are somehow impermeable. However, closemindedness and/or rigid rules do not make our egos any less fragile. No one likes a know-it-all.
When facing fears of change, lead from the strength of open curiosity.
Patience is the strength that lies beneath the fear of the unknown. Impatience is a reaction to living in the grey area of uncertain results. To overcompensate for this fear we tend to become reactive, causing us to make less than stellar decisions. These impulsive decisions most often push our desired results further away from us. In practicing patience, we develop the strength and emotional resilience to let things take their natural course. Being patient makes us smarter. A little space helps us to forecast our current situation beyond our initial emotional reactions. When we learn to wait, solutions come without us having to chase them.
When facing fears of uncertainty, lead from the strength of choosing to waiting well.
Boldness is the strength which lies beneath the fear of conflict. Many of us cower under conflict. When under siege we hear our instincts telling us what to do, but because we become overwhelmed with the projected negative consequences acting strongly could bring, we don’t allow ourselves to step into our boldness. We can choose to be bold, fair, in our power and to trust that the consequences of our actions will only help propel our success forward, and deepen our sense of self-confidence. A simple fact; unless we say what we want, we won’t get what we want.
When in the fear of conflict, lead from the strength to rise to the occasion.
Allowing is the strength that lies beneath the fear of not having control. Often times we’re so fear based that we overcompensate for this fear with being controlling. To find a deeper sense of strength allow people to be who they are, allow situations to be what they are, and allow yourself to be who you are, without self-recrimination. Allowing is a tremendous power because it keeps the flow of things open and resistance at bay. It is amazing what develops when we allow things to manifest in their own way and own timing. When we allow the process of success to have its own life, we make succeeding look easy.
When consumed with the fear of not having control, lead from the strength of dropping the rope.
Courage is the strength which lives below our fears of failure. Courage trumps fear. Whenever we feel paralyzed with fear, courage is about the last thing we believe we can tune into or utilize. Fear has two waves; the first is shock. When we’re in shock, courage cannot come. Shock is short lived, however. Once shock passes, our minds begin to unscramble allowing us to think clearly and efficiently. We begin to see a path or paths to our solution, and are able to approach our problem with an adrenalized and focused readiness. This is the birth of courage. Courage isn’t something we have, it is something we do. Believe it or not, we often perform best when under pressure.
When in the fear of failing, lead from the courage to take action.
Quiet is the power beneath the fear of not being good enough. When we feel nervous, the natural tendency is to talk too much. Nervous talking is not success-driven communication, and in reality the more we talk, the more insecure we get, and unfortunately, the more we keep talking. In a social world dominated by extroversion, the strength of being quiet is one many never utilize or study. When we are quiet we present as attentive and calm. People want and need to be heard and understood, so when facing insecurities of not being good enough, learn to listen. When people feel heard they become interested in the listener. Security doesn’t need volume; it speaks for itself.
When facing fears of not feeling not good enough, lead from the strength of being quietly present.
Mindfulness is the strength which lies below feelings of emergency. Fear is a power all unto itself because fear is a fuel. Whenever we’re in fear we move into action to remove the fear as quickly as possible. The reason fear causes so many problems is because it makes us reactive. To make fear our greatest strength, we must use it to practice mindfulness. When in a state of emergency fear makes us acutely aware of what is going on and if we can stay calm, as Captain Sully did when landing the plane in the Hudson River, we too will have more clarity on the front lines of our own critical decisions.
When under the fear of a pressured situation, lead from the strength of attunement to the moment.
When we lead from our strengths, we become more confident and successful. We are able to move with a certain grace through our troubles where we are impacted by them, but not flattened by them. To lead from our strengths we must use challenges as tests of our character. We can choose to rise to our occasions and go against our biological programing to naturally regress under stress. Having this type of composure takes practice and awareness, but if we’re going to practice anything this year, why not let it be leading from our strengths?