Have you ever felt inadequate? Invisible in the office? Paralyzed by fear in a meeting? Have you ever experienced that moment of insecurity that makes it difficult for you to mitigate a situation or act naturally?
There are many reasons you might be overcome by a particular fear, none of which are reason enough to feel ashamed. Publically acknowledging fear or insecurity to your boss or in front of your peers isn't easy, but not looking for a solution only prolongs an already uncomfortable situation. In most cases you can overcome your fears with solutions in your control.
Life Coach and specialist in professional women, Marta Morón, shares advice on how to end the 8 most common workplace fears.
Fear #1: Impostor's Syndrome: Not being qualified for the job.
Symptoms: Fear of not being qualified for the job. Also known as Impostor's Syndrome, this fear is characterized by feeling like "I don't deserve this success" or "I'm not qualified enough for this position." Despite a successful career, you feel over-rated and are always on edge waiting for someone to realize that you don't have what it takes.
Cure: Shake off those negative – and false – beliefs! Morón explains that this is the most fundamental step in order to focus on identifying your own values, skills and knowledge. "This is how we learn to value ourselves and recuperate our self-esteem."
Fear #2: Overtime Peer-Pressure: Saying "No!" to overtime.
Symptoms: One of the most common situations employees face is the ubiquity of unpaid overtime, extending late into the night and even over the weekend. How do you confront pressure to put in extra hours merely because others do and you-re afraid of a negative perception about your commitment to the company? It's ironic that it has now become common place to ask what the real hours are before accepting a job.
Cure: Once you know them, however, you should weigh the pros and cons and follow through with whatever decision you make. Even if you accept the job, know that you can stop participating in this endless cycle of face time excess. It's OK and it's your right. Try starting by saying "I can't today, but I can ..." or "I can tomorrow but I made plans for tonight."Decide your limits beforehand, write them down and have them handy for when you are asked to stay late. Who knows what may happen in those hours of your own life?
Fear #3: Wallflower Syndrome: Being overshadowed by brilliant (or more vocal) colleagues.
Symptoms: Feeling outshined by star peers can make you feel like your own work is insignificant or result in a variety of disheartening situations; including the awkward one of having to deal with an insecure workmate. Such situations are difficult to detect and managers frequently don't know how to manage them.
Cure: To end this fear it's necessary to "change your way of thinking from 's/he's going to take my job away' to 'I have many strengths' and follow that up by listing them in writing (experience in a particular area, people skills, etc.). Surely you have talents that those people lack, or that complement theirs." Focus on building on your stengths. Remember, you were hired for a reason – it's your job to prove them right.
Fear #4: Growing Pains: No room to grow.
Symptoms: One of the biggest concerns among young professionals is the fear of having bosses or managers who don't encourage, or allow them to develop their potential. "Your own value correlates to how much you commit to and how much value you assign to a job."
Cure:You are responsible for your own growth. Despite this, if you think your boss is holding you back, find out where the good leaders are; those who encourage their team to grow and take steps to join those teams.
Fear #5: Falling Short: Not reaching your objectives.
Symptoms: Many companies set quantifiable objectives to "motivate" employees, but they also end up creating a lot of pressure. What can you do when don't know if you'll get the numbers you expected?
Cure: "One of the most important things – applicable in all aspects of life, is not to dramatize anything. Objective-based work is very challenging, especially if it's your first time, so you need to get used to it. Above all, remember that if you want to stay in that job, you need to be present in the day-to-day without obsessing over the end of the month," says Morón.
Fear #6: Follower's Syndrome: Taking Charge.
Symptoms: Passive workers who are shy and like to fly under the radar may ultimately find themselves in situations where they have to take center stage; whether that be speaking in public, presenting a project or taking on a position of leadership.
Cure: Can you learn how to take charge? Absolutely! We all are born with the ability to lead, although sometimes we develop fears that make us believe that we don't have these skills, they are there. Find someone to help you bring out the leader you are inside.
Fear #7: Job Instability: Not having enough work.
Symptoms: With an ever increasing number of freelancers, part-time workers and other sub-contracted services, work continuity is on many people's minds lately. How do you manage an unstable situation so that it doesn't affect your work?
Cure: "Steady work" as we knew it no longer exists. We must accept that today, work continuity is precarious for everyone. The only thing you can control is your own professionalism. Live each day with intention and enthusiasm!
Fear #8: Intensive Day Stimga: Asking for reduced hours.
Symptoms: It's normal to fear retaliation when requesting reduced hours, especially after a maternity leave. On many occasions, companies can't fathom the idea of a senior manager or director who doesn't live at the office. Part time work is sometimes seen as a lack of commitment to the company.
Cure: How do you request reduced hours without losing responsibility? Start by not giving into peer pressure. Open the conversation with an action plan already drawn out. How would you reorganize or redistribute your current responsibilities so that the company's and your team's needs are still being met? What indispensible skills do you bring that you can focus on while maybe giving others some of your other ones that could serve as stretch assigments to help them grow.
The most difficult step you have to take is facing your fears. Once you decide to tackle them, they won't seem as scary. Don't merely ignore them or set them aside, take the initiative to throw them out to the curb, otherwise you are at the risk of losing your enthusiasm. As Franklin D. Roosevelt so famously said "There's nothing to fear but fear itself."