We welcome our guest blogger, Michael Walker, as a contributor to our weekly blog. Michael is the Head of Learning and Organizational Development at Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia, a longtime InnerWill partner.
When you hear the word FEAR, what comes to mind? Fear of the dark? Monsters in the closet? Not being included? Failure at work or at home? How many times you wish you hadn’t been afraid as you missed something great?
I have found that overcoming my fears does not happen instantly or automatically(as much as I wish it would!). It’s when I confront my fear with deliberate intention, and conscious action, that I overcome my fears, grow as a person and expand the possibilities that surround my life.
In a former role, I had an opportunity to travel quite a bit. As part of an acquisition of another financial institution, I was asked to go to Salinas, CA to onboard new associates. It was a two-week assignment, which meant that there was some time to explore and discover new and interesting things over the weekend.
Some of the locals encouraged me to explore Big Sur, which is about a 45-minute drive away (after all I was on the West Coast!). The drive takes you through amazing views of the Pacific Ocean and the mountains.
Now, what you need to know about me is that I am afraid of heights! Really smart to be driving along a highway that is literally on the side of a mountain and falls into the Pacific (my hands are actually beginning to perspire just thinking about it!). What I didn’t realize was how narrow the road was or how high up I was going to be, or that there would be large pockets of fog/clouds that I would drive through.
There were many pullover areas from which to view the amazing creation that surrounded me. I did take advantage of them and was struck by the beauty of it all. Despite begin scared and yes, my hands were gripping the steering wheel and I could feel my heart in my throat, I kept driving…even when it was very slow due to the fog or the sharp turns. I wanted to prove to myself I could do it, first and foremost and I wanted to see what was on the other side, which was amazing!
It reminds me of the challenging work all of us are asked to deliver on-maybe it’s a large IT platform conversion; maybe it’s digital transformation, maybe it’s coaching an executive, or increasing sales by double digits. You can insert your own piece of work that scared you…
So many times, I have been frightened because it’s new to me or seems uncharted. In Situational Leadership speak, you are in a D1 space. I have found by keeping focused, acknowledging my fear, and surrounding myself with the right support system, I can move through those clouds and tight curves to the other side…that other side looks like a new skill set learned, new relationships built, and amazing results achieved!
So, work through your fears…what’s on the other side is GREAT!